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#1546231 - 10/29/10 01:39 PM Re: Horowitz's Steinway [Re: plumpfingers]
TomazP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/09
Posts: 106
Loc: Ucluelet, BC Canada
I played his piano at his New York apartment in 1967. I wrote down CD 314505 but it could have been 503. The piano had about half the normal downweight, I think in the low 30's (g). What impressed me most was the repetition speed. I still don't know how the tech managed both - and Howoritz wouldn't share that piece of information.

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#1546263 - 10/29/10 02:15 PM Re: Horowitz's Steinway [Re: TomazP]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: TomazP
I played his piano at his New York apartment in 1967.....

I think that's worth our hearing the story of how that happened..... smile
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1546279 - 10/29/10 02:34 PM Re: Horowitz's Steinway [Re: plumpfingers]
La Vega Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/04/09
Posts: 124
Loc: Oakland, CA
I read somewhere (probably PW) that he had Yamaha actions slotted into his Steinway. True?
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#1546297 - 10/29/10 03:03 PM Re: Horowitz's Steinway [Re: TomazP]
JustAnotherPianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/08
Posts: 798
Loc: United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: TomazP
I played his piano at his New York apartment in 1967. I wrote down CD 314505 but it could have been 503. The piano had about half the normal downweight, I think in the low 30's (g). What impressed me most was the repetition speed. I still don't know how the tech managed both - and Howoritz wouldn't share that piece of information.


If you don't mind my asking....what brought you to chez Horowitz in 1967? I smell a good story here... feel free to PM me if you want....


no....he certainly did NOT have a Yamaha action 'slotted' into his piano. Who ever told you this?

I played the 'Horowitz Steinway' at a Steinway dealer once-it was touring around various Steinway dealers at the time...

I don't particularly remember the event....which makes me assume it wasn't a particularly memorable experience. It was a good piano, and the action indeed seemed very responsive.

The Steinway floor lizard went on about how the keys went down easier and came up faster....

I wonder.... did Horowitz ever have an encounter with a Fazioli? Were the early Faziolis as good as they are now?

Maybe Horowitzian could chime in here....?

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#1546439 - 10/29/10 05:55 PM Re: Horowitz's Steinway [Re: plumpfingers]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3475
Loc: US
I also had the chance to play Horowitz' D on two occasions. It was quite a touching experience. The case is quite banged up and I don't think they have refinished the outside at all -- it's quite the old war horse but magnificent.

The tech at the store at the time talked about some of the adjustments that Horowitz liked to the action to give it that hair-trigger rapidity but also made it very difficult for mere mortals to control well.

I'm not sure Horowitz would have liked the sound of Fazioli-- he is quoted as liking the sound of NY Steinway due to it having a human vocal quality. Fazioli might have been a bit sterile sounding to him... but who knows?

Sophia

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#1546471 - 10/29/10 06:38 PM Re: Horowitz's Steinway [Re: plumpfingers]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14139
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
There's a difference in admiring an artist and his music and the piano he happened to prefer for himself.

Being a great fan of Horowitz, I never thought much of his instrument, at least not when I tried it myself on one occasion.

This, notwithstanding the historic value of and awe for such instrument understandibly creating immediate buzz when on display...

In fact every Steinway D I ever had the pleasure to try on the Rhur Festival each year in Germany, seemed to play circles around Horowitz's

IMHO.

But then of course, there was also no Franz Mohr in sight... wink

Guess same could be said about the pianos Glenn Gould used to play or record on here in Canada.

Now, I'm no Horowitz or Glenn Gould but at same time doubt that either one of these giants would have been very happy with the other one's instrument.

Or own favourite tuner....

Norbert wink


Edited by Norbert (10/29/10 06:41 PM)
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#1546518 - 10/29/10 08:21 PM Re: Horowitz's Steinway [Re: sophial]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: sophial
.....Fazioli might have been a bit sterile sounding to him.....

I would bet quite a few Horowitz CD's on that. smile
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1546963 - 10/30/10 01:37 PM Re: Horowitz's Steinway [Re: plumpfingers]
Gary at Encore Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/09
Posts: 250
Loc: Dallas, TX
You folks need to read "Romance on Three Legs'. This is a recent book about Glenn Gould and his quest for the perfect piano. His Steinway was very much changed in the action. He had two or three techs work on the piano extensively to make it lighter and faster to play the Bach and early piano music which he preferred. You will want to read what happened at the end when Steinway rebuilt the piano's action.

Let me remind you that there were others as far back as Padereski who toured with "their" Steinway piano. Joseph Hoffman had three Steinways specially build with smaller keyboards with narrower keys, which were about 15/16 size. Thus his smaller hands could reach wider cords.
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#1547105 - 10/30/10 06:01 PM Re: Horowitz's Steinway [Re: Gary at Encore]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
Makes me wonder how many people here have ever themselves found a piano that they loved so much that they would have 'toured' with it if they could.

I did. smile

It was a 9' Bosendorfer (not the Imperial Grand, just a 'normal' size concert grand) which was owned by one of the piano stores in Manhattan, usually stored in a basement at Lincoln Center and available to be rented for performances. I rented it whenever I could. It was just a perfect 'match' for me -- I felt like a combination of Rubinstein and Babe Ruth on it. ha

Eventually it was bought by someone in Ohio who I guess loved it as much as I did, and that was the end of that. smile
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1547391 - 10/31/10 03:49 AM Re: Horowitz's Steinway [Re: Norbert]
schwammerl Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/06
Posts: 2012
Loc: Belgium
Quote:
In fact every Steinway D I ever had the pleasure to try on the Rhur Festival each year in Germany, seemed to play circles around Horowitz's

IMHO.

But then of course, there was also no Franz Mohr in sight...



Of course not but I guess there was someone else in sight, Marek Korczak? wink

Marek Korczak

schwammerl.

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#1548227 - 11/01/10 08:52 AM Re: Horowitz's Steinway [Re: pianoloverus]
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1660
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: plumpfingers
It did not have a pianodisc or any type of player mechanism.


Really? I heard that for his concerts near the end of his life he used a player system for the fast pieces and just moved his fingers over the keys. You know that hankerchief he'd constantly blow his nose in...that was a signal to the people off stage to turn on the player.


Isn't that what Liberace did in that episode of Batman?
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The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
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#1548238 - 11/01/10 09:18 AM Re: Horowitz's Steinway [Re: plumpfingers]
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1660
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Actually, Horowitz used several pianos during his long career. The one most commonly associated with him, CD314503, is the one that has been touring Steinway showrooms since the early 1990s.

Early in 1934, as a wedding present, Steinway presented Vladimir and Wanda Horowitz with a Steinway Model D, Serial #CD279503 (the "C" denotes for pianos deemed worthy by Steinway for Concert use. The "D" indicates the size of piano, in this case, nine feet long). This piano is identifiable in photographs from the highly ornate Steinway logo on the fallboard.

In the early 1940s, this piano was replaced with CD314503. This is the piano Horowitz kept in his New York townhouse, and used in recitals and recordings from 1974-1981 and 1985-1987.

CD186 (Steinway often dropped the first three digits with "CD" pianos) was selected by Horowitz for his return recital in 1965. (He described the tone as "more mellow [than his other piano], more like the human voice.") CD186 was used for subsequent concerts and recording sessions until it suffered catastrophic failure in late 1972 and was retired from professional use.

CD223 was Horowitz's piano while he kept a summer home in New Milford, Connecticut. It replaced CD186 for Horowitz's last Columbia sessions in late 1972/early 1973.

CD75, built in 1911, was found by Franz Mohr, Horowitz's tuner, in Steinway's basement and restored by him. Horowitz used the piano from 1981-1983.

CD443, Horowitz's last piano, was selected by Horowitz for home use, to avoid the inconvenience of hauling CD314503 from Horowitz's second floor living room when he went on tour. At first Horowitz had reservations about the piano's action (which was rather heavy) but came to love the instrument so much that, when he briefly considered concertizing in 1989, he planned to take CD443 with him. This piano was used for recording sessions made at Horowitz's home in 1988 and 1989.
_________________________
Hank Drake

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell

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#1549137 - 11/02/10 08:35 AM Re: Horowitz's Steinway [Re: plumpfingers]
Numerian Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 1075
It seems to me Horowitz didn't play a Steinway. When your down weight is 10 grams lighter than Steinway specifications, and when other significant changes are made to the action (including Franz Mohr's special treatment of the hammers), you are certainly not playing any sort of Steinway the average person can buy. When you are rich enough to travel with your own instrument from concert to concert, you are not playing a Steinway the average concert artist uses traveling from hall to hall performing on the local D.

Paderewski and Hoffman also had their own traveling instruments that suited them alone and just happened to have a Steinway logo on the fallboard. Glenn Gould kept assaulting various Steinways to get the ideal sound and action for his Bach performances, and eventually gave up using the instrument altogether. Maurizio Pollini travels with a Steinway that has been souped up to the nth degree by Fabbrini and Sons, and Barenboim plays on Hamburg Steinways when he can, which people in America cannot easily buy or try out.

To avoid misrepresentation, Steinway should stamp a capital H on the iron frame of "Beauty" as she travels around the world. That way we'll know we are playing on a one-of-a-kind Steinway H that happened to be the instrument Horowitz used.

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#1555985 - 11/12/10 12:43 AM Re: Horowitz's Steinway [Re: plumpfingers]
milstein Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/10
Posts: 22
Loc: PNW
i had the distinct pleasure of playing CD314503 this afternoon at my local steinway dealer. last time it came around a few years ago (in the company of the van cliburn and gershwin instruments) it was in a sorry state and i was sadly disappointed. i was extremely relieved to find that it has been well taken care of and i enjoyed my all-too-brief time with it most thoroughly. it was just the kind of touch that i like - very light and responsive with an easily controllable full range of sound....
a true joy to play.
i have only experienced one other piano that made me feel the same way - a beautiful D at the yaddo artist colony in saratoga springs, ny (the piano that copland's 'piano variations' was premiered on).


Edited by milstein (11/12/10 12:47 AM)

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