Breathtaking capture of perhaps the rarest piano in existence, with over 9500 individual multisamples that deliver an unsurpassed level realism.
The lutheal is probably one of the rarest piano instruments in existence – with only one original instrument being left. Invented by the Belgian George Cloetens, it uses a grand piano as its basis and allows to change the tone of the piano by applying the Lutheal mechanism. Built in 1922, it has been completely restored and resides at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Brussels.
Two famous works by Maurice Ravel – “L’enfant et sortileges” and “Tzigane” – make use of the Lutheal.
Conductors from all over the world inquire regularly to rent the luthéal for concerts in order to play Ravel’s pieces. However, shipping the last remaining one of its kind to around the globe proved to be impossible. As a result, we teamed up with MIM to provide a comprehensive sample set of this rare instrument.
Besides the regular grand piano sound – coming from a great Pleyel grand piano – the iron mechanism of the Lutheal offers additional sounds: Clavecin stop, Harp Tiree stop and Cimbalom.
The Clavecin stop produces a sound reminiscent of a harpsichord by adding nails to the strings.
The Harp Tirée stop adds felt dampers to the strings, producing a harmonic sound similar to an all-acoustic version of a Fender Rhodes electric piano, with its warm yet sparkling and lively harmonics.
Both the Clavecin and Harp Tiree stops can be added at the same time to create a combined setup which is referred to as Cimbalom, offering the sound spectrum of a dulcimer.
How the samples were captured
The instrument was sampled chromatically with every register, providing up to 32 velocity layers to musically reproduce the Lutheal. Additionally, samples of the release noises of each key and stop have been recorded and are available with 8 velocity layers per key to contribute to the overall picture of the instrument. Pedal noise samples of each stop (pedal push/release) have been recorded as well.
To start right away, presets are available for all common sample formats including HAlion2, Kontakt2 and higher, as well as EXS24.
For the critical task of recording the Lutheal, we employed custom-made Wagner U47w tube microphones in conjunction with Crane Song Flamingo preamps and Universal Audio 2192 digital converters. For maximum sound quality, we recorded in 192 khz/24 bits resolution, downsampled to 44.1 kHz/24 bits.