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Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer #11451
12/10/03 05:11 PM
12/10/03 05:11 PM
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Axtremus Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by MichaelP:
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.
Do you mean Bluthners are typically soft?

An observation: I thought the "used, small (5' plus), old" Bluthner I played at Beethoven Piano in NYC gave me enough volume that I reckon it sufficient for chamber music. And I did pick up the "delicate, lyrical" quality of that piano very quickly after a few notes. (Of course, there weren't string players playing with me at the time, and I don't know what work Beethoven Piano has put into that particular Bluthner.)

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Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer #11452
12/10/03 07:49 PM
12/10/03 07:49 PM
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MichaelP Offline
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I don't know about "typically," but something a little unusual is going on when you play piano trios and piano quartets with two different, newish, large Bluthners, both with the lids fully-up, manned by assertive, good pianists, in small acoustically, live rooms, and you have to keep urging the pianists to play louder.

I mean, the old joke among string players, after all, is that there are way too few pianists and way too many fortists. But not, in my experience, when they are playing Bluthner.

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer #11453
12/10/03 08:08 PM
12/10/03 08:08 PM
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A local recording studio here has a Bluethner 4 (GDR production) in a nearly anechoic room. I've had four three-hour recording sessions with a tenor and didn't find the piano lacking in power.

As I recall using the una corda made the tone brighter; there were also radical changes in tone color throughout the scale. Very interesting, very beautiful, but it took some real skill to play it.

We had two day sessions and the tuning was always wild by the end of the second session. I wonder what that meant.

There used to be a sample at musacom.com but I think that is gone now.

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer #11454
12/10/03 08:13 PM
12/10/03 08:13 PM
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Alex Hernandez Offline
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MichaelP,

Can you give us a bit more detail about these pianos?

Last year I prepped two model 6 Blüthner grands ( 6'3" ) for a performance of Carmina Burana in Wachenheim , Germany.

It was an outdoor concert ( 1,000 in attendance) with a 200+ voice choir, 12 voice children choir, 6 percussionist, and four soloist.

During a moment when everything was ff, a single melodic line being played mf from the last three octaves of 1 model 6 could be heard floating over the orchestra from the back row ( where the tuner gets to sit).

This experience is the total opposite of what you have described in your post.

And this is the reason the model, age and manner of prep would be of interest to me.




Blüthner USA, LLC
Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer #11455
12/11/03 07:46 PM
12/11/03 07:46 PM
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Bechsteins from 1920's, "the golden years of German pianomaking" have this exciting sounds that are so characteristic to all that were made in 20's. It is really an "all-in one" versatile instrument. I have one and I love it. On my Bechstein, delicate and expressive pieces of like Debussey, Chopin sound very nice, and Liszt (you can make the sound so powerful like roaring lion!! to a whispering fairy) to anything you want like Bartok.

Now, new Bechsteins are I hate to say this, but it is so true... like YAMAHA. For that amount of money, you might as well get YAMAHA and save your money!!

Bluthner is a lovely instrument. I played them all over the world, literally. They are so angelic!!! Perfect for Debussey, Ravel, oh, Mozart. Certainly not for (I think) Shubert nor Liszt nor Chopin.

Bosendofers look great sounded impressive at first, but worn off after while. And I love the logo and I love the one I saw at Cunningham for 110K. But this would be my least choice of instrument of the 3 great German pianos.

Good luck finding them in th NY/NJarea properly maintained.

Cunningham in PA had some nice Bose'

Beethoven in NYC has some very nice Bechstein and Hamburg Steinway. They were tuned nicely and Karl is very helpful.

East Coast Piano advertises Bechstein, I must say on the times I went to audition, none were anywhere close to being in proper tune. Very dissapointing

There was a Piano dealer on route 17 in NJ, had Bleuthner, not tuned very well.

To hear all of these, I recommend you get yourself over to Germany and audition all of them. Not only will you have a great trip, but you will also save a bundle, more than enough to pay for your trip. This is what I did. I was very unsatisfied with the availability of the 3 makes and when I did find them for the most part they were neglected. The dealers were more interested in selling a perfectly tuned Pearl River.
good luck
BB

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer #11456
12/11/03 08:12 PM
12/11/03 08:12 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 9,217
Deep in Cherokee Country
Larry Offline
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Now, new Bechsteins are I hate to say this, but it is so true... like YAMAHA. For that amount of money, you might as well get YAMAHA and save your money


Oooooh... You obviously haven't played one properly voiced and prepped! There is *nothing* about a well prepped and voiced Bechstein that would even remotely resemble a Yamaha. It's a shame when dealers don't take the time to properly set up a piano......


Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless
Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer #11457
12/11/03 09:27 PM
12/11/03 09:27 PM
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Hello, Larry, your books were very helpful in the process of piano purchasing. The new Bechstein Grands I played in the US showrooms were poorly prepped. It totally did not do any justice to Bechstein. They simply don't take any care of Bechstein, they are happy selling cheaper Hoffman, yet cheeper Pearl River!! Pearl Rivers were wonderfully conditioned, and made Bechstein 'look bad'.

My other encounter with the new Bechsteins was at their Berlin Showroom where they have one the Bechsteins Liszt played on displayed.
They did an older B Model (1920's)set up for a concert and invited me to play it and it was a pure delight for me. Of course, it had nice characteristic sound of 1920's Bechstein, you can just tell!! I played both the old "B" and new models in the same hall. New ones were very nice (great tuner and technicians they have), especially, compared to those found in the States, far better. Unfortunately, there was no comparison with the one from 1920's. The older B was magic. The newer model was missing for lack of a better word, "body" and excitment.
I can say that no matter where I ran into a Bechstein upright I had tears in my eyes, no better upright at any price.
Let me say that I have nothing against Yamaha pianos, especially the handmade "S" model. I think Yamaha has a terrific base, the treble I find too bright with an overall analytic sound. I would prefer this sound for Jazz. I also add this, I got a DVD made by Bechstein at the showroom in Berlin, in the Bechstein promotional DVD, a British pianist played a Debussey piece as well as a Jazz piece, so, clealy, they are trying to get into Jazz market. Lots of Jazz people like Yamaha.
I believe that the voicing of the pianos has changed over the years to reflect the genre of music that is in vogue. Music like many other things has come full circle. At first, the Asian piano manufaturers made copies of the fine European Pianos. Now the European piano makers are trying to copy he more successful Asian model, just like in cars (lexus-Benz stuff, who copied what model). That is if they aren't already owned by an asian conglomerate.

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer #11458
12/11/03 09:39 PM
12/11/03 09:39 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 9,217
Deep in Cherokee Country
Larry Offline
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Hello, Larry, your books were very helpful in the process of piano purchasing.


As much as I'd like to sit back and bask in the glory, I have to tell you that those were written by another Larry - a "fine" fellow, by the way.......


wink laugh


Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless
Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer #11459
12/12/03 01:46 AM
12/12/03 01:46 AM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,010
NM, GE & Wash. DC
JPM Offline
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Bob,

My experience with older vs. newer Bechsteins differs somewhat from yours.

Like you I think the voice of the older pianos (1880s-1930s) is wonderful. That classic Bechstein voice found in older pianos has real character .... a distinctive & uniquely beautiful sound. However I find that the older pianos tend to lack power. They don't produce the dynamic range of more recently manufactured Bechsteins. They also seem to lack sustain in the treble compared to newer pianos. Perhaps these characteristics are inherent to the design. I'm not sure. But it could also be a reflection of their age. Their soundbody components may need to be replaced rather than renewed when they are rebuilt. I have found that most European rebuilders tend to shim the original soundboard and reuse it rather than put in a new one. I'm not sure what Bechstein factory does when they rebuild the ones it get.

I disagree that newer Bechsteins sound like Yamahas. I hear much of the same tonal qualities coming out of my newish Bechstein that I hear in recordings of older ones and in the olders ones I've had the opportunity to play. Perhaps what you're hearing is the result of inadequate voicing. I would agree that they (like any piano) can sound too bright and percussive in the treble if they are not correctly voiced and then maintained.

But if by you're comment you are refering to the latest design change ... the addition of duplex scaling ... I would tend to agree with you. My perception (having only played two of them) is that this design change makes for a louder piano and one with unusual (to me) overtones for a Bechstein. These newer instruments do not have that trademark Bechstein sound with the clarity and transparancy heard in pianos made in earlier years.


Happy playing,
JP


"Piano music should only be written for the Bechstein."
-- Claude Debussy
Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer #11460
12/12/03 09:33 AM
12/12/03 09:33 AM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 1
CT
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Hello I am new to this forum. I don't know anything about pianos and do not even play but i have a good friend in the business. He has 3 brand new Bosendorfer Concert Grands at his shop and would be more than happy to have you come up and play them. He is located in Danbury CT and his website is www.buzaidpiano.com for more info. I am sure he is going to be frequenting this site soon but he is just in the process of getting his internet stuff going. I know he has a personal aquaintance with both Beckstein and Bluthner and would be happy to share his feelings on both.

This is not meant to be spam but I just figured since you were in the NYC area you might want a chance to play some Bosendorfers.

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer #11461
12/12/03 08:00 PM
12/12/03 08:00 PM
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jolly interesting thread indeed.
good stuff everyone smile

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer #11462
12/13/03 05:01 PM
12/13/03 05:01 PM
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Hi JP
Maybe my criticism of the newer Bechstein is a little harsh. I can only say what my experience has been. I actually bought mine in Germany and had an opportunity of auditioning 20 or so before I chose this one. If you would like more exposure to the older models, I have a friend just outside Frankfurt whom you could visit.
I disagree that the older models were base shy although I did come across a few that were. I can say without hesitancy, that my "B" has tremendous base, the piano is capable of playing very delicately or extremely powerfully (the equal of any "Steinway B" I have heard (if you are in NY, drop by for a demo. Maybe it is because with the exception of the pins, everything is original including the strings!
My comment on Yamaha is not derogetory, in fact it is a fine piano. I do not like the Yamaha sound as I feel it is uneven. It offers tremendous base, but to me there is a split in the treble section. I feel that they (Bechstein) consciously altered their overall sound to make it more Jazz and contemporary friendly to sell more pianos. Nothing wrong with this but I am a classical pianist (Of course we can argue that the pieces were written for instruemnts that were much less powerful).
Another point that I was making is that Bechstein is quite expensive here in the US, almost double what is paid in Germany. Sorry to say but I do not feel that for twice the price there is now that much of a difference.
I love Bechstein and anyone looking for an exceptional piano should look into purchasing one.
happy playing
BB

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer #11463
12/13/03 10:07 PM
12/13/03 10:07 PM

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My personal ranking of the three (with comments)

From better to best... laugh

Bechstein:
Clear, fundamental tone. Performs wonderfully in a band or orchestral environment. My only complaint is that at times it can seem too cold. It doesn't always let the pianist/listener "forget" it's just another fine piano. Overall, I have a lot of respect for the Bechstein, particularly their uprights.

Bluthner
Sweet, resonate tone. Mellow but not overly so. The ones I have played had a very responsive action. Complex and wonderfully engrossing sound. However, in my opinion, not as expressive as my first choice which is...

Bösendorfer
Wonderful, 'easy', responsive action that even after my extensive playing there was no fatigue. Beautiful clear but mellow tone. Singing, sweet, and emotional. An enveloping, expressive instrument that gives me everything I need.

-Just my opinions.

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer #11464
12/14/03 11:03 AM
12/14/03 11:03 AM
Joined: Feb 2003
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NM, GE & Wash. DC
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Bechstein Bob,

I sent you a private message.

JPM


"Piano music should only be written for the Bechstein."
-- Claude Debussy
Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer #11465
01/03/04 02:37 AM
01/03/04 02:37 AM
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Hi ,

Just played and heard six Bechstein nine footers in the Stielwerk atelier in November and attended the 150th anniversary concert at the Philharmonie.

They are stellar pianos for some music...William Tell overture,...played by four pianists eight hands. Unbelievable ending to the concert.

What my pianist friend and I found is that they lacked clarity in the tenor/alto ranges. Fabulous tops and bottoms but you couldn't enliven a baritone or alto line to save your life.

That is not typical of the many old Bechsteins I played in Berlin and by the way what a fabulous place to find a wonderful old upright. Berlin at the turn of the century had over 300 different piano makers all competing for the market.

One rebuilder and tech that I visited had three fabulous uprights from the first twenty years of the twentieth century and they were stellar. Wonderfully prepped I might add with excellent rebuilding from the bottom up.

My 1927 Knabe D is going to him for a rebuild if I like what he does to my friend's 1924 Hamburg Steinway . From everything I have seen and heard first hand I have no doubt that the 1924 S & S will outperform anything out there that is new...and maybe even the older three "B's"

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a Steinway snob...bought the 1927 Knabe D with a 1955 Steinway B sitting in the living room...and love them both...although I seem to be getting a little partial to the Knabe.

My piano teacher swore by Bluthner. She grew up with one in Shanghai in the 1940's and it will always be her preferred piano.

Thanks,

Re: Bechstein vs. Bluthner vs. Bosendorfer #11466
09/29/06 02:19 PM
09/29/06 02:19 PM
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"Piano music should only be written for the Bechstein."
-- Claude Debussy

But still - if you go to the pianomagazine in the Philharmonie in Berlin, you will find no Bechsteins. Maybe they have got 30 9ft grands og different brands, but no grands from Berlin. Most pianists who come there will be offered at least three grands to choose from, but still no Bechsteins.


"Through hardship to the stars" (A.P.Møller)
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