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Not to start anything, but...
#304868 07/15/04 10:09 PM
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Mat D. Offline OP
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..I went to see Andre Watts last week while I was on vacation in Vail, CO; He played the Macdowell (sp, sorry)
Concerto #2in Dm w/ the Dallas Symphony Orchestra-The piano was a S&S Hamburg D.

Also on the program was a Concerto for 2 pianos by Poulenc (2nd pianist was the DSO conductor--wish I could remember his name now..) OK, to the point, the other piano wa a S&S NY D...This time around, Mr. Watts played the NY D, while the conductor played the Hamburg D. It's rare that you would hear both on the same stage, on the same night, at the same time.

Obviously, being a "piano-nut" I paid very close attention to the tonal quality and overall effect of each instrument and immediately following the performance asked my wife her preference...without hesitation she liked the NY D better than the Hamburg...I agreed entirely. The 2 pianos each had their charateristic tone (IMO), the Hamburg being brighter and more powerful, but the NY D was more musical and "sweeter" sounding overall.

I know this is not scientific, but it was interesting because I would have bet on the Hamburg if I had been asked.

Anyone else with a similar oppportunity to hear 2 different pianos on the same stage???

Mat D.

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Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304869 07/15/04 10:46 PM
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Sorry to sound ignorant, but so that I understand, what type of piano is NY D?

Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304870 07/15/04 10:48 PM
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A model D is Steinway's 8'11 1/2" concert grand.


G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
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Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304871 07/15/04 11:20 PM
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Very recently, I played a NY D and a Hamburg D virtually side by side -- in the same hall, the Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA. I was there with two piano pals, and we took turns listening and playing both pianos.

The NY D sounded mellower and darker, while the Hamburg D appeared brighter and more powerful. While the NY D was rather similar to other new NY D's I played elsewhere, the Hamburg D was quite a bit brighter and had a more penetrating, more unyielding, and more opaque sound compared to a rebuilt Hamburg D I played at Klavierhaus in NYC last fall (the latter had a clearer, rounder tone, with more finesse and more warmth, even with a bit of mustique -- very memorable).

How much of that was voicing and how much was inherent in the pianos, I do not know. The facility's coordinator told us that the Hamburg D was voiced for concert of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana the night before our visit, so they could have voiced it brighter and more penetrating than usual just so the piano could cut through the thick chorus and orchestration. (Of the two in Mechanics Hall, one of my piano pal and I liked the Hamburg D better while the other piano pal liked the NY D better -- but we weren't really all that wild with either piano.)

Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304872 07/15/04 11:50 PM
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There's a venue I work that has a Steinway D and Bechstein E, both probably about 75 years old, which are occasionally used together, although they are not in the same room. Some comparison is possible on them. I prefer the Steinway.

We will sometimes have the Yamaha CFIIIS at the same time a Hamburg D is there for another show, along with a Baldwin D which is the house piano. I prefer the Yamaha, although I think it is mostly because it is a bit better maintained. Otherwise, I think it would be a wash. Whichever you chose would be fine.

A couple I knew maybe 20 years ago had an old NY B, a new NY B, and a new Hamburg B in their living room. I preferred the new NY B.


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Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304873 07/16/04 06:51 AM
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My guess is the 2 Steinway D's (Andre Watts/Vail,CO) were voiced by the same tech, but I suspect the Hamburg D was newer and still "raw". The NY D was obviously older, in which case it most likely had found it's "voice" and thus was the more musical of the 2.

Certainly, either piano can be great, there are just so many variables, not the least of all is personal taste.

I'd like to hear a Shugiru Kawai next to a S&S Hamburg D....might be interesting.

BTW, I'm also interested in Irving's M&H/S&S shoot-out.

Mat D.

Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304874 07/16/04 07:10 AM
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Very Interesting!!! As I though Andre was a Yamaha artist.


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Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304875 07/16/04 09:34 AM
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Matt:
You mean to tell me you were THAT close to us, and didn't come in to play some pianos?!?!

... how insulting


I know I know... quick trip, no time, etc. etc.


smile smile

I have no doubt that a NY Steinway *can* sound better than a Hamburg. Anytime I'm arguing about Hamburg vs. NY, I'm arguing build quality. As you experienced though, it is totally possible for one to sound better than the other. I would guess that each of these was *not* prepped to the same level though.

The NY was most likely provided by the local Steinway dealer, while the Hamburg was not. And typically in that situation (at least in my experience), the tech brought along to work on the NY Steinway, won't work on the other one. Of course this situation might have been different, but it might explain one being brighter than the other.

Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304876 07/16/04 09:48 AM
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What KB says, was very likely what took place. I will also add from my personal experience of two piano concerts. Many artists that perform two piano works will select one piano that is bright,and one that is a little more on the mellow side. The reason being, the brighter instrument will be used as the melody (primo) instrument,and the mellow as the accompaniment or (secondo)instrument. The brighter piano being better able to project or reinforce the melody lines.
Just my 2 pesos.


G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
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Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304877 07/16/04 10:12 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by Mat D.:
Also on the program was a Concerto for 2 pianos by Poulenc (2nd pianist was the DSO conductor--wish I could remember his name now..)
Andrew Litton...

Sorry, that's all I have to add to this topic.

Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304878 07/16/04 10:16 AM
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"2nd pianist was the DSO conductor--wish I could remember his name"
Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Andrew Litton, Conductor/Piano
André Watts, Piano


"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein
Charles Walter W190 Ebony
Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304879 07/16/04 10:47 AM
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My experience with Hamburg Steinways (I own a Hamburg M), they have a lot of guts. When you play a note, boom the note shoots out of the piano, it's almost like tolling a bell. The bass on Hamburgs are amazing ... it's so so deep (not to be confused with loud), like it bellows. Even on my M, the low A makes me shiver sometimes. There's also a pretty evident divide between treble and bass, the treble is bell-like, a few notes lower, the tone completely shifts to a different nature. Schizophrenic, almost!

I've also tried some NY Steinways at the music school where I used to go to college. They were quite beautiful as well, it seemed to me that the notes were clearer than the Hamburg. The bass not as distinct, the divide wasn't as obvious between treble and bass, though it all blended in really smoothly. If the Hamburg Steinway is the Big Ben, then the NY Steinway is a carillon. If the Hamburg Steinway is licorice, then the NY Steinway is vanilla. :-)

Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304880 07/16/04 11:24 AM
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I'm pretty sure I played that Hamburg D in March when I was on my piano hunt. KB, haven't you played it, too? If it's the one I'm thinking of, when it's not dazzling Vail audiences it's stored in Brighton, CO. Chopsticks never sounded better! Knocked my socks off, and about knocked my eardrums off as well. Wow.

Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304881 07/16/04 11:35 AM
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Well if it's the D from Brighton, yes I have played it.

Needs some expert voicing, but had wonderful potential from what I remember.
Makes sense that it was a bit bright, and knowing now that both pianos came from different places, it makes sense that they were quite different.

Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304882 07/16/04 12:54 PM
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The one hall I'm most familiar with her in NYC, Merkin Hall, has one NY and one Hamburg D. For a long time most pianists favored the Hamburg, but I think that was because it was newer and the NY D had not been kept up. I stil preferred the sound of the NY D when I was asked to make a choice, though.

I think the NY piano has had some work done to it by this time.

Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304883 07/16/04 10:17 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by KlavierBauer:
Matt:
You mean to tell me you were THAT close to us, and didn't come in to play some pianos?!?!

.
KB, I wanted so much to come by your store, but we were on our 30th anniversary vacation & it wasn't till the 2nd last day when I was thumbing through the yellow pages that I realized you were in the area...it looked like it was still quite a drive from Vail, is that correct...how far are you from Vail Village?

I will say we absolutely loved Vail and will return for sure; I'm looking forward to meeting you and seeing your store.

BTW, you are probably right about the pianos in question. Like I said, it was just an observation about these 2 particular pianos.

I forgot to mention (about the concert that night) AFter the 2 piano Concerto, Andrew Litton & Andre Watts played an encore of another Poulenc 2 piano piece (without orchestra) the tonal quality (difference) of the 2 pianos was even more pronounced on this piece without orchestra...personally, the most beautiful piano I've ever played was a Hamburg C..

Mat D.

Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304884 07/16/04 10:36 PM
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For me, the most memorable side by side comparison between NY and Hamburg Steinways happened one day when I went to Klavierhaus on W 58th in NYC. There were two B’s, side by side. Both were voiced to perfection, prepped to perfection, qualities I have come to expect from the stores on piano row in New York. Each displayed its unique qualities and though I loved both, the NY B took the edge, it had more “character” or something, more levels of color change with each dynamic level. I was frankly surprised. I shouldn’t have been. I have found this comparison before and usually the NY piano just seems to have more personality or something.

However Hamburg still has something that NY doesn’t have besides the build quality Jonathan and others like to remind us we are paying for in a fine European instrument; scale designs that are no longer produced in NY. And if this is your experience;

Quote
Originally posted by Mat D.:
the most beautiful piano I've ever played was a Hamburg C.
….. and I’d add the Hamburg A’s and O’s in there too, then Hamburg is the only place they make them new these days.

Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304885 07/16/04 10:51 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by David Burton:


However Hamburg still has something that NY doesn’t have besides the build quality Jonathan and others like to remind us we are paying for in a fine European instrument; scale designs that are no longer produced in NY. And if this is your experience;

Quote
Originally posted by Mat D.:
[b]the most beautiful piano I've ever played was a Hamburg C.
….. and I’d add the Hamburg A’s and O’s in there too, then Hamburg is the only place they make them new these days. [/b]
Very good point David. The Steinway folk had a Steinway A art case piano displayed at the national PTG convention. It was a joint venture between Hamburg and NY, with the belly work, scale, finish, and design coming from Hamburg, and the action coming from NY. It was a really nice piano, and it would have taken a really unusual B from NY to beat it. It was very enjoyable to go back and forth between the Hamburg/NY A and the new Mason & Hamlin AA.


Keith D Kerman
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Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304886 07/17/04 09:31 AM
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Keith and I spent some time doing this, and it was very interesting to hear the differences between these two instruments.

Keith's also quite the performer, and don't let him tell you otherwise!

Re: Not to start anything, but...
#304887 07/17/04 10:37 AM
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Thanks Jonathan,

I thought I heard some really nice Waldstein last movement coming out of your fingers as well!


Keith D Kerman
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keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460
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