A solo fortepiano concert taking place in the parlor of Otis House on Saturday, April 30, will harken back to the spirit of the early 19th century when music often filled the room during the frequent social gatherings hosted there by Harrison Gray Otis and his wife, Sally Foster Otis.
“The Otises were largely into entraining, so filling the house again with music is the right thing to do,” said Michael Maler, Historic New England’s Metro-Boston regional site administrator. “I know the Otises would he happy with this.”
Maler said the upcoming concert at Otis House builds on his personal legacy of helping to stage music performances in historic places. Most often, these events have taken place in the Lyman Estate’s ballroom in Waltham, which has a capacity of around 80 guests, said Maler, due to the need to accommodate larger crowds.
“I’ve always wanted to do something really special in the Otis House, and when Daniel [Adam Maltz] contacted me about coming to play in Boston, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to use that space,” said Maler.
Fortepianist Daniel Adam Maltz, who is based in Vienna and studied Historical Performance at the Royal Academy of Music in London and at Vienna’s University for Music and Performing Arts, performs on historic Viennese fortepianos.
Maltz describes the fortepiano as “a period instrument, a special instrument to combine the historic music with the historic place,” and it will be his instrument of choice for his upcoming Otis House performance, which will include W.A. Mozart’s Sonata in B-flat Major, K. 570; Rondo in A Minor, K. 511; and Sonata in F Major, K. 533/494, as well as Joseph Haydn’s Sonata in A Major, Hob. XVI:30, and Sonata in F Major, K. 533/494.
For Mozart and Haydn, who composed all of these pieces on fortepiano, it was “the instrument that they knew and were inspired by,” said Maltz, as well as “the sound they heard in their ears.”
Added Maltz, “Everything from technique to the way one plays the instrument, to the sound it produces and the quality of the sound, the fortepiano was built to do different things than modern pianos.”
Performing in the parlor of the Otis House also recalls a time before concert halls, said Maltz, when most often “solo piano music was heard in the salons of the upper class, like at the Otis House.”
Otis House is one of about 30 dates on Maltz’s ongoing cross-country tour, which started in February in San Diego and made its last stop in Philadelphia on Wednesday, April 13.
“Part of the tour was partnering with historic houses and historic house museums to present historic music in historic spaces,” said Maltz, “and New England is prime for the picking.”
Of connecting with Otis House, Maltz said, “It was a great thing that our interests aligned so naturally.”
Additionally, Maltz has never performed in Boston before, which, he said, makes his upcoming performance at Otis House even more exciting for him.
(Maltz will also be performing on Thursday, April 28, at 7 p.m. at the Lyman Estate’s ballroom in Waltham; visit https://my.historicnewengland.org/13871/lym-fortepiano to purchase tickets and for more information.)
For Maler, this upcoming performance is exciting for several reasons, including the time period it will evoke, especially since young woman in particular during this period learned to play the piano as part of their educational training, and because the concert takes place in the parlor of Otis House, which he describes as “a great example of the Federal-period style of architecture with its rich textiles and wallpaper, and its Greek and Roman motifs.”
Moreover, Maltz’s upcoming performance is also on point for Historic New England as an organization, according to Maler.
“Historic New England is a great supporter and believer in the power of the arts, and the ability to activate its spaces for music,” said Maler. Fortepianist Daniel Adam Maltz will perform in concert on Saturday, April 30, at 2 p.m. at Otis House, 141 Cambridge St. Admission is $50 for the general public and $45 for Historic New England members. Seating will be limited to 20 guests. Visit https://my.historicnewengland.org/13912/hgo-fortepiano to purchase tickets, or call the Otis House at 617-994-5959 for more information.