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#3090990 03/09/21 03:52 PM
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Hi,

I was wondering if anyone knows what Horowitz's Steinway is up to nowadays?? I've been particularly obsessed with Horowitz recordings for the past few years and, whilst I assume (sadly) that the action has long been taken out, I'd still love to see the piano that once belonged to the legendary pianist.

I've seen videos of people playing it and to what I could see, it was on a tour of North America a few years ago. Does it ever visit Europe?

Hopefully it's still out there somewhere... I'm sad enough that my lifetime didn't overlap with Horowitz's, hopefully I'll still get to see that blasted Steinway at least.

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I don't know where it is now, but I was fortunate to have been able to examine that piano when it came back from Horowitz's apt. and was at the factory prior to "reconditioning". I saw it again at Vanderbilt after the restoration department had gone over it. It was completely different in terms of sound and feel than when it was set up for Horowitz.
Regard,s

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Amazing, did you have a chance to play it? I'm very sad that it was ''restored'' and I wish that it had been "captured" in its original state. I'd really like to know what it was like to play, how the action felt etc. I'm sure there's so many more subtleties to it than simply having a lighter action.

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The Steinway concert grands that Horowitz recorded on in the 1940s and 1950s are amazing sounding. To me, they are the standard for Steinway sound.


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Originally Posted by Ed Foote
I don't know where it is now, but I was fortunate to have been able to examine that piano when it came back from Horowitz's apt. and was at the factory prior to "reconditioning". I saw it again at Vanderbilt after the restoration department had gone over it. It was completely different in terms of sound and feel than when it was set up for Horowitz.
Regard,s


The Horowitz piano makes the piano dealer rounds every few years; you might ask your local dealer if they can let you know if it has been scheduled. You might also find a newspaper notice. Anyone can play it by making an appointment.

I played it about three years ago, it was thrilling to play on s piano he played, but there was no attempt made to replicate the rebuild to the original . That was disappointing


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Originally Posted by alexii
Amazing, did you have a chance to play it? I'm very sad that it was ''restored'' and I wish that it had been "captured" in its original state. I'd really like to know what it was like to play, how the action felt etc. I'm sure there's so many more subtleties to it than simply having a lighter action.

Very light, very bright, late dampers. It was a brittle sounding piano and had very little tonal range. but a lot of sustain. . Very lively soundboard, though it was nearly flat in the center section. Not at all near any standard STeinway I have seen, but it was a custom set up for an old, old, man.
Regards,

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Simply wanted to add here a one-of-a-kind performance of a
well known Scriabin etude:



Who else can play this piece with such impact?

Horowitz will always be the best!

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I played it years ago. It was very light and responsive. The key dip was noticeable shallower than standard.

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Originally Posted by Ed Foote
Very light, very bright, late dampers. It was a brittle sounding piano and had very little tonal range. but a lot of sustain. . Very lively soundboard, though it was nearly flat in the center section. Not at all near any standard STeinway I have seen, but it was a custom set up for an old, old, man.
Regards,

Originally Posted by DanS
I played it years ago. It was very light and responsive. The key dip was noticeable shallower than standard.

It makes one wonder what Horowitz would have thought of a fine digital action with Pianoteq... no doubt he would have worked magic with it.

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Originally Posted by navindra
Originally Posted by Ed Foote
Very light, very bright, late dampers. It was a brittle sounding piano and had very little tonal range. but a lot of sustain. . Very lively soundboard, though it was nearly flat in the center section. Not at all near any standard STeinway I have seen, but it was a custom set up for an old, old, man.
Regards,

Originally Posted by DanS
I played it years ago. It was very light and responsive. The key dip was noticeable shallower than standard.

It makes one wonder what Horowitz would have thought of a fine digital action with Pianoteq... no doubt he would have worked magic with it.


Yes, he would work magic with it but that is not the same as what his opinion would be.


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I wonder if it would be possible to replicate Horowitz's piano nowadays? Could one ask their piano technician to attempt this? I think it's a shame that the knowledge of how such a piano was prepared will one day be lost to history.

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Originally Posted by Ed Foote
I don't know where it is now, but I was fortunate to have been able to examine that piano when it came back from Horowitz's apt. and was at the factory prior to "reconditioning". I saw it again at Vanderbilt after the restoration department had gone over it. It was completely different in terms of sound and feel than when it was set up for Horowitz.
Regard,s

Thank you for the post, Ed. I also saw the piano after it was “reconditioned”. It was vanilla - a bit bland. Not a terrible piano, but nothing different or excellent about it. It was very different from its first tour.

So young players will one day think that Horowitz preferred a bland piano. How disappointing.


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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Originally Posted by Ed Foote
I don't know where it is now, but I was fortunate to have been able to examine that piano when it came back from Horowitz's apt. and was at the factory prior to "reconditioning". I saw it again at Vanderbilt after the restoration department had gone over it. It was completely different in terms of sound and feel than when it was set up for Horowitz.
Regard,s

Thank you for the post, Ed. I also saw the piano after it was “reconditioned”. It was vanilla - a bit bland. Not a terrible piano, but nothing different or excellent about it. It was very different from its first tour.

So young players will one day think that Horowitz preferred a bland piano. How disappointing.

I tried it once (pre restoration) and it was very light and very bright. I have used his piano as a way of describing piano setups for different situations. Horowitz needed his piano light and bright to play maximum projection with minimal effort, hit the back row of the concert hall. Also, so he could hear his own piano. This is not how I would have that piano set up in a home, but for the concert stage, it (apparently) was perfect.


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His student Eduardus Halim apparently chose it for his debut at the 92d St Y, against the advice of Horowitz and just about everyone else. It blew the roof off, and not in a good way. Horowitz definitely had it set for the Metropolitan Opera and places of that scale.

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Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
His student Eduardus Halim apparently chose it for his debut at the 92d St Y, against the advice of Horowitz and just about everyone else. It blew the roof off, and not in a good way. Horowitz definitely had it set for the Metropolitan Opera and places of that scale.


Haha. The 92nd St Y is a small hall, I can only imagine. I saw Angela Hewitt play a Fazioli piano from the third row at the 92nd St Y and I was not blown away.

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Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
His student Eduardus Halim apparently chose it for his debut at the 92d St Y, against the advice of Horowitz and just about everyone else. It blew the roof off, and not in a good way. Horowitz definitely had it set for the Metropolitan Opera and places of that scale.


Haha. The 92nd St Y is a small hall, I can only imagine. I saw Angela Hewitt play a Fazioli piano from the third row at the 92nd St Y and I was not blown away.

I don't think that this was "the" Horowitz piano i.e. the one actually had in his home and used on his tours through Europe between 1985 and 1987. I believe in Halim's case we are talking about the one piano that was more or less reserved for Horowitz by the Steinway Concert and Artist department. This one can be identified by the single "STEINWAY" on the fallboard as opposed to the "STEINWAY&SONS" on his private piano.

Franz Mohr told me that Horowitz demanded a special treatment of the hammers of the C&A piano with lots of lacquer in them to make the piano brighter and more brilliant, specifically for his 1978 orchestra appearance, but also for the subsequent 1982 London recitals and the dreadful series of recitals in 1983. He did this against all better advice from Mohr - and the results were not pretty.

I played the real Horowitz piano in Berlin with Mohr's permission before his second Berlin recital in 1986. I found it rather mellow and extremely well regulated and very consistently voiced. A beautiful piano, but not a mythical beast. Horowitz himself was the one to bring out the magic in sound. The piano I played had nothing to do with the one I saw and heard Horowitz play a day later in the Philharmonic Hall.

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Fascinating. I think players can be mythical beasts but not pianos, but that is just my opinion.

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I had hoped to see it on its last tour, but wasn't able to. If it passed though my area (DC Metro), it did so before I realized it was out. I tried to contrive a trip to NYC to see it up there, but it didn't work out for one reason or another. frown


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Interesting. I happened to stumble across this interview of Franz Mohr, where he discusses servicing Horowitz's pianos and mentions how Horowitz's tastes changed over the years, moving to a more mellow sound: http://www.bruceduffie.com/mohr.html

Originally Posted by OE1FEU
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
His student Eduardus Halim apparently chose it for his debut at the 92d St Y, against the advice of Horowitz and just about everyone else. It blew the roof off, and not in a good way. Horowitz definitely had it set for the Metropolitan Opera and places of that scale.


Haha. The 92nd St Y is a small hall, I can only imagine. I saw Angela Hewitt play a Fazioli piano from the third row at the 92nd St Y and I was not blown away.

I don't think that this was "the" Horowitz piano i.e. the one actually had in his home and used on his tours through Europe between 1985 and 1987. I believe in Halim's case we are talking about the one piano that was more or less reserved for Horowitz by the Steinway Concert and Artist department. This one can be identified by the single "STEINWAY" on the fallboard as opposed to the "STEINWAY&SONS" on his private piano.

Franz Mohr told me that Horowitz demanded a special treatment of the hammers of the C&A piano with lots of lacquer in them to make the piano brighter and more brilliant, specifically for his 1978 orchestra appearance, but also for the subsequent 1982 London recitals and the dreadful series of recitals in 1983. He did this against all better advice from Mohr - and the results were not pretty.

I played the real Horowitz piano in Berlin with Mohr's permission before his second Berlin recital in 1986. I found it rather mellow and extremely well regulated and very consistently voiced. A beautiful piano, but not a mythical beast. Horowitz himself was the one to bring out the magic in sound. The piano I played had nothing to do with the one I saw and heard Horowitz play a day later in the Philharmonic Hall.


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