At 07:29 PM 2/23/2005 -0800, Jerry Young wrote:
>Likewise, Malcolm Bilson laments on how pianos now
>sound pretty much the same, at least compared to when
>pianos were a new thing, For 19th-century pianists,
>there was a risky pleasure in having to come to terms
>with very different instruments from town to town. Now
>we seem to have one basic piano, the Steinway, which
>is the model from which other piano builders can't
>stray too far.
Bah, humbug - and a VBG.
I recall having played a newly released Command dual-pianist LP for a
friend. The height of technical achievement in its day, it generated one
scathing criticism: they're playing a Baldwin! Of course, he did not need
to look at the jacket to recognize that sound.
Similarly, if one cannot hear the difference between a Steinway - any
Steinway - and a Boesendorfer Imperial Grand, one is either aurally
incompetent or asleep.
True enough, the Yamaha and other more recent lines are modelled on the
Steinway for quite sound reasons (pun intended). Above all, the action,
then the volume of sound generated and finally the timbre provide ample
justification for emulation.
Footnote: In my distant youth, I was often found at the Academy of Music
listening to the Philadelphia Orchestra. There was a consistent full-page
ad in the program announcing with pride that the Baldwin was the official
piano of the Orchestra. However, only the least of soloists - e.g., winners
of competitions with concerts in the prize package - played the Baldwin.
The rest, not only the imported soloists but our regular piano player,
Of course, our regular pianist was Rudolf Serkin, so we seldom complained.
(Our usual fiddler was Isaac Stern; no complaint there either. Our other
routine soloists were our first chairs: Lorn Munroe, WIlliam Kincaid, John
de Lancie, Mason Jones, ... We were terribly spoiled.)
[log in to unmask]