An irreplaceable Fazioli piano described by virtuoso Angela Hewitt as her "best companion" was damaged beyond repair when it was dropped by specialist movers in Germany.

Hewitt, 61, a Canadian pianist, had finished recording Beethoven's piano variations at a studio in Berlin, where she was making her new album, when she was informed by the movers that the piano had been dropped when they attempted to hoist it on to a trolley.

The instrument, a F278, had a market value of more than £150,000 ($301,000).

It had been custom made by hand and was the only one in the world that had a four-pedal mechanism.

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When the damaged instrument was inspected by its creator, Italian piano maker Paolo Fazioli, it was deemed "irreplaceable" and could not be repaired.

Writing on Facebook 10 days after the incident, Hewitt said: "It's kaput".

She lamented the loss of her "best friend, best companion" and said she hoped the instrument "would be happy in piano heaven".

She said her final recording would be a tribute to the lost piano.