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ErardA Passion for the Piano$
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Robert Adelson

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197565315

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197565315.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 01 December 2021

Family strains and secrets

Family strains and secrets

(p.112) 12 Family strains and secrets

Robert Adelson

Oxford University Press

During the years following the invention of the double-escapement action, Sébastien became too ill to manage the operations of the firm. With Sébastien indisposed, Jean-Baptiste took a more active role in the inventive work, and in particular with refinements to the double escapement action. Jean-Baptiste’s death in 1826, however, left Sébastien and Pierre deeply uneasy about the future of their family enterprise. Pierre understood that in order to ensure the perennity of the Erard firm he needed a successor, because the workers trained at the London branch would not necessarily be as motivated as would an Erard family member to invest their efforts and capital in the firm. Since Sébastien remained single, and Céleste childless and in any case living in Berlin, far from the family enterprise, Pierre would have certainly felt pressure to marry and found a family. However, Pierre’s homosexuality, kept secret from his family and only recently discovered, made marriage and the subsequent transmission of the family enterprise to a potential heir problematic. When Pierre returned to Paris after his father’s death, he came to the realisation that his father had been a poor manager who left the firm in a disastrous financial state. As a result, Sébastien threatened to close the Paris branch, but in the end maintained it while making drastic reductions in the workforce.

Keywords:   Sébastien Erard, Jean-Baptiste Erard, Pierre Erard, Céleste Erard, Camille Erard, homosexuality, Pleyel firm

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