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Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: btb] #2217495
01/20/14 05:19 AM
01/20/14 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by btb
Hi beet 12345,
Seeing the name Schoenberg had me shivering in my boots
at the chilling reminder of his "A Survivor from Warsaw"
Opus 46. ( I have both the music and the score)

20 January 2014
A Survivor from Warsaw ... Opus 46
Arnold Schoenberg
...
("Faster! Once more, start from the beginning! In one minute I want to know how many I am going to send off to the gas chamber! Count off!")
They began again, first slowly: one, two, three, four, became faster and faster, so fast that it finally sounded like a stampede of wild horses, and (all) of a sudden, in the middle of it, they began singing the Shema Yisroel.”

“Sh'ma Yisraeil, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad.
V'ahavta eit Adonai Elohecha b'chawl l'vav'cha uv'chawl nafsh'cha, uv'chawl m'odecha.
V'hayu had'varim haeileh, asher anochi m'tsav'cha hayom, al l'vavecha. V'shinantam l'vanecha, v'dibarta bam b'shivt'cha b'veitecha, uvlecht'cha vaderech, uv'shawchb'cha uvkumecha. Ukshartam l'ot al yadecha, v'hayu l'totafot bein einecha. Uchtavtam, al m'zuzot beitecha, uvisharecha.”

regards, btb (wish I could read Hebrew)




I can answer that! It's extremely old and in large part Aramaic. The shema is often held to be the central prayer expressing Judaism's central tenets. The tradition is to recite it multiple times a day.

There's an old tradition in which somebody who is about to die will attempt this prayer to be the last words to linger on the lips.

It certainly is a chilling choice for Schoenberg to put it there.

It means, literally, "hear, Israel! (Shema, yisroel!) The Lord is our god (Adonai eloheinu); The Lord is one (Adonai echad)."

The music then skips the traditional next part and digs into the part that describes how one loves god. V'ahavta means "and you shall love god..."

More or less, this part reads: You shall love god with all your heart, all your soul, all your might. Set these words, which today I command you, upon your heart. Teach them faithfully to your children. When you lie down and when you rise up. Bind them as a sign on your arms and before your eyes. Inscribe them on the doorposts of your house, and on your gates.

So it's from here you get the tradition to put those little slanted attachments on the doors of Jewish homes, which has this prayer inside, and from where you see traditional Jews wrapped in those black leather straps with the box on their foreheads and arms, also with the prayer inside.

Schoenberg clearly had these things in mind when he wrote escape from Warsaw. It's has to be intentionally unclear whether it's said as a cry to death, or as defiance since the prayer often feels like it IS Judaism and so much expression of Judaism was banned and punished during that time. Or maybe it was simply an appeal for normalcy since it is such a routine daily thing to say.

People say the shema with their kids at night as a comforting life-affirming tradition. And yet, there are horrifying accounts of being able to hear people crying the shema from inside the gas chambers.

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Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: stores] #2217497
01/20/14 05:49 AM
01/20/14 05:49 AM
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Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by bennevis




And many - possibly most, if you're talking Europe - "Steinway Pianists" have a different brand of piano at home. Even though they may only play Steinway in concerts.


"Steinway Pianists" should, in this case, not be confused with "Steinway Artists". To be an "artist" one must own a Steinway and must perform on a Steinway where one is available.

Yes, I should have used the small letter 'Steinway pianists', to denote that they might not be Steinway Artists though they play Steinway most of the time in concert - presumably because that's what the hall has, and there's no choice.

But there are pianists who seem to play non-Steinway pianos whenever they get the chance, and record on pianos other than Steinway, yet also feature in the 'Steinway Artist' roster. Like Stephen Hough, who made two recent CDs playing on Yamaha CF-IIIS. And Pierre-Laurent Aimard, who was the front person on a frankly promotional video (detailing his search for the perfect Steinway for his The Art of Fugue recording) played a Yamaha CFX in a high-profile concert in London, which was also broadcast live by the BBC (whose announcer told the radio audience that Aimard was playing on a 'new Yamaha'). Maybe Steinway Artists could get away with this in Europe, but not in USA.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: RX2Bunny] #2217501
01/20/14 06:20 AM
01/20/14 06:20 AM
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Just saw Stephen Hough perform on a Steinway last week! In the U.S., of course.

Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: Hamburg-D] #2217505
01/20/14 06:32 AM
01/20/14 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by noambenhamou


a Steingraeber can play software than a steinway. Practically, how soft do you want a piano to be able to play? If we are talking about Concert Halls, there is such thing as impractically TOO soft. If you go below a certain decibel level, people would have a difficult time hearing what you are playing. Playing that softly is impressive, but from a practical standpoint for a concert hall, it's just a circus trick.


Richter said that the main thing that mattered to him when choosing a piano for a concert was how softly it could play. And he wasn't particularly known for being a circus-trick sort of pianist. I bet he would have loved Steingraebers, had they been available.



Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: RX2Bunny] #2217543
01/20/14 09:48 AM
01/20/14 09:48 AM
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The main reason that Steinway have such a large market share is quite simple. They had two factories. WW2 halted piano production in Europe, many of the German manufacturers were flattened, Bluthner was taken over by the communists, and many makes had simply stopped producing concert grands.

In the 50s and 60s, there wasn't much competition on the concert stage other than Steinway. Yamaha and Kawai weren't importing to the west at that time, not in great numbers anyway, Bluthner and Bechstein weren't producing the same quality of instruments as they were before or are now, Bosendorfer weren't producing in large enough numbers to meet demand, and so, as many of the new concert halls started to open up, and instruments in older halls needed replaced, the only real option was Steinway.

Now, there are many makes producing top quality instruments, but generation Steinway is still asking for Steinway pianos. Steinway are of course one of the best pianos ever built, but then so is Bechstein, so is Bluthner, so is Fazioli etc. We have more choice today and gradually that is infiltrating the concert circuit.

You have to remember as well, that pianos last a long time, and although Steinway C and A pianos are retired after ten years, concert hall pianos (in house pianos, that is) are not. Consider that it was probably the year 2000 before Bluthner made an excellent concert grand piano again (the pre WW2 examples are also beautiful), and Bechstein went through trial after trial financially and culturally, and of course, Fazioli are relatively new..... so all these Steinways that were put in to concert halls in the 1970s and 80s are still holding their own, even if they're a little tired. The mentality of the hall management is often that, they have a Steinway now, so they will replace with a Steinway. Rightly or wrongly. I mean, it's not as if you can go WRONG with a Steinway, but you can also go very right with any other top tier maker!

Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: RX2Bunny] #2217553
01/20/14 10:15 AM
01/20/14 10:15 AM
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More than any of the other major piano manufacturers, Steinway is culturally oriented to market dominance at the high end of the market. This culture may have derived after World War II, when the company was given the unprecedented opportunity of a near-monopoly position in the US and Europe as a high-end instrument, but however it came about, this culture dictates much of what the company does. It advertises its instruments as the most favored by concert artists, going by numbers. It manufacturers enough D's each year to guarantee one or more will be on stock at dealers throughout the world, wherever concert artists usually perform. It signs up-and-coming young artists on to its Concert Artist program, and it will use ruthless tactics if necessary to enforce its legal agreements should these artists deliberately avoid playing on a Steinway when one is available. It is the only manufacturer to aggressively pursue its monopoly program for conservatories and universities (the All-Steinway program), so as to ensure that even students learn to accept Steinways as the only instrument worthy of use in a public performance.

This is a comprehensive program to assert and maintain market dominance, and it is very sensitive to the business aspects of the concert world - the insecurities of even the best pianists, who fall back time and again on the safety of playing the same instrument over and over, and being assured of good prep. Steinway is smart enough to know it must keep a stable of excellent technicians available in every city - technicians they train, who are known as Steinway artists of a sort, since only these men are allowed to work on concert hall D's.

Now add this to the way Steinway approaches concert hall management. Time and again I've seen Steinway representatives call our local concert hall and ask why they allowed a particular artist (even a non-Steinway artist), to bring in a piano that wasn't a Steinway. Eventually, hall management gets the message, or they get tired of the subtle harassment, and they begin putting up barriers to anyone asking to bring a non-Steinway into their hall. This is easy for management to justify, because after all they have spent nearly $300,000 on two D's, and they want those pianos used no matter what.

Hardly any of this has anything to do with music or artistry. It has everything to do with business, money, and market position. The fact that Steinway goes out of its way to make sure its D's are high quality and well-prepped before each performance, and the fact that Steinway tends to rotate its concert instruments out of the program after five years of use, is secondary, and ultimately intended to be supportive of market dominance. It is not a means toward achieving the most sublime sound first and foremost - plenty of Steinway Artists quietly complain about the instruments they sometimes have to play (a lot of them praise the instruments Steinway provides for them as well). It is all about business, ultimately, and we should probably all bless Steinway for that, or they wouldn't have stayed in business as long as they have. But we certainly shouldn't mistake any of this for the belief that Steinway dominance is proof of their superiority over all other instruments.

Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: Numerian] #2217583
01/20/14 11:13 AM
01/20/14 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Numerian
More than any of the other major piano manufacturers, Steinway is culturally oriented to market dominance at the high end of the market. This culture may have derived after World War II, when the company was given the unprecedented opportunity of a near-monopoly position in the US and Europe as a high-end instrument, but however it came about, this culture dictates much of what the company does. It advertises its instruments as the most favored by concert artists, going by numbers. It manufacturers enough D's each year to guarantee one or more will be on stock at dealers throughout the world, wherever concert artists usually perform. It signs up-and-coming young artists on to its Concert Artist program, and it will use ruthless tactics if necessary to enforce its legal agreements should these artists deliberately avoid playing on a Steinway when one is available. It is the only manufacturer to aggressively pursue its monopoly program for conservatories and universities (the All-Steinway program), so as to ensure that even students learn to accept Steinways as the only instrument worthy of use in a public performance.

This is a comprehensive program to assert and maintain market dominance, and it is very sensitive to the business aspects of the concert world - the insecurities of even the best pianists, who fall back time and again on the safety of playing the same instrument over and over, and being assured of good prep. Steinway is smart enough to know it must keep a stable of excellent technicians available in every city - technicians they train, who are known as Steinway artists of a sort, since only these men are allowed to work on concert hall D's.

Now add this to the way Steinway approaches concert hall management. Time and again I've seen Steinway representatives call our local concert hall and ask why they allowed a particular artist (even a non-Steinway artist), to bring in a piano that wasn't a Steinway. Eventually, hall management gets the message, or they get tired of the subtle harassment, and they begin putting up barriers to anyone asking to bring a non-Steinway into their hall. This is easy for management to justify, because after all they have spent nearly $300,000 on two D's, and they want those pianos used no matter what.

Hardly any of this has anything to do with music or artistry. It has everything to do with business, money, and market position. The fact that Steinway goes out of its way to make sure its D's are high quality and well-prepped before each performance, and the fact that Steinway tends to rotate its concert instruments out of the program after five years of use, is secondary, and ultimately intended to be supportive of market dominance. It is not a means toward achieving the most sublime sound first and foremost - plenty of Steinway Artists quietly complain about the instruments they sometimes have to play (a lot of them praise the instruments Steinway provides for them as well). It is all about business, ultimately, and we should probably all bless Steinway for that, or they wouldn't have stayed in business as long as they have. But we certainly shouldn't mistake any of this for the belief that Steinway dominance is proof of their superiority over all other instruments.



This was a very well written post.
But a company cannot be blamed for advertising their product in the best way they see fit, apart from also making a wonderful product.

You brought an unintentional point. Steinway makes sure every city has a trained Steinway tech. The clearly invest time and energy to achieve this. So in a way, when you buy a Steinway, you receive service and support. Your chances of having a qualified Steinway tech nearby are very good.

What would happen if Steinway wasn't around? Are there enough concert grands to fill every concert hall in the world? Including college and university halls?

Would pianists be able to perform at their best having to understand a completely different and new instrument 2 days before each concert?

What do the other competing brands have to offer that Steinway is not offering? Are they providing some other dimension to sound and beauty that we are missing out on?

Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: RX2Bunny] #2217598
01/20/14 11:46 AM
01/20/14 11:46 AM
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I think if Steinway wasn't around, then Yamaha and Kawai would fill the gap, they'd pull out all stops and go for it.

Steinway invest a lot in their business and marketing, and product support. As a result, they sell a lot of units, as a result, they have the money to put back in to their business.

Small manufacturers can't compete on that level, because they don't have the money. However, Bechstein in particular is growing the brand. For example, they call their second line of pianos 'Bechstein' and their first line 'C.Bechstein' - either way, the customer feels they are getting a Bechstein.

They are establishing links with many artists, encouraging them to play their pianos again. Bechstein, it must be remembered, were a major, major force on the pre-WW2 concert stage.

It's not just that Steinway are aggressively marketing their product, it's that others aren't, at least not in the same way.

What I don't like about Steinway is their superiority complex. They will happily tell you that no others come close to them in terms of quality. That's wrong. No others come close in terms of how many concert artists are using them, but in terms of quality, there are a few others come close.

The Steinway technicians in the major cities are going to tell everyone that Steinway is the best. In fact, some of the Steinway technicians will say that not only is Steinway the best, but Steinway is the only, and how could one tolerate playing anything other than a Steinway? Except for maybe Boston when budget doesn't permit, or Yamaha at a push, but that's only because Yamaha is ubiquitous so there's no point in slamming them too much.

Steinway will happily tell you that Yamaha virtually copy them, and so you might as well buy the Steinway because at concert grand level, they cost virtually the same. They will say that Bosendorfer and Bluthner can't compete in the concert hall because the piano won't project, and that Bechstein aren't even in the top-end market (denial?). They will say Fazioli are good, of course, but all the ideas came from Steinway and hardly anybody plays them.

It's this kind of B.S that puts me off Steinway in a way, but the instruments themselves? Well, yes. They are pretty good it has to be said! If they had less arrogance then perhaps everyone would like them better. Sitting at a well-prepared D for a recital or concerto is one of the most wonderful experiences in the world, the instruments speak for themselves, there's no need for the crass talk.

Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: Hamburg-D] #2217600
01/20/14 11:47 AM
01/20/14 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by noambenhamou
Originally Posted by Numerian
More than any of the other major piano manufacturers, Steinway is culturally oriented to market dominance at the high end of the market. This culture may have derived after World War II, when the company was given the unprecedented opportunity of a near-monopoly position in the US and Europe as a high-end instrument, but however it came about, this culture dictates much of what the company does. It advertises its instruments as the most favored by concert artists, going by numbers. It manufacturers enough D's each year to guarantee one or more will be on stock at dealers throughout the world, wherever concert artists usually perform. It signs up-and-coming young artists on to its Concert Artist program, and it will use ruthless tactics if necessary to enforce its legal agreements should these artists deliberately avoid playing on a Steinway when one is available. It is the only manufacturer to aggressively pursue its monopoly program for conservatories and universities (the All-Steinway program), so as to ensure that even students learn to accept Steinways as the only instrument worthy of use in a public performance.

This is a comprehensive program to assert and maintain market dominance, and it is very sensitive to the business aspects of the concert world - the insecurities of even the best pianists, who fall back time and again on the safety of playing the same instrument over and over, and being assured of good prep. Steinway is smart enough to know it must keep a stable of excellent technicians available in every city - technicians they train, who are known as Steinway artists of a sort, since only these men are allowed to work on concert hall D's.

Now add this to the way Steinway approaches concert hall management. Time and again I've seen Steinway representatives call our local concert hall and ask why they allowed a particular artist (even a non-Steinway artist), to bring in a piano that wasn't a Steinway. Eventually, hall management gets the message, or they get tired of the subtle harassment, and they begin putting up barriers to anyone asking to bring a non-Steinway into their hall. This is easy for management to justify, because after all they have spent nearly $300,000 on two D's, and they want those pianos used no matter what.

Hardly any of this has anything to do with music or artistry. It has everything to do with business, money, and market position. The fact that Steinway goes out of its way to make sure its D's are high quality and well-prepped before each performance, and the fact that Steinway tends to rotate its concert instruments out of the program after five years of use, is secondary, and ultimately intended to be supportive of market dominance. It is not a means toward achieving the most sublime sound first and foremost - plenty of Steinway Artists quietly complain about the instruments they sometimes have to play (a lot of them praise the instruments Steinway provides for them as well). It is all about business, ultimately, and we should probably all bless Steinway for that, or they wouldn't have stayed in business as long as they have. But we certainly shouldn't mistake any of this for the belief that Steinway dominance is proof of their superiority over all other instruments.



This was a very well written post.
But a company cannot be blamed for advertising their product in the best way they see fit, apart from also making a wonderful product.

You brought an unintentional point. Steinway makes sure every city has a trained Steinway tech. The clearly invest time and energy to achieve this. So in a way, when you buy a Steinway, you receive service and support. Your chances of having a qualified Steinway tech nearby are very good.

What would happen if Steinway wasn't around? Are there enough concert grands to fill every concert hall in the world? Including college and university halls?

Would pianists be able to perform at their best having to understand a completely different and new instrument 2 days before each concert?

What do the other competing brands have to offer that Steinway is not offering? Are they providing some other dimension to sound and beauty that we are missing out on?

The short answer is yes. Yes, the previous post was well written and makes many valid points. Yes, we shouldn't mistake market dominance as proof of superiority. Yes, other instruments do provide a different dimension to sound and beauty that some WILL find preferable. If you don't, that's okay, but why insist on arguing the point ad infinitum as if you insist others accept that Steinway is the superior instrument. The cliche that you can't please all the people all the time has once again been proven. Is there really anything more to discuss (other than perhaps the quantity of Steinway koolaid some have consumed).

While on a recent vacation I got to practice on an older Boston. It was a fairly short piano so the bass sound was a bit less than completely satisfying but the action was sublime. Frankly I kinda miss it.

Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: joe80] #2217627
01/20/14 12:37 PM
01/20/14 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by joe80

What I don't like about Steinway is their superiority complex. They will happily tell you that no others come close to them in terms of quality. That's wrong. No others come close in terms of how many concert artists are using them, but in terms of quality, there are a few others come close.

The Steinway technicians in the major cities are going to tell everyone that Steinway is the best. In fact, some of the Steinway technicians will say that not only is Steinway the best, but Steinway is the only, and how could one tolerate playing anything other than a Steinway?

It's this kind of B.S that puts me off Steinway in a way, but the instruments themselves? Well, yes. They are pretty good it has to be said! If they had less arrogance then perhaps everyone would like them better. Sitting at a well-prepared D for a recital or concerto is one of the most wonderful experiences in the world, the instruments speak for themselves, there's no need for the crass talk.

Yes, I get that every time I walk into Steinway Hall - that all other pianos brands aren't worth their asking price, and that the only piano for a discerning pianist is S & S (and they don't mean an Australian brand.... wink ), which is why they never offer discounts whereas others do (which isn't true, BTW).

Yamaha purposely designed its CFX to compete directly with Steinway D for the concert circuit. And they can certainly make lots of those, if more pianists demand them.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: RX2Bunny] #2217667
01/20/14 01:39 PM
01/20/14 01:39 PM
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Yes, and the other thing is that Steinway make pianos to be powerful. They are trying to make it so that the musical tone reaches the back of the hall, but sometimes that means that the sound at the keyboard is pretty rough. Steinways often don't sit well in smaller rooms, because their sound projects. In ensemble situations, you often have to 'play down' on a Steinway, even when the music calls for great passion or drama, and it can be somewhat frustrating for the pianist in these situations.

There are other things about the Steinway that some technicians don't actually like: The tubular metallic action rail is one that I hear criticized over and over. It gives the action solidity, but the design is such that it often fails after a period of time.

The duplex scale is also often criticized. It gives the instrument great power and can produce an exciting tone, but it can also make tuning difficult, and the tension it places on the string can mean that strings will have a shorter life in the treble. I know some Steinway pianos that have whole sections of their treble snapping after only a few years.

So, it seems that there is compromise even in the Steinway piano.

For me, personally, and my style of playing, I find the Steinway heavy, and the sustain pedal can be difficult to control - particularly as the piano gets older and the dampers start to 'fizz' when the pedal is engaged. I prefer a lighter touch, and a lighter tone which allows me to play with all my reserves and not worry about forcing the sound. That is purely my own personal preference and is not a comment on the quality of the piano. I mean, if I was doing a Rachmaninoff concerto in a large concert hall, I wouldn't want anything other than a good Steinway, really, because I KNOW that it's going to be heard over the orchestra. Other makes will give you good tone, of course, but for instance, using a Bosendorfer or a Bluthner for a Rachmaninoff or Prokofieff Concerto would take some planning - the orchestras would have to be careful in certain sections, as would the soloist, in order to produce an effective performance. Actually I would like to hear it, because people would view the music through a different lens. But if you only have one rehearsal and then the concert, and it just needs to 'work', well you know what I'm saying!

If I was recording the Beethoven or Brahms trios, I would want to play Bosendorfer or Bluthner, and for Lieder, I would really want to use a Bluthner from the early 20th Century. But for many pianists, the idea of familiarity is important - because Steinway is the standard, they feel reassured when they see Steinway. I feel reassured when I've played the piano and find out it's a good one, regardless of what it is!

Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: RX2Bunny] #2217686
01/20/14 02:11 PM
01/20/14 02:11 PM
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I have once witnessed a large Bosendorfer chosen by a virtuoso pianist for a recital in a medium-sized concert hall. I was in the second row, and at the time thought, hmm, this piano is kind of hard to hear, even during La Campanella.

I do believe Bosendorfer has the most gorgeous tone, but there may be something to this projection argument for Steinway.

This was a one-time experience, hence an anecdote, not a trend.

Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: joe80] #2217713
01/20/14 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by joe80
Yes, and the other thing is that Steinway make pianos to be powerful. They are trying to make it so that the musical tone reaches the back of the hall, but sometimes that means that the sound at the keyboard is pretty rough. Steinways often don't sit well in smaller rooms, because their sound projects. In ensemble situations, you often have to 'play down' on a Steinway, even when the music calls for great passion or drama, and it can be somewhat frustrating for the pianist in these situations.

There are other things about the Steinway that some technicians don't actually like: The tubular metallic action rail is one that I hear criticized over and over. It gives the action solidity, but the design is such that it often fails after a period of time.

The duplex scale is also often criticized. It gives the instrument great power and can produce an exciting tone, but it can also make tuning difficult, and the tension it places on the string can mean that strings will have a shorter life in the treble. I know some Steinway pianos that have whole sections of their treble snapping after only a few years.

So, it seems that there is compromise even in the Steinway piano.

For me, personally, and my style of playing, I find the Steinway heavy, and the sustain pedal can be difficult to control - particularly as the piano gets older and the dampers start to 'fizz' when the pedal is engaged. I prefer a lighter touch, and a lighter tone which allows me to play with all my reserves and not worry about forcing the sound. That is purely my own personal preference and is not a comment on the quality of the piano. I mean, if I was doing a Rachmaninoff concerto in a large concert hall, I wouldn't want anything other than a good Steinway, really, because I KNOW that it's going to be heard over the orchestra. Other makes will give you good tone, of course, but for instance, using a Bosendorfer or a Bluthner for a Rachmaninoff or Prokofieff Concerto would take some planning - the orchestras would have to be careful in certain sections, as would the soloist, in order to produce an effective performance. Actually I would like to hear it, because people would view the music through a different lens. But if you only have one rehearsal and then the concert, and it just needs to 'work', well you know what I'm saying!

If I was recording the Beethoven or Brahms trios, I would want to play Bosendorfer or Bluthner, and for Lieder, I would really want to use a Bluthner from the early 20th Century. But for many pianists, the idea of familiarity is important - because Steinway is the standard, they feel reassured when they see Steinway. I feel reassured when I've played the piano and find out it's a good one, regardless of what it is!


Joe, I think some of the things you are referring to have to do with voicing and regulation-- many pianos in concert venues may have been voiced to work with an orchestra and then are too bright/powerful for chamber work, but this is not an immutable feature of the piano. Likewise, the touch and damper issues you noted may be due to poor maintenance. Many house pianos don't get the kind of TLC that they need under heavy playing schedules. I've not heard those critiques of the action rail and duplex -- it would be interesting to hear from some technicians. Of course, not everyone will want to play Steinway or want that sound in all repertoire, I agree, but I think some of the issues you described have more to do with maintenance and voicing.

Sophia

Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: RX2Bunny] #2217897
01/20/14 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by frenchflip
I have once witnessed a large Bosendorfer chosen by a virtuoso pianist for a recital in a medium-sized concert hall. I was in the second row, and at the time thought, hmm, this piano is kind of hard to hear, even during La Campanella.

Forgive me for being skeptical that a Bosendorfer 290 would be difficult to hear on the second row. Those things have the roar of a jet engine; in terms of projecting pure volume, no piano compares. If your measurement of quality of a piano is entirely based on decibels, then the Bosendorfer beats the Steinway.

Perhaps you were hearing a different phenomenon? The sustain on a Bosendorfer is so long, that sometimes when two notes play sequentially, it is hard to distinguish that a new note has played. It can take a little more skill to bring out the melody. Maybe that is what you were noticing?

Last edited by phantomFive; 01/20/14 10:16 PM.

Poetry is rhythm
Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: RX2Bunny] #2217929
01/20/14 11:43 PM
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I think you are right about the sustain. It was one size below the Imperial as well. And I also may be partially deaf from banging on the piano. Ha.

Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: RX2Bunny] #2217930
01/20/14 11:47 PM
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Also worth mentioning,

If you say Steinway is a top-quality piano and you prefer it, people will say, "sure."

But if you try to say Steinway is better than all other top-quality pianos, people will roll their eyes.


Poetry is rhythm
Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: RX2Bunny] #2217940
01/21/14 12:24 AM
01/21/14 12:24 AM
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Hi TwoSnowflakes

Many thanks for your kind description of the shema
in Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw...
much appreciated.

Must just tell you that the conclusion of Schindler’s List
always brings a tear, even to a grown man ...
the tradition of putting those small stones on the grave of Schindler caps the masterpiece by Steven Spielberg ... and the rose in memory of the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis.

I owe you one ... kind regards, btb

PS I drive a superbly reconditioned 1912 Grotrian Steinweg upright piano ... and am presently working on Gershwin’s haunting “Lullaby”... downloaded from IMSLP.


Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: btb] #2218101
01/21/14 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by btb
Hi TwoSnowflakes

Many thanks for your kind description of the shema
in Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw...
much appreciated.

Must just tell you that the conclusion of Schindler’s List
always brings a tear, even to a grown man ...
the tradition of putting those small stones on the grave of Schindler caps the masterpiece by Steven Spielberg ... and the rose in memory of the 8 million Jews murdered by the Nazis.

I owe you one ... kind regards, btb

PS I drive a superbly reconditioned 1912 Grotrian Steinweg upright piano ... and am presently working on Gershwin’s haunting “Lullaby”... downloaded from IMSLP.



You're welcome. I will say that I took a bit of time out from test driving my own Grotrian Steinweg at Munich showrooms to visit Dachau, and took some pictures, here (click for gallery):

[Linked Image]

While there, I pocketed a few pebbles from the courtyard to place somewhere special.

I visited Yad Vashem in Israel a while back. In fact, it was right during the time that Schindler's List was still in theaters. Leading up to Yad Vashem is a tree-lined pathway called "The Avenue of the Righteous" and each tree is dedicated to a non-Jewish person who in some way was moved by conscience to do something heroic; Oskar Schindler being one of them. At the base of these trees are small pile of rocks left by various passers-by to honor these individuals' memory. However, due to Oskar's sudden celebrity, the piles at the base of the trees on either side of Schindler's were practically nonexistent, and Schindler's pile was huge. People, it appears, did not want to go far to find something with which to honor Mr. Schindler. Sort of sad, but also kind of funny at the same time. There are very few laughs to be had at Yad Vashem, but that one gave me a little rueful chuckle.

I had intended to put something there myself, but instead restored a small rock each to the other trees.

Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: RX2Bunny] #2218185
01/21/14 12:40 PM
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Miguel Rey Offline
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After all said and done if we were to rate pianos 1st , 2nd and 3rd place Steinway would have to be the clear winner for obvious reasons. Arguing over what we think is the best because of our biases or personal preferences is moot based on recording, venue and professional preferences. I think arguing over 2nd and 3rd makes a better use of time. smile




Re: Why is it always Steinway in concert hall [Re: Miguel Rey] #2218200
01/21/14 01:09 PM
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BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted by Miguel Rey
[...]if we were to rate pianos 1st , 2nd and 3rd place Steinway would have to be the clear winner for obvious reasons. Arguing over what we think is the best because of our biases or personal preferences is moot[...]


Have you not just contradicted yourself?

Regards,


BruceD
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