W. A. Mozart - Keyboard Duets Played On A Vis-A-Vis
The SOUND of the odd historical instrument recorded here and known (or rather unknown) as a "vis-a-vis" is GORGEOUS! The extraordinary instrument was built by Andreas Stein in 1777. On one side it's a three manual harpsichord and on the other a fortepiano. The keyboard of the fortepiano can be connected to four registers of the harpsichord. This produces the effect described by Stein himself and attributed to a similar instrument he had built for just one player: "The fortepiano at the same time imparts to the harpsichord a most agreeable crescendo and decrescendo such that one can hardly believe that the harpsichord does not possess this quality of itself, even though it actually comes from the fortepiano. On the other hand, the harpsichord gives the Forte-Piano-Instrument, if it is played undamped, a soft pleasantness, swirling from one level of the affects to another, even in distant keys, without upsetting the ear."
Performers on the "vis-a-vis": Christine Schornsheim, Andreas Staier