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Liszt's pianos #214104
09/19/05 08:39 AM
09/19/05 08:39 AM
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Sweden
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David Ramezani Offline OP
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Does anyone of you know anything about Liszt's pianos? What qualities did he search for in a piano? How did he have it adjusted and tuned?

Best regards,

David Ramezani


Best regards,

David Ramezani
Piano & Music Gifts & Accessories (570)
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Re: Liszt's pianos #214105
09/19/05 08:56 PM
09/19/05 08:56 PM
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Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Offline
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David,

Liszt was given or bought many pianos. The quality he looked for was for one that did not fall apart when he played in concert. (This was a chronic problem for him)

I know he was a friend of the Bosendorfer family and there are several letters to them praising their pianos..... but he did not play exclusively on them.


Rich Galassini
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Re: Liszt's pianos #214106
09/19/05 09:21 PM
09/19/05 09:21 PM
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Raleigh
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I. Bruton Offline
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I speculate that had he been given the opportunity to play on a Bosendorfer, he would have chosen one. His praise for the instrument is/was widely known.

I just did a quick Google search:
The Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum and Research Centre museum is the reconstruction of Liszt's last Budapest home in the old Academy of Music, where the world-famous composer lived and taught from 1881 to 1886.

The most valuable part of the collection consists of Liszt's instruments:
two Chickering pianos,
a Bösendorfer piano,
a concert harmonium (cabinet organ) made by Mason (Hamlin, a combined instrument ("piano-orgue") by Erard and Alexandre,
a glass piano ("piano-harmonica") patented by Bachmann,
a unique composing desk with a built-in keyboard (made by Bösendorfer)
and a travelling piano.

Hope this helps.


I. Bruton
B.A. Music Composition
M.M. Music Education
High School Choral Director
Church Music Director
Pianos owned: Yamaha C3
Pianos at work: Yamaha P22, Kawai K3, Steinway B
Re: Liszt's pianos #214107
09/20/05 07:39 AM
09/20/05 07:39 AM
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jon-nyc Offline
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I've been to the Liszt museum in Budapest and saw the above-mentioned pianos. Most were gifts to Liszt, which makes sense since any manufacturer of the day would wnat his 'endorsement'.

I remember being particularly struck by one of the Chickerings. It was just gorgeous and very large, IIRC.


If you don't talk to your children about equal temperment, who will?
Re: Liszt's pianos #214108
09/20/05 08:33 AM
09/20/05 08:33 AM
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LJC Offline
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I have read that Franz had a pianos in just about every room. They were given to him.

Re: Liszt's pianos #214109
09/20/05 10:17 AM
09/20/05 10:17 AM
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Diarmuid2 Offline
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According to Alan Walker Liszt's favourite piano was his concert Erard, but I believe he liked many different pianos for various reasons. And he was certainly given a LOT of pianos, most of which he gave away to pupils, friends or other causes he felt were deserving.

Re: Liszt's pianos #214110
09/20/05 10:36 AM
09/20/05 10:36 AM
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yhc Offline
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Allow me to quote from Carl Lachmund's Diary, page 13(from "Living with Liszt")

"In courtesy to the country in which he happened to be, Liszt always used an instrument of the principal piano maker of that country; thus in vienna he used Bosendorfer; in Paris an Erard or in London a Broadwood. The Steinway, Chickering, Mason and Risch(Toronto) or other pianos that were sent to him he presented to one or another of his intimate friends. There was also an upright piano of local make in his studio"(from footnote: This local upright was probably a Hohle. Liszt's famous Ibach piano which is featured in so many photos of the time, was not delivered to Liszt until April 1885.

At 1880s, there was a Bechstein grand in his studio at Weimar. Also if I remember correctly from Alan Walker's Biography, in Liszt's Altenberg years, he also possessed Beethoven's and Mozart's pianos.

Re: Liszt's pianos #214111
09/20/05 01:47 PM
09/20/05 01:47 PM
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Sweden
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David Ramezani Offline OP
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I know a lot about his different pianos. He also had a Bechstein which he was very fond of at the end of his life.

What I want to know is if he had his pianos adjusted to his own taste. I mean, he must have had them tuned, so why not some regulation too?


Best regards,

David Ramezani
Re: Liszt's pianos #214112
09/20/05 01:52 PM
09/20/05 01:52 PM
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Hamilton Twp, NJ
curry Offline
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Regulation can't deviate that far from the specified parameters that a piano was designed to funtion properly at. So I doubt the Franz wanted anything more than the piano to be in tune, and the action to be regulated to perform at it's best.


G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
Bösendorfer 214 # 47,299 214-358
Re: Liszt's pianos #214113
09/20/05 01:54 PM
09/20/05 01:54 PM
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MahlerAdagio Offline
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I am sure that Liszt was given pianos for a major benefit of marketing. I mean, lets face it, how would you feel if your brand of piano is owned by Liszt? I would feel pretty excited if Beethoven owned a Yamaha, which means I got a piano that's obviously a fine one, if Beethoven owned it too. laugh

Of course Yamaha didn't exist at Beethoven's time. Heck even Japan didn't exist until World War II. After all, they're all Jewish Migrants.

Re: Liszt's pianos #214114
09/20/05 02:43 PM
09/20/05 02:43 PM
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Sweden
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David Ramezani Offline OP
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Sweden
I mean, Glenn Gould and Horowitz, for instance, had very specific requests as to how their pianos should feel and sound. Glenn Gould's Yamaha had a rebuilt action. Horowitz Steinway had a downweight of 44 grams, where about 56 grams would have been normal for his piano. Furthermore, Horowitz wanted his piano to be voiced in a special way.


Best regards,

David Ramezani
Re: Liszt's pianos #214115
09/20/05 05:08 PM
09/20/05 05:08 PM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 3,770
Hamilton Twp, NJ
curry Offline
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The factory spec for downweight on a S&S D is 52 grams in the bass, tapering to 47 grams in the treble. The only thing Horowitz wanted special in terms of voicing was that the hammers be lacquered to death.


G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
Bösendorfer 214 # 47,299 214-358
Re: Liszt's pianos #214116
09/21/05 01:26 AM
09/21/05 01:26 AM
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Sweden
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David Ramezani Offline OP
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Is that the spec for a new D or one from the fourties? Well, perhaps it hasn't changed.


Best regards,

David Ramezani
Re: Liszt's pianos #214117
09/30/05 01:48 AM
09/30/05 01:48 AM
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USA-Russia-France
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Baron de Cardenale Offline
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I know for sure that Liszt has also owned several grand pianos made by Conrad Graf (as it can be as well seen on several paintings portraying Liszt playing piano surrounded by his friends like George Sande).

Re: Liszt's pianos #214118
09/30/05 08:16 AM
09/30/05 08:16 AM
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NM, GE & Wash. DC
JPM Offline
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A blurb from Austral Piano World, an Australian Bechstein dealer's website, http://www.pianoworld.com.au/main-bechstein.html

And before him Franz Liszt...
the unsurpassed king of the keyboard, celebrated by the whole of Europe as a piano genius. He translated the unheard-of violin virtuosity of the legendary Paganini to the piano. The great magician gave decisive stimulus to the continued development of the Bechstein grand piano. Before Bechstein pianos were available, he had sometimes needed several grand pianos in one evening - just one was not enough for the requirements of his majestic playing. Carl Bechstein was the first piano maker to supply an instrument that understood his language and enabled his powerful temperament to find full freedom of expression. Bechstein became Liszt's lifelong instrument. His pupils also followed his example, particularly the great Hans von Bulow, the first Chief Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

A Liszt quote about Bechstein pianos (the one they use in their promotional literature):
"I have now played your instruments for 28 years, and you have maintained your supremacy."


Historian, Jeffrey Dane, wrote an article called "Pianos of Beethoven and Other Famous Composers" that mentions Liszt's Bechstein. See http://www.frugalfun.com/pianohistory.html

"A legendary (and documented) characteristic of Liszt's piano-playing was a tone of distinctive and peculiarly effective carrying quality. Today at his house (now a museum) on Marienstrasse in Weimar, Germany, one finds two pianos in the music room, the keyboards nearly facing each other, with a piano stool between them: a huge seven and a half octave, Berlin-made Bechstein concert grand, (acquired by Liszt in 1869) which dominates the room, and, against a wall behind it, an upright piano made in Cologne by Rudolf Ibach & Sohn (now located in Schwelm), a gift to Liszt in 1885. At one point during the years he lived in Weimar, Liszt had his own personal "collection" of pianos: in addition to the two now on display, he had a concert Erard, Beethoven's Broadwood, and a piano once owned by Mozart. It may have been the enormous Bechstein which Liszt used when composing his last piano works (such as Nuages Gris), some of the harmonies of which belong to the dawn of 20th-century music."


I saw Liszt's Bechstein on display at the Bechstein Centrum in Berlin during a visit there a few years ago. No, they wouldn't let me play it. I've got a picture of it somewhere.

As others have mentioned, Liszt had many pianos over the years. Piano manufacturers were falling over each another to associate their pianos with his name. It wouldn't surprise me if Liszt was given a piano by every important piano maker of his day. However, Liszt played a Bechstein most his professional life, and as Rich mentioned, he was fond of Bösendorfers too.

JP


"Piano music should only be written for the Bechstein."
-- Claude Debussy
Re: Liszt's pianos [Re: JPM] #1685099
05/26/11 04:53 PM
05/26/11 04:53 PM
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Anna Ivanova Offline
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Hi JP

Maybe you like this video. Probably you recognize the Bechstein.
The Ibach stands under Liszt's picture.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuSLq82Pj8A

Re: Liszt's pianos [Re: David Ramezani] #1685459
05/27/11 10:21 AM
05/27/11 10:21 AM
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sophial Offline
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During the days when he was a touring artist early in his career he was most closely associated with Erard, not Bechstein. Later he played a variety of instruments and owned many different ones (often given to him) as has already been mentioned.

Re: Liszt's pianos [Re: Anna Ivanova] #1685521
05/27/11 12:11 PM
05/27/11 12:11 PM
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Nashville, Tennessee
PianoZac Offline
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Originally Posted by Anna Ivanova
Hi JP

Maybe you like this video. Probably you recognize the Bechstein.
The Ibach stands under Liszt's picture.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuSLq82Pj8A


That is amazing. Thank you for posting that. That Bechstein absolutely sings. I didn't realize that the pianos at that time sounded quite that good. Would you happen to know the size of this piano?


Kawai MP7SE
Re: Liszt's pianos [Re: David Ramezani] #1685599
05/27/11 02:50 PM
05/27/11 02:50 PM
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Maryland/DC/No. VA
Steve Cohen Offline
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One endorsement of many:

“For twenty-eight years I have used Bechstein pianos, and they have maintained their superiority.” - Franz Liszt




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My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
Re: Liszt's pianos [Re: David Ramezani] #1685702
05/27/11 07:14 PM
05/27/11 07:14 PM
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Another:

Weimar, 1883
Mr. Steinway,

Most Esteemed Sir: Again I owe you many and special thanks. The new Steinway grand is a glorious masterpiece in power, sonority, singing quality and perfect harmonic effects, affording delight even to my old piano-weary fingers. Ever continuing success remains a beautiful attribute of the world-renowned firm of Steinway & Sons.

In your letter, highly esteemed sir, you mention some new features in the grand piano, viz., the vibrating body being bent into form out of one continuous piece, and that portion of the strings heretofore lying dormant, being now a part of the foundation tones and incorporated therein as partial tones. Their utility is emphatically guaranteed by the name of the inventor.

Owing to my ignorance of the mechanism of piano construction, I can but praise the magnificent result in the volume and quality of sound.

Very respectfully and gratefully,
Franz Liszt



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