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The 24 Préludes recorded on Chopin's favorite piano, released under Creative Commons license.
The 24 Préludes recorded on Chopin's favorite piano, released under Creative Commons license.
The 24 Préludes recorded on Chopin's favorite piano, released under Creative Commons license.
404 backers pledged $13,301 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Kimiko Ishizaka plays Chopin on an 1832 Pleyel

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Chopin never heard his music played on the pianos that we know today. When he was alive, pianos were smaller, gentler, with frames made out of wood, not iron. His favorite piano was the Pleyel, made by his friend, Camille Pleyel. This project will send pianist Kimiko Ishizaka to the Manifold Studios in North Carolina to record Chopin's 24 Préludes on a Pleyel piano that was built in 1842, in Paris, exactly the decade when Chopin wrote the Préludes

The recording, and HD video, will be released with a Creative Commons license so that they can be used (among other things) to enhance the Wikipedia entries for Chopin, Pleyel, and the 24 Préludes where there are currently no recorded samples of Chopin on a Pleyel.

UPDATE: The piano that will be played was made in 1842. The previous references to 1832 are a mistake. Piano no. 9758 was made by Ignace Pleyel et Cie. in Paris.

Fun facts: 

  • Chopin's 24 Préludes are dedicated to Camille Pleyel.
  • Chopin was inspired by Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier: his 24 Préludes, like Bach's 24 preludes, cycle through all of the keys in major and minor.
  • The music in the video is Chopin's Etude op. 25, no. 11, which Kimiko will be performing for the Jackson and Chicago concerts!

Want to read more? Check out "To record Chopin on a 173 year old piano"

Rewards

The Recording and Video: everybody gets this! But only those who pledge to the project will get early access to it. The recording will be audiophile quality: 24b/96k FLAC and ALAC lossless formats, as well as MP3 320. Digital distribution only.

Photos: Go try to find some Creative Commons photos of Pleyel pianos. Go on, we can wait. Didn't find many did you? Kimiko and Robert will be literally living with this piano for an entire week. There will be lots and lots of photos - CC licensed - by the time we're done.

Daily Updates: Kimiko and Robert will be in Pittsboro, NC, for five days prior to the concert / recording. This is Kimiko's chance to get to know the Pleyel, which is significantly different than modern pianos: the keys are smaller, it's tuned differently, the action reacts differently, the pedal is different, and so forth. During this time Robert will catalog the adventure and share the most interesting moments every day.

Live streams: Kimiko is playing three concerts on this tour; Jackson, MI, Chicago, IL, and in the Manifold Studios, Pittsboro, NC. All three will have invite-only live streams for backers.

HD, 1440p, and 4K: For top backers, the full power of the Red Epic Dragon video camera will be yours. 

Behind the Scenes: More video for you to download, including extended Daily Updates footage, interviews, and close-up footage of the Pleyel piano from all angles.

Come to the Manifold Studios: Can you be in Pittsboro, NC, on Saturday, April 18? Join us in the Manifold Studios to enjoy the concert from either the music room or the control booth (your choice), and experience Kimiko and the Pleyel live.

Stretch Goals

$15,000: 1440p video will be released to everybody under the Creative Commons license.

$17,500: 4K video will be released to everybody under the Creative Commons license.

$20,000: Behind the Scenes video will be released to everybody under the Creative Commons license. All photos will be released in RAW format.

Kimiko and the Manifold Studios

Kimiko has visited Manifold Studios before, to play Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. Here she is performing the Bach on a Bösendorfer.

 Budget

How are we going to use the money that you give us? Here is the rough breakdown of projected expenses:

  • Studio costs: $4,700 (this includes some "corrections" time on the day after the concert to fix any glaring errors)
  • Audio editing: $1,800
  • Film crew: $1,800
  • Film editing: $2,700
  • Accommodations, travel: $2,000

Additional costs for the transportation and care of the piano are provided for by a trust of the Kenan family, who are the original owners of the piano.

Credits:

Thank you Bernard Wenzel for the use of the Pleyel piano photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/egoteabs/12756842445

Risks and challenges

The biggest risk is the piano itself. It's close to 200 years old, has mostly original parts, and is fragile. It will need gentle handling and constant care during the weeklong process.

Kimiko Ishizaka has never played this piano nor any like it, and everything about it is different. Although she has 5 days with the instrument to prepare, it's impossible to know in advance what the results will sound like.

The reward, however, is worth it: to hear Chopin's music played as closely to how he would have experienced it as possible, and to be able to share the music with everybody under a free-culture license!

UPDATE: Kimiko LOVES the piano, and it sounds very good. This is no longer a risk!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Manifold Live Stream: Watch the HD live stream of the concert from the Manifold Studio. The concert is on April 18, 6:00pm Eastern (EST).

    Everybody gets to enjoy the Creative Commons recording and video, when they come out. As a backer, you get early access to the recording and the HD video.

    Plus, photos of the piano. Everybody gets a ton of photos, and the instrument is beautiful.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    HD video, 3 Concerts, and Daily Updates: All of the above, plus invitations to watch the HD live streams from the Jackson, MI and Chicago, IL concerts.

    You will get 5x daily video updates from the Manifold Studio as Kimiko prepares on the Pleyel Piano.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    1440p HD Video Elitist: All of the above, but your video will be in 1440p HD instead of 1080p HD.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    4K Video MONSTER: All of the above, but your video with be in mind-shattering 4K instead of 1440p HD.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Behind the scenes: All of the above (including 4K video), plus the full Behind the Scenes video collection, including candid shots, interviews, and close-up footage of the Pleyel piano.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Something to hold onto: All of the above, plus a signed copy of Kimiko Ishizaka's double CD, the Open Well-Tempered Clavier (J.S. Bach).

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    Attend the concert in the Manifold Studios: You can sit in the music room so close to the piano that you'll hear Kimiko breathe. Or you can sit in the control booth with headphones and observe the recording process. Your choice. Plus all the stuff the others get.

    The concert is Saturday, April 18, 2015, 6pm in Pittsboro, NC.

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Funding period

- (17 days)