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Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11431 12/09/03 10:37 AM
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I am assuming almost all would agree that these are three of the best pianos in the world. But since, except for Bechstein, I have so little experience playing them(even in NYC they are rare), I am curious about how others might contrast/compare their touch and tone and anything else. I have not seen a single Bluthner in NYC! I also wonder how Europeans few these three pianos.

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11432 12/09/03 11:10 AM
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Not sure about the immediate NYC area, but if you are willing to travel a bit, I can suggest dealers where you can sample some delicious Boesendorfers and Bluthners.

For Boesendorfers, I suggest contacting Rich Galassini at Cunningham Piano in Philadelphia. The tone of these beauties simply melts me. I'm partial to the 225s - and I understand that Rich recently added one or two of these to his inventory. Knowing Rich, they have been tuned, regulated, and otherwise prepped to very high standards. Certainly worth the short trip from NYC.

For Bluthners, I suggest contacting Keith Kerman at PianoCraft in Gaithersburg, MD. It's a bit further away, but these babies have some of the smoothest actions you will find anywhere. Keith applies his research into action geometry to his Bluthners, resulting in a touch that leaves you feeling as though your fingers are one with the keys. Again, worth the trip since you won't find this level of action prep on other new Bluthners.

I've not played any Bechsteins that I liked nearly as well as either the Boesendorfers or the Bluthners, but that's just my personal preference.

I don't post many recommendations because I'm a relatively inexperienced amateur, but I think even the pros would agree that the Cunningham Boesendorfers and PianoCraft Bluthners are pretty fantastic instruments - from highly reputable dealers.

Good luck with you search! . . . Linda

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11433 12/09/03 11:28 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by pianoloverus:
I have not seen a single Bluthner in NYC!
Have seen used, small, old Bluthners in Beethoven Piano as well as Klavierhaus back in October.

Quote
Originally posted by pianoloverus:
I am curious about how others might contrast/compare their touch and tone and anything else.
Bosendorfer's tone is among the most distinctive ("special") to me among pianos. I respect the Bechstein's tone but don't find it "special" at a personal level. Very limited experience with Bluthner to form any firm opinion, but find the "fourth string" very, very interesting anyway. Figure I'd just reference old "compare and contrast" stuff I wrote on these instead of writing new paragraphs (all subjective, of course):

August Foerster compared to Bosendorfer.
Bosendorfer and a few others.
Casting a wide net over many pianos.

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11434 12/09/03 11:51 AM
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These are not as similar as one might think -- or so is my (limited) experience. The Boesie is "elegant", "plain-speaking", and (at least the ones I've heard), rather smallish in volume. They resembled the one Fazioli I've heard.

The Bluthners (or at least the extraordinary ones at Classical Grands in Seattle) throw lasers. The treble is truly bell-like, and, unlike virtually any other piano I know, maintains its dynamic range and shadings right up into the highest octave. The bass tends to be piercing rather than grounded -- works very well where the bassline of the music is the melody itself.

I'm an M&H fan (and owner). The Bluthner is about as far from the M&H sound as one can imagine. And yet, once one gets used to it (and overcomes one's prejudices), it is extraordinary in its own right. cool

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11435 12/09/03 12:49 PM
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bosie: a small sound in a big piano
bluthner: sweet, bell-like, singing
bechstein: big, cold sound, lots of volume

of the three, i like the bluthner the best, though it is an acquired taste. for a big mozart and haydn pianist, it would be a great choice.

i found the bosies very disappointing. and i have yet to play a bechstein grand that i like, though i did play a wonderful vintage bechstein vertical at beethoven's.


piqué

now in paperback:
[Linked Image]

Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey
Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11436 12/09/03 02:12 PM
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In Europe people recognize much more readily the long tradition that each of these piano makers has.

In the Berlin-North-East part of Germany, Bechstein has been virtually undisputed 'King' for almost centuries.
There are people there that wouldn't even consider to let Hamburg Steinway sneak up one inch to it!!

The Berlin Philharmonic always has had at least 2 or three of them.[besides Steinway.... wink ]

Go further East and you enter "Bluethner-August Foerster-Petrof-land" - softer tones for somewhat softer music,also .....somewhat softer
[and sweeter?] people laugh
[they also love creamy cakes over there.. wink ]

Go straight North [meet those cold blue eyes..] and the clarity and stunning power of Hamburg Steinway, Grotrian and Ibach - to a somewhat lesser extent even - Schimmel!

Favourite cakes: Donought shaped objects!
[can be misused as almost lethal weapons...]

Go to the South and imagine a mix of all of the above with some of the most interesting colourations in between:

Boesendorfer,Sauter,Seiler,Feurich,Pfeiffer,etc

Hospitable,entertaining type of people serving all kind of super-duper cakes... just try the coffee house right besides Seiler factory in Kitzingen...one of the very best! wink !

P.S. How do you like your own cake?? laugh

norbert


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642
Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11437 12/09/03 03:10 PM
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I believe that Altenburg's in Elizabeth, NJ carries Bluthner, as well as Sauter and A. Forster pianos. A very short trip from NYC.


What we think, we become.
--Buddha
Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11438 12/09/03 03:32 PM
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Manhattan has its own Boesendorfer dealer with a showroom.
http://www.bosendorfer-ny.com/index.html


Richard
Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11439 12/09/03 03:48 PM
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...except his website says:

"No pianos available at this time" :rolleyes:

norbert


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642
Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11440 12/09/03 05:33 PM
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Norbert,

Petrof is not in Germany as you know. Also you wouldn't want people to think that you were saying Blüthner,Förster and Petrof were equals.

Slight Edit:

In the end the pianist determines the best instrument for them. I have worked on a small sampling of Petrof pianos and found them to be consistent. Among these seven or so pianos a couple have realy stood out.

But for me the Saxon makers are at a different level.




Blüthner USA, LLC
Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11441 12/09/03 05:37 PM
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Absolutely not!

I was talking about the European theatre in general.

And Germans are not allowed any more to say that they are "superior".

Not even their pianos.... laugh

norbert


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642
Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11442 12/09/03 08:10 PM
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Pique,
It's scary how much we agree about piano tones! All three of the Bs mentioned are European sounding to me. Yet, Bluthner does it best for me as well. Very pretty. Tinkling. Sparkling.

Bechsteins have never been my cup of tea. Too cold and sometimes thin. And Bosies have never won me over (though I did like a conservatory 6'3" I played at Keyboard Concepts in Thousand Oaks). It is amazing such a big piano could produce such a small sound.

I also agree with Shant that M&H and Bluthners are polar opposites. And yet I like them both! They're both wonderful at what they do.

But if the original poster is wondering about top European pianos, might I be as so bold to speak for both Pique and myself by answering ... Grotrian! wink

penny

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11443 12/09/03 08:30 PM
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If anyone in the states is looking for a source of cheap bechstein grands ready for restoration, see here:

www.smart-pianos.com

That's my site. I hope I'm OK to post the URL, it seems inkeeping with the thread. Old Bechsteins are always on the horizon at good prices. Only 1 (model C) available at the moment though. They aren't as rare here as they seem to be over there.

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11444 12/09/03 11:43 PM
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Wondering if you were referring to the manufacturers' Grands or Uprights? Most or all of the comments were apparently about grand piano experiences. Since these 3 make more uprights than grands, would anyone like to comment on the differences between the uprights? Danke.

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11445 12/09/03 11:52 PM
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Norbert -- in my piano book -- you take the cake! I love to read your posts on this forum -- are you as funny in person as you are in print?

Anyway -- if MY Petrof were a confection, it would be a creamy lemon meringue pie with a crisp rich crust, a silky smooth filling both sweet and tart, and a meringue so fresh it sparkles and shines.

Time for a midnight snack and a little Brahms.

Virginia (from Virginia)

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11446 12/10/03 05:39 AM
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pianoloverus,


my experience with Boesendorfer is limited, but I can speak for Bluethner and Bechstein. They are all arround here, I almost want to say I grew up with that sound. I owned a Bluethner Model 6 and still have two Bechstein grands, both very old. As for the sound they both can be wonderful, brilliant and warm, with the Bechstein a little more on the brighter and the Bluethner a little more on the darker side. Some describe the Bechstein as cold and the Bluethner as not very brilliant or even dull, but that only happens if these pianos are not voiced correctly. Especially with the Bluethners I sometimes hear that prejudice, that they are too dull, but the truth is that they are holding up very well over the time and there are many instruments arround that played in music schools or institutions without getting much attention (or servicing) for sometimes 100 years and therefore lost some of the sound quality whereas other instruments from the same years are already on the junk-yard.

As for the touch, usually they are both on the light side. Bluethner has used it's own "patent action" for a long time I guess up to 1910 or even a little later and when you look into old Bluethners you'd be surprised that especially the instruments with patent action hold up best over the years. This action usually has a very light and sensitive touch but it lacks the good repetition of a modern action. Bechstein has used the modern action as early as 1880 or even some years earlier in a time, when Boesendorfer for instance (among others) still used the old german (or vienesse) action. These old actions usually play very light because they used smaller hammers than today and also the action is not equipped with a capstan on the key but with a rocker that connects directly to the action, which reduces the friction between key and action a little bit.

BTW, both Bluethner and Bechstein celebrated their 150th anniversary this year and it seems they've both arrived well in the 21st century.

Best regards,
Jens

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11447 12/10/03 12:50 PM
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Some interesting replies. I think some of the answers show the difficulty/inconsistency in describing piano tone. One poster said Bluthners were "sweet, bell like and singing" and another said Bluthners and M&H were polar opposites. Yet I think " sweett, bell-like and singing" could be applied to M&H.

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11448 12/10/03 03:32 PM
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I probably would describe an M&H as "full, broad, and expressive", but I doubt I would ever use "sweet, bell-like, and singing". The "singing" one is the hardest term -- in the middle range, I like to describe the M&H as "speaking".

Words are hard -- a trip to Classical Grands allows one to hear them both, optimized to the hilt, side-by-side. (We near-Seattleans are very lucky! cool )

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11449 12/10/03 03:54 PM
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Sorry, but I have to agree with Shant here (again). Mason & Hamlins are powerful, expressive, complex, multi-layered. They can be very beautiful. But the Bluthner is pretty, delicate, lyrical.

Hope that clarifies (trying to put words to tonalities IS hard!).

penny

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer
#11450 12/10/03 04:44 PM
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Quoth Penny: "But the Bluthner is pretty, delicate, lyrical."

And, I would add, essentially inaudible if you happen to be playing chamber music with a Bluthner.

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