This Steinway studio grand piano is among the most beautiful and unique musical instruments we have had. Made in 1910 the beautifully turned legs hold the case which is elaborately decorated— both the exterior and interior — in rich burl wood. The fallboard, key block, and music stand richly decorated with hot-sanded fruitwood marquetry, reminiscent of fine sixteenth-century Dutch furniture. The music stand displays a Latin phrase:
It translates to:
“Musica disparium dulcis concordia vocum. Pello levo placo tristia corda deos.”
“Music — the sweet harmony of disparite voices — banishes sorrow, lighten hearts, and pleases God.”
It is attributed to the Sixteenth century composer and theologian Jan Patbrue (1520-1858), who was an early figure in the Protestant Reformation and a major influence on early Protestant music.
It is very likely that those collaborating with Steinway to make this piano were familiar with a virginale (i.e. early keyboard instrument) now located in the Musée de la Musique (Paris) and made by Joannes Ruckers in 1598 (below). The interior lid of Ruckers’ virginale also features the latin phrase by Patbrue.