The roots of our Cultural Circle Niederfellabrunn most likely lie in my (Walter Riemer) marrying into a family resident in the city of Stockerau which had owned the castle of Niederfellabrunn for some years. I had come to know my future wife (Dora) through chamber music. Unfortunately in the castle there was no adequate piano for me, only an old Promberger fortepiano, a Stelzhammer grand piano with Viennese action and a Conrad Graf upright piano.
Luckily, I was offered an old Bösendorfer Imperial (built in 1908, but having been serviced several times in the Bösendorfer factory) with very good half-English action in 1987, which I bought after having had an eye on it for almost a year. On April 25, 1988 the almost ten foot long and 6 foot wide monster was delivered and mounted up to first floor with the efforts of six men and a fork-lift truck (carrying via stair-case was not possible because the corners were too narrow).
Pretty soon we had the idea that such an outstanding piano would be a waste if only used in the family. We purchased 81 folding chairs and invited all our musical friends for an opening party on May 19, 1988, already announcing a concert on June 19, 1988, which was given by our own ensemble of chamber music for piano and woodwinds. We had very fine weather for this concert, so it took place in the courtyard where there was no "Impi" naturally (this was what we nicknamed our big companion). In those days our cultural ambitions were not restricted to music; we also had a foto exhibition and in some years to follow we had exhibitions of painters. However, we had much better contacts to musicians and knew very little of art, so we gave exhibitions up.
From the beginning our address lists from our own previous concert activities proved very helpful to fill our concerts. The rest of the concerts of 1988 were organized by improvisation, simply by calling on our musical friends. The 1989 season, however, was actually the first one to be planned. Several of our musicians of these first days have been with us since then and they really deserve our thanks for that. We are a bit proud that we do absolutely without any money from outside, such as subventions.
Our Cultural Circle has been a platform for young musicians from the beginning. Each year we receive dozens of offers from musicians or ensembles who want to play at our place; unfortunately we cannot honor too many of them because our capacity ends with approximately 8 concerts a year and we (and our audience) cannot easily do without several first class ensembles who obviously love to perform in our house. By the way, our audiences deserve thanks to be expressed for their attitude of attentivenes and capacity of enthusiasm rarely found any place else.
We should mention that our concert grand meanwhile received a new English action and so is a perfect combination of a "Bösendorfer of 1908" (with original strings!) and up-to-date action. This led to an extraordinary instrument that is, apart from the general ambiente, no doubt responsible for the attractiveness of our place which is determined to some degree by obvious emphasis on piano music and chamber music with piano.
From spring 2003 on there is a new Bösendorfer model 225 in our hall, the "Imperial" rather suddenly having lost its superior sound quality because of its age. We (and our musicians) are very happy with the new piano, however.
Carrying downwards of the Imperial
Carrying upwards of the 225
The new piano in our hall
Our “Impi”, as the old grand piano was affectionately called by us, was sold after having been returned to Bösendorfer, was carefully restored and then sold to the USA, where it resides now in a house of (allegedly) 11000 m². Outside it is looks totally different (originally it was black); however (to our comfort) it did not regain its old sound quality. When it was still in Vienna before going to America, we had a chance to "visit" it.
The new owner was very much interested in which famous pianists had played on it. We gave the information gladly, whereby particularly Rudolf Kehrer and Till Fellner might be well known in America.
We have copies of papers ((sales note, work documentation) which support the assumption that in the palace of the extremely wealthy first owner, the Baron Rudolf von Gutmann, a piano of this size might have been played by, for instance, Emil von Sauer and other famous contemporaries.
PS: Everyone is invited to make use of the contents of our home page free of charge, if that helps in any way.
*) Our chamber music activities were not limited to the Vienna Piano Chamber Music Circle (WKKK); nevertheless, however, this ensemble, which hosted some musicians faithful for many years, but also also many for just this or that concert, was active for 15 years. You can find detailshere!