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Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
#2848149 05/14/19 05:58 PM
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About a year to 18 months ago, maybe actually 2 years ago now, there was a video posted of Benjamin Grosvenor on one of my threads. It was posted because in the video he was playing a Blüthner concert grand.

I had said that in the video the piano sounded like a Steinway and I was certain he was just using the filming location for the video clip, with the sound coming from a Steinway concert grand.

Someone who had posted on that thread said that to them, the piano in the video had the classic Blüthner tone, and disagreed with me. I can't remember if that person said it to me in a PM, email, or on the thread.

Anyway I now have the issue cleared up. The Blüthner piano belongs to Jane Craxton, the granddaughter of Tobias Matthay's pupil Harold Craxton. I was speaking to Jane today about something else and she happened to mention the Blüthner, how it's very tired and how Benjamin Grosvenor came to shoot a video clip on the piano to promote his new album at that time. Jane then went on to say specifically that the audio for the recording was recorded on a new Steinway D in a different studio, and that Benjamin just wanted to shoot the video there because it was such a nice room. Jane said that the Blüthner really isn't good enough for a concert pianist to make a professional solo recording on it now without it being extensively rebuilt, and there are no plans to have that work done to the piano at this present time.

Here is a video clip of Benjamin 'lip synching' on that Blüthner, with the Steinway playback.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6nC3M3Oslk

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Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
Joseph Fleetwood #2848155 05/14/19 06:09 PM
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If true, there is something more than mildly disreputable about the pretense. I suspect Steinway AND Bluthner would be displeased.

Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
Joseph Fleetwood #2848167 05/14/19 07:01 PM
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Grosvenor is one of my favorite young pianists, whatever he is playing.


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Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
Joseph Fleetwood #2848174 05/14/19 07:35 PM
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There's another one that we discussed some time ago, with what appears to be a Kawai KG-2 piano standing in for what the pianist normally uses for recordings. I do think that such finger synching primarily has to do with the room being desired as a shoot location for a vid.






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Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
Joseph Fleetwood #2848199 05/14/19 09:27 PM
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Although not as egregious as the infamous 80’s duo of Milli Vanilli, with their lip syncing all their songs.




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Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
Joseph Fleetwood #2848207 05/14/19 09:54 PM
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And then there is this:



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Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
BDB #2848216 05/14/19 10:16 PM
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Cool Alexis Weissenberg video playing Stravinsky! And then there is this... Glenn Gould re-recording the Bach Goldberg Variations in 1981 on a specially prepared Yamaha CFIII and having the fallboard removed so that: a) nobody could easily tell he wasn't playing a Steinway D and b) perhaps knowing him, it may have allowed him to have a more intimate experience during the recording session!



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Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
wolfgangmeister #2848220 05/14/19 10:41 PM
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Actually. Gould is playing a CF, not a CFIII. I am not too familiar with the CF, but the CFIII was nowhere near as good as the CFIIIs, and this piano does not sound all that great. But the action is top-notch!

The Weissenberg performance is made on a custom piano-shaped object, and synchronized with a recording that he made earlier.


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Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
Joseph Fleetwood #2848278 05/15/19 02:56 AM
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I thought Gould had the fall board removed because of the length of his fingers. I had no idea it was to appease Steinways. Is that in "Romance on Three Legs"? It's about 3 years since I read it.

Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
Joseph Fleetwood #2848289 05/15/19 03:52 AM
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The Gould piano is a Yamaha CFIIIS from the late 70s and it's a gorgeous instrument. He used this one also for his late recordings of the Haydn sonatas and Brahms Ballades and Rhapsodies.

The Goldberg variations were written for a harpsichord with 2 keyboards. Lots of hand crossing in the piece and it can be awkward on a piano Removing the fall board makes some of those sections a lot easier to play, because it gives fingers more room to move further up the keys without obstructing the other hand.

Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
Joseph Fleetwood #2848297 05/15/19 04:48 AM
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I think Benjamin Grosvenor is not a Steinway artist (which is odd), so it is okay for him to publicly play a Bluthner I suppose.

Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
Joseph Fleetwood #2848303 05/15/19 05:24 AM
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It's actually OK for a Steinway artist to play on any piano that isn't a Steinway, even in public. It's just not OK for them to promote the other piano. Sometimes they make exceptions if that artist is so well established and has legendary status. For instance, Vladimir Ashkenazy appeared on some Yamaha publicity about 10 or 15 years ago, Steinways didn't bother about it. He has openly recorded on a Fazioli and used Bösendorfers in public. He owned an Imperial which he later sold to a girls' school in England. Steinways aren't as strict over here as they seem to have been in the USA in the past.

Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
Joseph Fleetwood #2848377 05/15/19 06:21 AM
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As Gould wasn't performing in public anymore, and had switched to a Yamaha in the studio, why would he care what Steinway thought?

Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
johnstaf #2848410 05/15/19 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
As Gould wasn't performing in public anymore, and had switched to a Yamaha in the studio, why would he care what Steinway thought?


I don't think he did by then. As far as I'm aware he was quite open about going to Yamaha, or at least the Yamaha dealer in Toronto at that time.

Anyway the poor guy died shortly after. 4 decades too soon.

Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
OE1FEU #2848441 05/15/19 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
The Gould piano is a Yamaha CFIIIS from the late 70s and it's a gorgeous instrument. He used this one also for his late recordings of the Haydn sonatas and Brahms Ballades and Rhapsodies.


No. it is not. You can clearly see that it is a CF in the overhead shot. It is not even a CFIII. The CFIIIS came out in the early 1990s. I remember tuning the first one that we got, which still had packing material on it.


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Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
Joseph Fleetwood #2848511 05/15/19 04:37 PM
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https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=318894258800064

The above video about Prokofiev shows him playing one of his sonatas but the sound is from a recording by Richter.

Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
BDB #2848520 05/15/19 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
Originally Posted by OE1FEU
The Gould piano is a Yamaha CFIIIS from the late 70s and it's a gorgeous instrument. He used this one also for his late recordings of the Haydn sonatas and Brahms Ballades and Rhapsodies.


No. it is not. You can clearly see that it is a CF in the overhead shot. It is not even a CFIII. The CFIIIS came out in the early 1990s. I remember tuning the first one that we got, which still had packing material on it.


Maybe you're remembering it wrong. I bought a CFIIIS in 1992 from Yamaha in Rellingen, where I selected it and it was a 10 year old rental instrument back then. I also heard Richter about 15 times on a Yamaha, first time in 1986, and I went backstage after many of those recitals and looked at the piano, which was a CFIIIS.

If Yamaha is wrong on the CFIIIS, you should tell them. There is a contact form as one of the links below the article.

https://usa.yamaha.com/news_events/...iano-celebrates-40th-anniversary_us.html

Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
OE1FEU #2848530 05/15/19 06:02 PM
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There is no release date for the CFIIIs in that article.


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Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
BDB #2848544 05/15/19 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
There is no release date for the CFIIIs in that article.


There is also nothing but anecdotal evidence in your article.

But to make it fair, I'll visit the place where the piano I bought still resides (it's a municipal concert hall) and make sure I got the model right and take down the serial number. Won't be tomorrow, though, it's some hundreds of kilometers away from where I live now and not a place I would regularly visit.

Re: Benjamin Grosvenor Blüthner
Joseph Fleetwood #2848546 05/15/19 06:41 PM
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It's fairly unusual, but Yamaha's line of concert grands do not line up in time, they overlap for long periods. I believe BDB is correct that the first CFIII-S is early 1990's, but CF production overlapped the CFIII production for many years, and the CFIII production overlapped the CFIII-S production for many years. I don't know how much overlap the CFX had with the CFIII-S, but I don't think production ended with the introduction of the CFX.

The Yamaha article is a bit confusing about the lineage of the related models. I think that press release is now 12 years old, celebrating the CF through CFIII-S (1967 - 2007). Between no mention of the CFX (not exactly new anymore) and the quote from a long closed dealer, I think you discovered old news OE1FEU. wink


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