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It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!
It's a Bösendorfer 225, in pyramid mahogany, in the senator finish, and it is (imho) stunningly beautiful. It was at the upper limit of our budget, and probably at the upper limit of what our space could support acoustically (our living room area is rougly 14ft x 24ft, with a hallway and stairs off the side), but I've never felt more sure of a major purchase. The key action is just a touch on the heavier side of average, which I love. It reminds me more than anything of the Steinway D - when prepped - that we had in the concert hall at my school. It's substantial enough that I feel in control in quiet passages, but it just seems to melt away whenever I need it to. The sound is absolutely majestic, I'm not sure how else to describe it. After living with my Yamaha T118 upright for all these years, as great a companion as it has been, the 7-foot-4-inch sound is a revelation. Now begins a lifetime of work to make myself worthy of such a beautiful piano, lol.
Apparently, the previous owners brought it to California from Virginia, so naturally we're calling it, "The Senator from Virginia." ("The Senator" for short.)
I recorded some of the Chopin Berceuse to show off the sound and added some amateurish glamour shots of the piano, because I'm corny:
Incredibly beautiful piano and music— to hear you play Berceuse was a treat! Thanks
"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin "I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
Thanks guys! We've now had it for about a week and a half now, and I'm still in love. I've found a couple of voicing nitpicks after playing it several hours every day, lol - G5 and G#5 are weirdly bright with una corda for some reason - but I can't imagine that will be a problem for our tech to deal with.
My big project right now is the Schubert E-flat trio (D929), and I swear this piano was made for it. It can be dark and brooding, ebullient and playful, stormy or mischevious or brilliant or whatever I want (subject to my limited technique, haha). I'm very, very much looking forward to being able to have the string players come play with me!
Omg you bought Bo's younger brother!!!! I think the Senator is my next favorite art case after the Johann Strauss
In case you're interested (but it would limit you to playing with strings) there was an amazing difference in sound when I had the tuning changed to A443. It really blossomed and opened up! Details starting around here, and I found quotes from a couple folks in the industry who said that it indeed makes a huge difference because the pianos are prepped at that pitch at the factory.
I had a couple of very good musicians signed up to play Schubert's first piano trio and we had finally scheduled our first rehearsal and then the pandemic happened! I've got other stuff going on now so I don't know if we'll get back to it anytime soon... Enjoy playing with your group-- chamber music is my favorite
The pandemic ruins everything! The Schubert trios are a ton of work, I'm so sorry you had to postpone it.
Thanks for the tip about the tuning - I've just checked, with the help of some youtube sine waves (I love the internet), and the Senator is definitely tuned to 440. My tech apparently specializes in Bösendorfers so I'm interested to see what he can do with it given a very willing customer.
And I love the idea of the Senator as Bo's little brother, lol!
Humidity seems like it's going to be an issue; the pitch at lower end of the treble register was getting pretty bad, and the balance rail had to be adjusted. We're going to install a humidifier in a few weeks, so hopefully that will keep things more stable going forward.
Besides the normal tuning, I asked about a few things:
There were a few treble notes that had a metallic sound with una corda engaged (particularly G5 and G#5). He voiced those, and also adjusted the pedal travel by making an adjustment in the block at the upper end of the keyboard as well as allowing the pedal to depress slightly more. The una corda sound is improved across the whole instrument. It had a kind of muffled character before - it didn't sound bad, but it's cleaner and more pleasant now.
When playing pieces that required big chords in the middle of the keyboard (specifically moonlight sonata 3rd movement) it seemed like the keys in the upper register were kind of bouncing a little. This only started happening recently, and it's a little distracting. This is what necessitated the balance rail adjustment. In addition to fixing that issue, the whole keyboard just feels sturdier now, and key repetitions are significantly easier.
Lastly (maybe only of interest to twocats and WSherlock80) I rather sheepishly asked about getting the cabinet key or the pillow for the lid, and he said he can order them from Yamaha for me! The pillow is like $100, lol. I will absolutely pay that.
Anyway, the Senator is back to playing and sounding amazing, so I am very happy. Next up, humidifier installation in June, and then a full concert prep appointment in September, before my friends and I play the Schubert trio!