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Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: 8 Octaves] #2466532
10/05/15 01:20 AM
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No, the easiest action is the one I have regulated and voiced!


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Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: BDB] #2466540
10/05/15 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by BDB
No, the easiest action is the one I have regulated and voiced!


Touché!

Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: 8 Octaves] #2466553
10/05/15 02:15 AM
10/05/15 02:15 AM
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Originally Posted by 8 Octaves

The easiest action is the one you own. The second easiest is Steinway because we've all played on numerous Steinways. It's not even a choice. Even for a student, most recitals seem to be on Steinways. Lots of teachers have them too. It is the best known unknown of choices.
I disagree with the sentiment that the Japanese piano have easier action. In a competition, Steinway has the easiest action since it is the one everyone knows.


Although that might make sense on paper, I have to disagree with this statement based on the reality of having played hundreds of recitals all over this continent, and many of those on Steinways. I'm sure other professional pianists on the forum would be inclined to agree with me.

The easiest action is not always the one you own, because the best action 99% of pianists get to play is not on their home instrument - most of us have to make size and budgetary compromises with our practice pianos. It may be familiar, but that doesn't make it easy or great...

All Steinway actions are not the same. A model "D" feels nothing like a "B". An "A" feels nothing like an "M". A model "1098" doesn't feel like any grand. Even within the same model, you have to account for wear, design changes, and tech work. The 1967 "B" in my studio has a ton of lead in the keys. Even after rebuilding the rest of the action, it feels nothing like the excellent NY "B" actions that are being produced at the factory right now.

The action of the late 90's "D" in our concert hall (the best piano we have at the university) doesn't hold a candle to the Hamburg "D" that Sally Phillips takes care of at her university - not only minor design differences, but having a technician who literally tunes and tweaks a piano 5 days a week (using incredibly detailed techniques to refine regulation that not even the factory does) vs. a contract tech that can only service the piano once every week or two results in a truly "night and day" experience to an advanced player.


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Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: CyberGene] #2466557
10/05/15 02:29 AM
10/05/15 02:29 AM
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The "choosing business" provides one of the most unreliable data for those seeking the right piano for themselves.

The reason for this is manifold: first of all we are usually talking about a 9' concert grands - not the entire line of what a makers offers. So if you are perhaps comparing smaller sizes between different makers,it's meaningless for your own purpose.

Secondly, from my experience, many of these "competitons" are quietly rigged by technicians who can decide which piano gets the most attention - and which not.

I'm not saying this happened in this case but I know of others where the techs were specifically 'told' by someone..

In Canada we have one famous concert-competition where this was going on, aptly described to me in person by the technician involved.

AS buyers and music lovers,we should not be influenced by any of this. Whoever famous chooses his car, means nothing to me making my own choice. [money aside... grin..]

Rather play the piano you are considering and compare it against as many others out there as can.

This is the 'real test' - and the only one that counts.

Norbert smile

Last edited by Norbert; 10/05/15 02:30 AM.

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Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: Norbert] #2466561
10/05/15 03:08 AM
10/05/15 03:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Norbert

The reason for this is manifold: first of all we are usually talking about a 9' concert grands - not the entire line of what a makers offers. So if you are perhaps comparing smaller sizes between different makers,it's meaningless for your own purpose.

Secondly, from my experience, many of these "competitons" are quietly rigged by technicians who can decide which piano gets the most attention - and which not.


Norbert,

I am sure that at lower levels this can happen, but at any high level competition I that I know of, when pianos arrive they also have their own technicians. Now if Manufacturer "A" has a tech. there for the duration for any work that is needed and manufacturer "B" pays someone to stop by a few times, that can make a huge difference.

But that is something completely different than what you inferred.


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Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: Seeker] #2466564
10/05/15 03:11 AM
10/05/15 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Seeker
I suspect that Yamaha and Steinway are the pianos on which the contestants have practiced the most. Given equally good feeling and sounding pianos, with the high stakes involved, I'd opt for the brand on which I was used to playing.


Great point Andrew!


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Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: Rich Galassini] #2466632
10/05/15 09:20 AM
10/05/15 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Originally Posted by Seeker
I suspect that Yamaha and Steinway are the pianos on which the contestants have practiced the most. Given equally good feeling and sounding pianos, with the high stakes involved, I'd opt for the brand on which I was used to playing.


Great point Andrew!


Yes, especially as competition pianists - as excellent and experienced as they are - are not really in a position to try something unknown in these situations. It's not like turning up to a venue to play. Even when giving a recital in the Wigmore Hall in London one can afford to make the odd slip, but in a competition you really have to minimise the risk. The levels of technical perfection called for in a competition are un-naturally high, but it's kind of the most quantifiable thing a jury can latch on to - although it has to be said usually a great artistic player will have a great technique anyway.

I'm not convinced that the easiest action to play on is Steinway incidentally - the easiest action to play on takes in a whole host of factors - not least the hands of the pianist. Virtually every pianist in the world knows Yamaha, and knows that there is a certain familiarity in each piano when going from Yamaha to Yamaha - even in going from the C3 to the CFIIIS there is something shared between them that one doesn't tend to find in Steinways. Going from a Hamburg A to a Hamburg D can sometimes feel like a bit of a shock in my own experience. Everything about the D feels bigger, and from where the pianist is sitting, that includes the aural experience (I know it's a different matter actually inside the hall), that can feel overwhelming on some concert grands - but Yamaha seem to have a level of consistency there from the players point of view, and I'm not sure why that is.

Shigeru Kawai is an excellent piano and I've been lucky enough to perform on a few Shigeru EX pianos. For me though, they don't quite have enough guts in the tone to project to the back of a large hall, it kind of gets lost. Perhaps that was just the set up of the examples I played on (actually it could have been the same piano each time, I don't know where it was hired from).

I've only ever played one Fazioli in concert, and it wasn't very well set up, but I've played numerous examples in showrooms and peoples homes, and in conservatoire. Of course each time it was a beautiful experience, but there is a huge difference between how a piano behaves in a teaching room, and how the same maker's concert grand will behave in a recital or concert hall.

Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: terminaldegree] #2466690
10/05/15 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
The action of the late 90's "D" in our concert hall (the best piano we have at the university) doesn't hold a candle to the Hamburg "D" that Sally Phillips takes care of at her university - not only minor design differences, but having a technician who literally tunes and tweaks a piano 5 days a week (using incredibly detailed techniques to refine regulation that not even the factory does) vs. a contract tech that can only service the piano once every week or two results in a truly "night and day" experience to an advanced player.


I'm surprised you are bringing up all these different models, including the 1098. At a competition or major recital? Which major city would use that? At this level, international competitions, do you really expect anything other than a Hamburg D? Our concert hall in SF, while being in the west coast of the USA, has the Hamburg D. While pianists may play all sorts of pianos and do, from my perspective, for things that count, I always see and hear a Hamburg D. At the top tier, that's what you have. Personally I don't prefer Steinway over Yamaha necessarily, but I'm just stating the reality. If you're going to count every community college in the middle of nowhere, and every recital in the world, sure, it won't always be a Hamburg D. I'm pretty sure, whether it's the Chopin, the Rubinstein, the Tchaikovsky, Van Cliburn or whichever competition as this thread is focused, a Hamburg D would be available.

The question is, for these events, when I say Steinway, it is the Steinway Hamburg D, not the one at your concert hall, and it'll likely be accompanied by someone like a Stefan Knüpfer, so why would anyone choose a Yamaha CFX? That's the more interesting question, but nobody seem to be want to answer that question other than dismissal and punches below the belt. So far many seems to suggest well, Yamaha wins, but ok, maybe it's marketing. I'm not sure how Yamaha marketing is better than Steinway marketing. Maybe it's because competitors practice on Yamaha. Really, a CFX? International competitors have more experience on the CFX than on Hamburg D? I doubt it. You already said even two Steinways are not the same, so two different Yamaha especially C/CX from CF would not be the same at all, and I have first hand experience to know they are not. So why still choose the Yamaha CFX? Could it be that it's actually the better piano? Why is it so painfully hard to consider the obvious answer. Why immediately come up with a lot of excuses and beating around the bush when more competitors did not choose the German or Italian piano? Why the fixation in Europe being the best in 2015? Is that reality or just prejudice?

Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: CyberGene] #2466695
10/05/15 12:25 PM
10/05/15 12:25 PM
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I'm bringing up all these other models because your original statement (which I quoted), when taken at face value, seemed a little ridiculous. wink

Finding a new Hamburg D in a US concert hall is exceedingly rare.

Last edited by terminaldegree; 10/05/15 12:28 PM. Reason: added last sentence

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Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: 8 Octaves] #2466696
10/05/15 12:27 PM
10/05/15 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
So why still choose the Yamaha? Could it be that it's actually the better piano? Why is it so painfully hard to consider the obvious answer. Why immediately come up with a lot of excuses and beating around the bush when more competitors did not choose the German or Italian piano? Why the fixation in Europe being the best in 2015? Is that reality or just prejudice?


I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that it is the better piano, but I think it is fair to conclude that at this point in the competition, it is the specific piano that the largest number of contestants prefer over the other specific pianos at this competition.


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Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: joe80] #2466697
10/05/15 12:30 PM
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@joe80, I do respect your perspective as you are a player. I do have to say that going from a C3 to a CFX, the experience is very different. I have not play a CFIIIS, so I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised if it's not so big of a change, but every time I've gone from a smaller piano to a concert grand, say Bösendorfer Imperial, the Imperial is like no other Bösendorfer including the 225. I feel the same between the Steinway D and every other Steinway, the CFX and every other Yamaha. The concert grands are always in a class all by themselves.

Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: CyberGene] #2466704
10/05/15 12:42 PM
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Did anyone note who was playing the Fazioli at the Chopin competition?


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Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: CyberGene] #2466706
10/05/15 12:42 PM
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Quote

I am sure that at lower levels this can happen, but at any high level competition I that I know of, when pianos arrive they also have their own technicians. Now if Manufacturer "A" has a tech. there for the duration for any work that is needed and manufacturer "B" pays someone to stop by a few times, that can make a huge difference


This is what I was talking about. Except it was not a "manufacturer's own technician" but a retail store's contracted
gun. This person had the contract for the concert hall for a long time. When his loyalty switched, he started to talk....

While I pointed out that this has nothing to do with the Chopin competition, it shows this stuff is going on in places.

Still puzzled why a great piano like Fazioli receives only one vote. Also wondering what would happen if a Fazioli appointed technician would be allowed to do the prepping.
All speculation.

In the end, it all means nothing. It's like children watching who wins at the Grand Mas or Monaco raceway.

Selecting and buying your own car is a different story.

It's fine if anyone should disagree with that.

Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 10/05/15 12:49 PM.

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Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: CyberGene] #2466719
10/05/15 01:05 PM
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Selecting and buying your own car, or piano, for that matter is a different story Norbert, but the thread is about which piano competition entrants chose to play on during the course of a particular competition. They could have anything at home - a 1920 Broadwood grand, a beaten up Kawai, a Clavinova while they use college pianos. At the age of 16 to 28 very few competition entrants have anything good at home although you'll find that a few are lucky.

Regarding the difference between a Yamaha concert grand and a Yamaha C3, I'm not saying there isn't a significant difference, but you can feel that one is the cousin of the other in terms of the touch - the touch depth, the even-ness, the repetition, and even the way the action interacts with the piano is something of a constant throughout the range, and that's one area where Yamaha is a success - you play a Yamaha you sort of know what you're going to get, and there will be differences but there's something quite uniform within those differences. Hard to explain in words.

The Steinway D was the most popular piano on the circuit for a long time and for good reason, but now it seems that tastes are changing, people are more open to new ideas, new sounds, the Yamaha CFX (I've only played one), is a pretty special piano and many concert pianists are enthusiastic about it. It's not the same as a Steinway, it's not the same as a Bosendorfer, and it's not the same as a CFIIIS (although again, they're cousins and it shows). Even in saying all of this though, it's virtually impossible to know which piano any one of us would prefer between a Steinway, Yamaha, Kawai, Fazioli, Blüthner, Bechstein, Bösendorfer, Sauter, Schimmel, even perhaps Brodmann, without sitting down and playing them. I know that I like the signature tone of a particular maker, but I know that I've played some terrible examples of that brand that have been poorly set up, or had something where something wasn't quite right, or the piano just needed to mature, or was over the hill, or whatever. I would in that case prefer a different brand that had been properly attended to.

This is what terminaldegree said too - it depends on the technician. So much depends on how that piano has been set up - and also, assuming that all the pianos were set up to manufacturers specifications - that the competitors would actually like the set up on each piano.

At the end of the day when I'm playing a concert, on the rare occasions that I do anymore, I don't think during the concert "I am playing a Yamaha", I tend just to focus on the music. The only times I notice the piano over the music are the times when the piano has something wrong with it and it prevents me from connecting with the music. That's pretty much what every artist wants in a piano. Some pianos can allow you to do that more successfully than others, and of course one person may feel they connect on one piano while another artist can only connect on a different piano.

I think Franz Mohr said that Horowitz couldn't manage Rubinstein's Steinway, and Rubinstein couldn't manage Horowitz's Steinway. I mean, in this case we're talking about two artists who were able to have whatever specification they wanted on their piano, so it's a special case, but sometimes a special case proves a point. Nowadays artists don't tend to tour with their own piano - at the moment I can only think of Angela Hewitt as someone who regularly tours with her own instrument, and Tori Amos actually, but I think those in rock/pop have bigger budgets for moving them anyway.

Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: CyberGene] #2466721
10/05/15 01:10 PM
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During the last two decades technicians and pianist (here in Europe) have been slowly accustomed to accept the Japanese tone.

I have a few colleagues that attested that, they did find it horrible in the 80-90,and their taste changed slowly.

Now the somewhat rare great deepness of tone that was expected at those times is abandoned for a more policed tone but with less possibilities. My colleagues that where annoyed by the Yamaha tone then, are accustomed now (and indeed the tone evolved for the better too)

Still pianists tend to consider that the repertoire allowed is limited to Mozart, and that romantics are better served with a German tone. More dynamics, faster reaction from soundboard and structure, that sort of thing.

As today Steinway tone is rounder, it can be traded for a Yamaha more easily.

Last edited by Olek; 10/05/15 01:14 PM.

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Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: joe80] #2466761
10/05/15 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by joe80
Nowadays artists don't tend to tour with their own piano - at the moment I can only think of Angela Hewitt as someone who regularly tours with her own instrument, and Tori Amos actually, but I think those in rock/pop have bigger budgets for moving them anyway.


I believe Schiff tours with his Imperial, and Zimerman with his Steinway. I think Zimerman is the most interesting where he actually has numerous actions for his pianos, ie more actions than pianos, for different music. I think in one interview he claims to have somewhere between 12 - 20 different actions, but not so many Steinways.

Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: 8 Octaves] #2466764
10/05/15 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
Originally Posted by joe80
Nowadays artists don't tend to tour with their own piano - at the moment I can only think of Angela Hewitt as someone who regularly tours with her own instrument, and Tori Amos actually, but I think those in rock/pop have bigger budgets for moving them anyway.


I believe Schiff tours with his Imperial, and Zimerman with his Steinway. I think Zimerman is the most interesting where he actually has numerous actions for his pianos, ie more actions than pianos, for different music. I think in one interview he claims to have somewhere between 12 - 20 different actions, but not so many Steinways.



Zimmerman have 2 actions , on tour

it is not so easily obtained each action is adapted with the piano, I think with Yamaha it could be easier to interchangeable.


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Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: CyberGene] #2466765
10/05/15 03:12 PM
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Pollini tours with his Steinway prepared by Fabbrini.

Re: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: Withindale] #2466842
10/05/15 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Withindale
Did anyone note who was playing the Fazioli at the Chopin competition?

A Chinese pianist, Tian Lu, played it today.

I don't know whether it was the position of the microphones (which remain in the same position for all the pianos, which get wheeled on & off), or just the way she played, but it sounded somewhat aggressively voiced compared to the CFX that was played before and after it.

If Tian Lu doesn't progress to the next round (and I have to say, I don't think she will), this might be the only time we hear Fazioli in the competition.

Unless, of course, one or more of the other competitors switch pianos for the next round........ wink


"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: Yamaha > Steinway > Kawai > Fazioli [Re: CyberGene] #2466870
10/05/15 08:29 PM
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fwiw, I have tried the CFX 9 foot and it is awesome. Good feel like all other yamaha conservatory line grands but with a better control aspect of it, I mean, it carried out (relatively) more of what I told my fingers to do than any other piano I have tried in my life. Now I understand the popularity of the cfx.

I have noticed on steinways (the two 9 foot grands we have at my school , IVC) have slightly wider keys, than most typical grand pianos/upright pianos.

For the longest time, I couldnt understand why I kept fat-fingering and flubbing my pieces on the steinway in class; I chalked it up as nerves ...and while on the yamahas I would play satisfactorily.
So I realized upon a careful measurement, yes indeed, the keys are wider and my hands are not used to that slight width .


debussychopin.
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