Ladies and Gentlemen,
A few months ago I started a search for a concert grand to replace my Steinway B. In my work I have access to a number of such instruments though always in rooms considerably larger than a domestic living room. Those that particularly impressed me as absolutely superb were a Bosendorfer Imperial, several Fazioli concert grands and a restored Steinway D. Of course, I wanted the search to include all possibilities and this included what was a new piano to me, the Steingraeber E-272. I decided to purchase a new piano.
After various adventures, the three outstanding instruments turned out to be the Imperial, a Fazioli F278 and the Steingraeber E-272, the latter from Hurstwood Farm Pianos here in the UK. Honestly, they are all at the same level as outstanding musical instruments and equally superb.
My final selection was in fact the E-272. For myself, the choice was a traditional Steingraeber E-272 with spruce sound board without the Phoenix system. Direct comparison of tradition vs Phoenix is of course available at Hurstwood Farm Pianos - the pianos stand beside each other.
This was purchased for myself and my companion, Boris Poodle. Boris is a very demanding poodle and seems to get just about anything he wants. He does return enormous amounts of love however.
The instrument has the advantage of two complete actions. Changing these on a grand is of course a simple matter and this permits a change in voicing with one instrument. This option is used here in London by the Royal Festival Hall for a number of their pianos (already here on Pianoworld):
Here you can just see the second action box stored under the piano:
One of the factors helping me select the Steingraeber has been the excellent support from Richard Dain of Hurstwood Farm Pianos. The facilities there for selecting and comparing pianos of this manufacturer are absolutely superb. Richard of course has his own design innovations, the Phoenix. I would urge anyone in search of a top grade piano here in the UK to include Hurstwood Farm in their search. For example, using Richards design based on the Steingraeber supplied piano body, a full Concert Grand may be acquired for the price of other manufacturers 7 ft. instruments. Richard is a man of exceptional knowledge, the complete opposite of the usual "piano salesperson", an outstanding Gentleman.
One of the strengths I find with the Steingraeber is the perfection of the action in comparison to older designs. Playing is instinctive and I adapted to this very new instrument practically instantly. Never has there been any hint of something being "not quite right" with this piano. The other outstanding action encountered was the Fazioli. The dynamics of the E-272 are a revelation, colours are their in abundance yet the piano never descends into mush or distortion no matter what my exertions. It does have the warmth and is simply completely musical. I find I have total control.
The piano will now acclimatise to my environment until the new year. Hurstwood Farm will then perform a precision tuning and voicing of both actions. All I can say to far is that the experience with Steingraeber and Hurstwood Farm has been what purchasing a new piano should be!. During my final deliberations I contacted Steingraeber with some technical questions, again total professionalism and enthusiasm.
A factor supporting the Imperial, Fazioli and Steingraeber as equals really at the highest level is the non compromised quality of their manufacture (this will apply to other makers also of course). Very much used to be the case with another well known candidate.
It turns out that I should not have worried about the concert grand in my room, it is a delight and privilege to experience.
My concern is Boris. Have I spoilt him?