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Estonia Pianos
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Rich Galassini
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That was an astounding performance. Particularly the clarity and transparency of Debussy Preludes, too often muddled, was incredible.

Could anyone else hear the tick/tock of a clock in the room, too?

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Wonderful!

I love his piano too. I was under the impression that he had an out of tune Estonia (or was it a Grotrian?) at home.

I wonder when he bought the Fazioli.

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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Wonderful!

I love his piano too. I was under the impression that he had an out of tune Estonia (or was it a Grotrian?) at home.

I wonder when he bought the Fazioli.

At one time he had an Estonia but told me that he was so busy travelling that he wasn't home enough to get it tuned!

Regards,


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He is truly astonishing. I don't think you could actually be technically more skilled.


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Originally Posted by BruceD
At one time he had an Estonia but told me that he was so busy travelling that he wasn't home enough to get it tuned!

Thanks for clearing that up Bruce!

I hope he is enjoying his time at home.

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Originally Posted by ando
He is truly astonishing. I don't think you could actually be technically more skilled.

In terms of technical skill, he's the best of the best.

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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by ando
He is truly astonishing. I don't think you could actually be technically more skilled.

In terms of technical skill, he's the best of the best.

There are many equal to him, Zimerman, Argerich, Wang, etc.

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Originally Posted by impossiblejj
Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by ando
He is truly astonishing. I don't think you could actually be technically more skilled.

In terms of technical skill, he's the best of the best.

There are many equal to him, Zimerman, Argerich, Wang, etc.

Not to start another silly comparison but Hamelin is technically the best smile I'm not saying he's a better pianist. But technically he's performed some of the most difficult piano pieces ever written, e.g. Godowsky's Etudes on Chopin. And they are so perfectly executed.


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by impossiblejj
Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by ando
He is truly astonishing. I don't think you could actually be technically more skilled.

In terms of technical skill, he's the best of the best.

There are many equal to him, Zimerman, Argerich, Wang, etc.

Not to start another silly comparison but Hamelin is technically the best smile I'm not saying he's a better pianist. But technically he's performed some of the most difficult piano pieces ever written, e.g. Godowsky's Etudes on Chopin. And they are so perfectly executed.


Indeed, he can execute them brilliantly. His Godowsky is benchmark I think. However, I attended his recital last year and was not impressed at all, his playing was very uneven (weak Chopin etc, brilliant Gerschwin and Debussy). I think he was made pianistic superstar... but there is a lot of repertoire where he doesn't deliver what would be expected from him based on his fame. However, I will not say that his abilities are among those whom I written above. His is good pianist, but I wouldn't attend his recital again.

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Thank you for sharing this.

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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by impossiblejj
Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by ando
He is truly astonishing. I don't think you could actually be technically more skilled.

In terms of technical skill, he's the best of the best.

There are many equal to him, Zimerman, Argerich, Wang, etc.

Not to start another silly comparison but Hamelin is technically the best smile I'm not saying he's a better pianist. But technically he's performed some of the most difficult piano pieces ever written, e.g. Godowsky's Etudes on Chopin. And they are so perfectly executed.
It is not exactly an insult to have someone say that Argerich is at your level.

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Originally Posted by impossiblejj
I attended his recital last year and was not impressed at all, his playing was very uneven (weak Chopin etc, brilliant Gerschwin and Debussy). I think he was made pianistic superstar... but there is a lot of repertoire where he doesn't deliver what would be expected from him based on his fame. However, I will not say that his abilities are among those whom I written above. His is good pianist, but I wouldn't attend his recital again.

"not impressed at all". Seriously?

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Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by impossiblejj
I attended his recital last year and was not impressed at all, his playing was very uneven (weak Chopin etc, brilliant Gerschwin and Debussy). I think he was made pianistic superstar... but there is a lot of repertoire where he doesn't deliver what would be expected from him based on his fame. However, I will not say that his abilities are among those whom I written above. His is good pianist, but I wouldn't attend his recital again.

"not impressed at all". Seriously?

This is a rabbit hole, folks. I understated my fandom of Marc. He is my FAVORITE artist, although I am very inspired by many. You are free to disagree. That is what makes music so special. We can feel differently about it.


Originally Posted by johnstaf
I love his piano too. I was under the impression that he had an out of tune Estonia (or was it a Grotrian?) at home.

johnstaf,

Bruce D. knows this story. I knew Marc André at Temple University in Philadelphia. I was an undergrad. and frankly, he was rocketing towards being a star. He continued to live in Philadelphia for a number of years, and over that time, he bought 4 pianos from me. The last one he bought he actually called and said he would like to purchase a Bösendorfer. We just let him play for a couple of hours. When he came back out he said I found my piano and he bought an Estonia 190.

We maintained it for some time but after a few years he stopped scheduling service. I thought he must have found someone who he liked or was more available, etc. But no. I was at his home just personally and the piano was playing terribly. When we were discussing he said something like, "It is no big deal. It is still great for practicing and I know what it is supposed to sound like anyway."

Another story - Marc graced us by playing a recital at our showroom years back. We invited special clients and college profs. and fans, we served wne and cheese, mingled before and after. It was a very classy evening. So Marc is in the middle of playing a Godowsky-Chopin arranged for left hand only and he picks up his glass of wine sitting on the music shelf and takes a sip. Here's the thing. He wasn't showboating. He was just thirsty.

Anyway, I was also really impressed with how the entire event was aired and the sound was processed. I texted Marc this morning to ask how everything was set up. I hope he responds.

Cheers,


Rich Galassini
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I cannot venture to say if Hamelin is technically superior to the technical giants mentioned earlier on this thread or other great technicians of the past and present. But I do think he has performed and recorded a lot more of the most technically demanding pieces in the repertoire than probably any other pianist.

I would be interested in the opinions of the professional/advanced non professional pianists on PW about where they think Hamelin ranks among the technical giants of the past and present. OTOH I think Hamelin dislikes being thought of as a technician so maybe this is an inappropriate topic for discussion.

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Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
It is not exactly an insult to have someone say that Argerich is at your level.

If you said she was at my level it would be an insult. To her. grin

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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
[...]
Bruce D. knows this story. I knew Marc André at Temple University in Philadelphia. I was an undergrad. and frankly, he was rocketing towards being a star. He continued to live in Philadelphia for a number of years, and over that time, he bought 4 pianos from me. The last one he bought he actually called and said he would like to purchase a Bösendorfer. We just let him play for a couple of hours. When he came back out he said I found my piano and he bought an Estonia 190.
[...]

I well remember that event for two reasons:

First: I was transfixed by Mr. Hamelin's playing of the Godowsky transcription of the Chopin Op. 10, No. 6 Etude in E-flat minor for left hand alone. Not only hearing but being able to watch with what apparent calm, ease and fluidity he played that challenging transcription with exquisite voicing of the melody among all the Godowsky fioritura was both inspiring and jaw-dropping. In one sense it wasn't a virtuoso performance; it was a musical experience.

Second: As a then very happy owner of an Estonia 168, I was nevertheless mesmerized by the sound of the 190 that Mr. Hamelin played and thought: "Why didn't I buy one of those?" That was before the new scale design in the early teens of this decade, by the way. Well, as my signature shows, I did eventually acquire a 190.

Rich: Thanks for the memory!

Regards,


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Thanks for posting that Rich. I'm a huge fan as well. Loved it, especially the Debussy. An incredible Artist !

Just my thought on the piano and I sort of hate to even bring it up because the musical level was so high but..... I'm a Fazioli fan but didn't care that much for the tone here. It might have been the mics, placement or pre-amp. I've heard them sound warmer and still retain that laser sharp clarity. That's not to say while playing - is it a 212 or 228 ? - or sitting in the room , the piano could have a totally different tonal character. But from here, over my fairly high end monitors, it's a bit sharp edged. I hear the tone as it could use some voicing.

That said, I could listen to him on a digital piano all day and still be transfixed !


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Originally Posted by Dave Ferris
[...]
Just my thought on the piano and I sort of hate to even bring it up because the musical level was so high but..... I'm a Fazioli fan but didn't care that much for the tone here. It might have been the mics, placement or pre-amp. I've heard them sound warmer and still retain that laser sharp clarity. That's not to say while playing - is it a 212 or 228 ? - or sitting in the room , the piano could have a totally different tonal character. But from here, over my fairly high end monitors, it's a bit sharp edged. I hear the tone as it could use some voicing.
[...]

Interesting; I have a somewhat similar reaction to the piano sound. When listening through my Conrad-Johnson PV10AL preamp and the C-J MF2500 amp with a pair of 3-way Aerial Acoustics column speakers, the sound warmed up considerably, particularly the bass and the tenor ranges. I still find that around C5 and up, there is an edge to the treble that is not entirely pleasant nor consistent with the tone of the rest of the piano which I quite like.

Mr. Hamelin may find himself in a similar situation to some of us where we want to get our piano tuned but are, of necessity, avoiding bringing in a tuner during the current crisis.

Or, it may just be that Mr. Hamelin's piano is still new, but I do agree that I think that voicing would help.

But, what playing!!

Regards,


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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
... he was rocketing towards being a star. He continued to live in Philadelphia for a number of years, and over that time, he bought 4 pianos from me. The last one he bought he actually called and said he would like to purchase a Bösendorfer. We just let him play for a couple of hours. When he came back out he said I found my piano and he bought an Estonia 190.

We maintained it for some time but after a few years he stopped scheduling service. I thought he must have found someone who he liked or was more available, etc. But no. I was at his home just personally and the piano was playing terribly. When we were discussing he said something like, "It is no big deal. It is still great for practicing and I know what it is supposed to sound like anyway."

So often we see the perspective that the only valid piano is a brand new Steinschläger, and that a concert technician must be kept on retainer once it's acquired. People can argue whether Hamelin's the best of the best, or simply amongst the best, but the fact that a pianist of his caliber chose a six foot Estonia certainly underscores the notion that the distinction between piano brands is neither as sharp nor significant as some people would like to believe it is! And while I don't advocate neglecting maintenance, the constant ministrations of a concert technician may not be necessary either.

Thanks for sharing the above, Rich! It's always interesting to get a glimpse of the world of pianos from your perspective. thumb


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