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Hello again and (new to me) Bechstein

Posted By: HerrCastor

Hello again and (new to me) Bechstein - 04/15/19 09:32 PM

Ahoy Pianolovers!

I was a member of these forums many years ago, during my initial piano search which finished by the purchase of a Bösendorfer 214CS in 2006. This still lives in our Swiss house and gets played Monday to Friday.

Five years ago we acquired an old farmhouse in Burgundy (1.5hrs drive from Geneva), where we now spend most weekends and holidays. Given the wide temperature fluctuations in winter (whilst working on insulation and renovations), I purchased a Roland digital as a stop-gap solution for weekend playing.

However, after recent works on a former barn/stables (including full insulation and remote-controllable heating), I decided to take the plunge on another acoustic. So here is my 1896 C. Bechstein Model V, fully restored and supplied by Roberts Pianos of Oxford.

A distinct contrast to the weekday (modern) Bösendorfer, but certainly something to look forward to every Friday night. And I can play as loud and late as I like, as my only neighbours are chickens and cows. Room decoration and soft furnishings are still a work-in-progress :-)

http://a65.tinypic.com/29e5753.jpg
http://a67.tinypic.com/34sjvjd.jpg
http://a64.tinypic.com/2hhkg28.jpg
http://a63.tinypic.com/dp6zht.jpg


Michael (aka PoStTeNeBrAsLuX)
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Hello again and (new to me) Bechstein - 04/15/19 09:39 PM

I think that case is an iconic design. The great music desk, legs, and even the squared off part of the bent side of the case. Congratulations!
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Hello again and (new to me) Bechstein - 04/15/19 10:51 PM

I'm sure I've salivated over that particular piano on Roberts Pianos. It's really beautiful.
Posted By: jshelton

Re: Hello again and (new to me) Bechstein - 04/15/19 11:46 PM

Knock out piano! Beautiful in every way...lucky you.
Posted By: GC13

Re: Hello again and (new to me) Bechstein - 04/16/19 07:16 PM

She's gorgeous!! Congratulations! What a beauty.
Posted By: Seeker

Re: Hello again and (new to me) Bechstein - 04/16/19 09:10 PM

Wow. Piano certainly LOOKS gorgeous.
May we hear how it SOUNDS soon?
BTW - from your description, your new place seems an ideal spot for a festival of music in the countryside.
cool
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: Hello again and (new to me) Bechstein - 04/17/19 12:37 AM

Beautiful piano!
Posted By: WhoDwaldi

Re: Hello again and (new to me) Bechstein - 04/17/19 03:34 AM

Wow! I played a restored one of those many years ago. Fabulous instrument for Bach!
Posted By: Skjalg

Re: Hello again and (new to me) Bechstein - 04/17/19 07:39 AM

How exciting! I love this style of music desk on the C. Bechstein. It is absolutely gorgeous.
[Linked Image]

Quote
fully restored and supplied by Roberts Pianos of Oxford.

I have watched many of their videos describing the inner workings of the piano actions. I am going to Oxford in the autumn, so I might take a trip to the shop then.
Posted By: HerrCastor

Re: Hello again and (new to me) Bechstein - 04/17/19 10:34 AM



Quote

I have watched many of their videos describing the inner workings of the piano actions. I am going to Oxford in the autumn, so I might take a trip to the shop then.


Beware, it might be a costly visit!

My sister lives in Oxford, so I made an appointment to audition all their >160cm pianos in my budget range, whilst I was there one Saturday in early March. Eight days later the piano was delivered and installed in Deepest France :-)

Roberts Pianos is the epitome of a very professionally run family business. Infectious enthusiasm, decades of knowledge and experience, courtesy, patience, reactivity and efficiency. I really can’t recommend them highly enough.
Posted By: PhilipInChina

Re: Hello again and (new to me) Bechstein - 04/17/19 11:20 AM

Those images are blocked, here! Pity. I would have liked to have seen them.
Posted By: HerrCastor

Re: Hello again and (new to me) Bechstein - 04/17/19 11:35 AM

Thanks for all your good wishes. I couldn't be happier with the Bechstein Model V and I am looking forward to playing it often over the coming years.

The Bösendorfer 214CS (built 2000) had a major overhaul two year ago: new hammers, shanks, rollers, damper adjustment, keyboard re-bushed/weighted, etc., all done by Piano Service Führer in Geneva, who maintain many pianos in performance venues here in French-speaking Switzerland. Both my son (now 26 and a music teacher) and I had played it a great deal since its purchase in 2006, so it was in desperate need of some TLC. The action was in their workshop for two weeks and Monsieur Führer was then at my house for three full days for final tuning, regulation and voicing. Quite an investment, but the results were fantastic... so any additional piano would have a lot to live up to :-)

This 1896 Bechstein Model V is pretty much a full rebuild by Roberts Pianos of Oxford: new soundboard, strings, hammers, shanks, rollers, dampers, keytops, and refinished in polyester black. The touch is a tad lighter than the Bösendorfer, but not by much and is still very controllable and reactive. The Bechstein is quite a different beast tonally, a more sparkly mid-range and treble, plus a strong tenor and bass, not quite as velvety and rounded as the 214CS, but a good complement to its higher registers.

To say the Bechstein is 'bright' and/or that the Bösendorfer is 'mellow' would be a general comment, but both are capable of big roaring volumes and soft intimate passages as the music demands. The impression of loudness and resonance when playing the Bechstein is also due to the big empty room that it occupies at present. Once we install some tapestries, soft furnishings and some heavy curtains across windows/doors, it will undoubtedly tame the sound appreciably.

I am having a great time on the Model V discovering the sound of various familiar pieces, (from Bach to Hindemith, passing by many in between), which I have played on the Bösendorfer over the past decade or so. I am particularly taken with the Bechstein's sonority in late Beethoven sonatas (e.g. Opp 101/109/110), especially experimenting with different pedalling, which often suits more the sound of the Model V but would perhaps sound too muddy on the Bösendorfer.

So which one do I prefer? Ask me again in a couple of decades ;-)
Posted By: HerrCastor

Re: Hello again and (new to me) Bechstein - 04/17/19 11:41 AM

Originally Posted by PhilipInChina
Those images are blocked, here! Pity. I would have liked to have seen them.


PM me an email address and I'll send you the pics directly if you like.

Best regards,
Posted By: Skjalg

Re: Hello again and (new to me) Bechstein - 04/17/19 12:02 PM

Quote
Beware, it might be a costly visit!

I will take the risk... laugh

Speaking of costly. Since you live in Switzerland, you might consider something like Admonter as an acoustic treatment for parts of a wall or roof.
A friend of mine has installed it in his music room, and I am considering the same at a later stage.
There is not a lot of information about it, but have a look here: Admonter Accoustics
It has definitely less of a studio look to it.

Here is a picture from Admonter acoustic panel.
[Linked Image]

Posted By: PhilipInChina

Re: Hello again and (new to me) Bechstein - 04/18/19 03:54 AM

Happy to do that.

Better idea, post them to the owners' club.
Posted By: Retsacnal

Re: Hello again and (new to me) Bechstein - 04/18/19 06:17 AM

That's a handsome piano!

Speaking of French-speaking Switzerland, I lived a spell in Neuchâtel.
Posted By: HerrCastor

Re: Hello again and (new to me) Bechstein - 04/21/19 08:17 PM

Neuchâtel, that’s actually French they speak up there?! ;-)

Long Easter weekend here in Deepest France, lots of gardening and painting (woodwork not canvas), interspersed with cooking up a few meals in the country kitchen, a few LvB sonatas on the Bechstein, and maybe even sampling the odd glass of pinot noir.

Back to Geneva tomorrow evening and into the office on Tuesday morning... but here in Burgundy again on Friday evening. I suppose the Bösendorfer will have to suffice until then!
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