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#286289 - 05/28/08 01:05 AM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music
turandot Offline
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Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Tlluva,

I agree with you. This thread has been fun. I hope you (or I) don't kill the thread . Maybe Keith Kerman can spare us a little more of his time.

Regarding the Sauter 'plugs', RafaelSF said:

 Quote:
To display my ignorance, I never even heard of Sauter when I was finalizing my piano shopping last year. They must not be represented very well---or at all---in San Francisco.
I had never played a Sauter until late last year. I normally don't even play sticker-shock pianos in showrooms since it might lead me to want one, but I had read so many favorable comments about Sauter in this forum that when I saw one, I couldn't resist. The piano that has been impossible for me to find is a new Steingraeber. I'm going to try to remedy that this summer. I'm really curious after reading all the glowing reports here.
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#286290 - 05/28/08 01:09 AM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music
Furtwangler Offline
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Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1474
Loc: Danville, California
Both Sauter and Steingraeber are represented by R. Kassman in Berkeley. Call Russell for an appointment and go see them! They are both really something. He has Bluthner too!

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#286291 - 05/28/08 04:00 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music
Jan-Erik Offline
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Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
I think it can couse difficulties to switch pianos during a recital. However, if the action response is similar, then it might be O.K.

IMO all part of one work should be perfomed on the same instrument. But - I am not sure. Who is the first to try in public the use of two or three grands?

It could be very interesting to hear something else than a Steinway.

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#286292 - 05/28/08 07:22 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music
stevepiano Offline
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Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 42
Loc: New York City
Steinway, vintage era, restored correctly. Model A and larger. Over 30+ years of being around them and every other piano under the stars leads me to that conclusion.

Steve Drasche
AC Pianocraft, Inc.
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#286293 - 05/29/08 05:50 AM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music
pianistical Offline
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Registered: 03/13/04
Posts: 1377
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
 Quote:
Originally posted by Keith:
Part of the greater versatility I ascribe to the American style pianos is that it is easier to bring out clarity in an American style piano, when required, then to create an accumulative effect with many of the European style pianos.[/b]
Well put.

But oh that clarity!
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#286294 - 05/29/08 05:24 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music
PianoPro Offline
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Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 314
Loc: Iowa
 Quote:
Originally posted by Always Wanted to Play Piano:
A good digital?

(Ducks, runs for cover...) [/b]
I like Roland. Particularly impressed with the HP207.
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#286295 - 05/29/08 07:03 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music
Glenn Treibitz Offline
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Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 541
Loc: Los Angeles/Burbank
 Quote:
Originally posted by PianoPro:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Always Wanted to Play Piano:
A good digital?

(Ducks, runs for cover...) [/b]
I like Roland. Particularly impressed with the HP207. [/b]
From the stand point of versatility it is hard to beat a digital. HP207 is impressive.
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#286296 - 05/29/08 09:00 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music
LJC Offline
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Registered: 11/29/04
Posts: 1506
Loc: New York
Rachmaninoff was a post-romantic by era, but he was almost an anachronism if judged against his contemporaries. He didn't do a whole lot structurally that had not been done before, but no matter. He took romanticism to the limits and gave pianists some incredible material that still brings down the house today.

IMO S.R. used traditional formats but with non traditional progressions and chord structures. Many of his melodies are unmatched in beauty harmonized in a deep lush spiced sound.

To add one I think Fazioli would be equally great for Bach, etc but a little too straight laced for the Romantics IMO.

Uchida uses a Hamburg D. Her tech did my voicing and told me she has 3 of em.

As for anything sounding good on a great piano well I agree however some instruments do lend themselves more to certain styles. Maybe Pique could chime in here since she is the author referred to.

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#1744881 - 09/02/11 12:29 AM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: turandot]
Aliwally Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/07
Posts: 521
Loc: Washington, D.C.
Originally Posted By: turandot
Tlluva,

I agree with you. This thread has been fun. I hope you (or I) don't kill the thread eek . Maybe Keith Kerman can spare us a little more of his time.

Regarding the Sauter 'plugs', RafaelSF said:

Quote:
To display my ignorance, I never even heard of Sauter when I was finalizing my piano shopping last year. They must not be represented very well---or at all---in San Francisco.
I had never played a Sauter until late last year. I normally don't even play sticker-shock pianos in showrooms since it might lead me to want one, but I had read so many favorable comments about Sauter in this forum that when I saw one, I couldn't resist. The piano that has been impossible for me to find is a new Steingraeber. I'm going to try to remedy that this summer. I'm really curious after reading all the glowing reports here.



I know this thread is about 3 years old but I think it can continue. During this time Turandot (which is not the original OP, see page 1) stated that he could not find new Steingraeber. Recently Keith has put up videos of Shaun playing a Steingraeber. People agreed that Sauter was nice for all styles of music. Keith stated that the American Pianos are nice too.

Three years later has anything changed. Do most people feel the same? As far as American pianos go, would a Charles Walter qualify? I heard they sound great for romantic period music, but not great for jazz/pop music. More people have joined in the past three years. Feel free to give your opinion on the subject matter.

Hope it's alright with the moderators to open an old thread. It seems Keith never came back, maybe he would like to continue too. How would the Steingraber compare to the Sauter, Steinways, Mason & Hamlins? The one I heard recently here seems like it would sound great for all styles of music.
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#1744906 - 09/02/11 02:48 AM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: Aliwally]
R_Dorothy Offline
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Registered: 02/11/11
Posts: 113
Loc: Paradigm City
Quote:
How would the Steingraber compare to the Sauter, Steinways, Mason & Hamlins?


I too would also like to know. Zombie thread!
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#1744942 - 09/02/11 07:13 AM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: Edward J]
wouter79 Offline
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Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3247
My vote is on Grotrian. Works great for classic stuff yet also works great with Joplin, Debussy and pop; I'm sure it will work fine with Rachmaninoff (can't play that yet but if I strike a few chords of it..).

If you leave out classic, not much is left, right?
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#1745051 - 09/02/11 11:47 AM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: Edward J]
sophial Offline
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Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3405
Loc: US
I think most professional pianists would say Steinway, particularly NY Steinway, due to its potential for tonal color variety. There is probably no other piano that has a wider tonal palette, which translates to greater versatility in a wide range of repertoire. As folks said before, you can get clarity, but also a full lush range of sounds perfect for Romantic works. Also the Steinway sound has power and projection without breaking up or choking at full volume, essential for concerto work where the piano has to be heard over orchestra. This means it can be used for not only solo recitals but for concertos or ensemble playing.

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#1745072 - 09/02/11 12:29 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: Aliwally]
turandot Offline
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Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Quote:
During this time Turandot (which is not the original OP, see page 1) stated that he could not find new Steingraeber. Recently Keith has put up videos of Shaun playing a Steingraeber.


Turandot has played a few in the meantime. None of them were as balanced as the specimen that Keith has been showing off here in videos. Most had a degree of brilliance that he didn't care for personally.

Quote:
People agreed that Sauter was nice for all styles of music.


I think that people who chose Sauter were understanding the question to mean a piano that wasn't too cold or too warm in tone, that emphasized the fundamental tone but not to the near-exclusion of overtones, that decayed slowly but no too slowly, and that had an extremely responsive action which unlocked a very wide dynamic range. At least that was what prompted me to mention Sauter.

Quote:
Keith stated that the American Pianos are nice too.


Keith chose from the basis that the full-blown romatnic classical repertoire was the toughest to handle. He chose the pianos that he felt could 'handle' it best. In some of that lit, the piano is functioning as a one-man orchestra. Take the Liszt transcriptions of symphonic or operatic works as examples. In other cases the piano is competing with a full orchestra rather than complementing it (Rachmaninoff III as opposed to a Beethoven piano concerto). In still other cases the composer is trying to push the piano to its limits as a solo instrument (Liszt/ B minor Sonata; Mephisto Waltz)

I think Keith was coming at the versatility question from this angle, IOW considering very densely written classical piano music where the variety of color available helps keep the thing from turning to mud. So he had specific tests in mind for a piano to pass in order to be versatile. Maybe some don't appreciate that particular type of piano lit quite as much as Keith does, and didn't see passing that particular test as a necessary condition of versatility.


Quote:
Three years later has anything changed.


IMO a lot of European headline brands are continuing to lose their individuality of tone as they move towards sheer brilliance and power with their choice of hammers and voicing. Japanese brands continue to improve on existing models. Chinese brands are offering more diversity to tone. Brands made in the US have changed little in their sound. Not to be forgotten, digital simulation of acoustic piano sound continues to progress.

Quote:
Do most people feel the same?

I do, but it's very subjective. I still like Sauter of the Europeans and Yamaha C series of the Japanese as being the most versatile, not that those two are very similar. I don't think that jazz and pop are translated well by 'American sound' pianos like M&H and Estonia, but that's just my opinion of how I think that type of lit should sound.

The thing that made this old thread fun was that it wasn't just a roll call of 'my favorite piano is X'. Usually that's the way these things turn out.
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#1745108 - 09/02/11 01:34 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: Edward J]
bennevis Offline
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Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4400
Never mind the piano brand: you need to have different pianos for different composers grin. When I attended a concert by the late Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, he used two of his own pianos shipped over from Italy: one for Debussy, the other for Beethoven. Both were (?Hamburg) Steinways, but the one he played Debussy on was slightly mellower.

Classical music is the most demanding on tonal nuances, especially at the far ends of the dynamic spectrum: the variety of tone a pianist can obtain between ppp and pppp can single him/her out as a most singular pianist...which is why jazz and pop pianists tend to prefer pianos with cutting, bright tones (like Yamaha) while classical pianists prefer Steinway - unless/until they have the clout to request the piano of their choice. Thus Hewitt plays exclusively on Fazioli these days (Bach to Beethoven to Schumann), and Lortie and Demidenko play on Fazioli too, if they get the chance. And Andras Schiff plays Bösendorfer for Mozart and Beethoven, but Steinway for some other composers. And some classical pianists are now preferring the more rounded, mellower sound of Blüthner for all their concerts.

For me, I'd rate Yamaha as 2 for classical and 9 for jazz, Steinway as 8 for classical and 5 for jazz. Bösendorfer's tone is so unique that it's difficult to rate for the genre of music - you either like it or loath it, and if you like it (as I do), I'd use it for all piano music. Blüthner's mellow sound probably won't cut through densely-scored concerto textures like those of Brahms or Rachmaninoff, but it's great for solo piano recitals. Steingraeber is also somewhat on the mellow side while Sauter can sound almost like Steinway.

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#1745110 - 09/02/11 01:45 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: sophial]
Inlanding Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 1636
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: sophial
I think most professional pianists would say Steinway, particularly NY Steinway, due to its potential for tonal color variety. There is probably no other piano that has a wider tonal palette, which translates to greater versatility in a wide range of repertoire. As folks said before, you can get clarity, but also a full lush range of sounds perfect for Romantic works. Also the Steinway sound has power and projection without breaking up or choking at full volume, essential for concerto work where the piano has to be heard over orchestra. This means it can be used for not only solo recitals but for concertos or ensemble playing.


+1 - Well said!

However, there are so many good pianos out there and it does become a matter of personal preference, too. A well-prepped/voiced piano can perform quite nicely in most any setting if it fits the performer's preferences.
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#1745116 - 09/02/11 01:56 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: Keith D Kerman]
Keith D Kerman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/03
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Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
Originally Posted By: Keith D Kerman
If a piano works well in the big romantic repertoire, ie Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin etc it can handle any standard piano music from Bach to Bartok to Jazz to pop easily. It will not necessarily be " the best" for everything, as individual brands that have a more ideosyncratic tone and tone production can definately favor specific styles.
Now, a piano that sounds well in Bach, Schubert and Mozart will probably also work well for Pop and Jazz, but not necessarily in the bigger romantic pieces.
Debussy is also an interesting matter. I have heard pianos that sounded absolutely gorgeous in the more delicate works of Debussy that crashed, burned, choked and died in his more demanding music.
To me, and I find this interesting, several of the traditional European brands sound best in Jazz, but don't handle much of the meat and potatoes of the 19th century European Romantic repertoire nearly as well.
This opinion is not based on the out of context sound of any instrument, which I believe people adjust to fairly rapidly. It is based on my perception of what can be done with that sound.


I found this thread interesting, I wonder why......I was going to write something here, but I found this bright fellow's post from a few years back to sum it up nicely! smile
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#1745185 - 09/02/11 04:26 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: bennevis]
turandot Offline
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Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Never mind the piano brand: you need to have different pianos for different composers grin. When I attended a concert by the late Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, he used two of his own pianos shipped over from Italy: one for Debussy, the other for Beethoven. Both were (?Hamburg) Steinways, but the one he played Debussy on was slightly mellower.


Consider yourself doubly blessed.
1) He actually showed up and played. grin
2) He gave you two different piano sounds.

Originally Posted By: Benevis
Classical music is the most demanding on tonal nuances, especially at the far ends of the dynamic spectrum


I guess you're thinking like Keith. Personally, I don't understand why the piano that passes the bar exam for a particular classical composer or grouping of composers should be considered the most versatile piano. Classical European lit occupies a relatively small space in the universe of what is communicated worldwide musically, even though it can be all that really matters to those obsessed with it.

Oh!!!!!.....the sameness of it all. grin The ritual of the oft-repeated concert program that please the patrons. The classical recordings (what few there are) that generate sales. The artists all tricked out in their black and white penguin suits or strapless gowns. The prescription of the composer's intricate notation allowing nary a skosh of creative freedom.

Sophial can tell me that all the great artists perform the overblown stuff on an NY Steinway. Fine, then I want to hear the guy or lady who doesn't perform it on a Steinway. There's always the chance that I'll hear something that I've never heard before and not simply refresh my memory.

In jazz and pop, at least the music is written in such a way that each artist has a lot of leeway. No two artists perform the same standard with the same phrasing or even with the same exact notes. The particular piano isn't as relevant. Other elements suplied by the interpreter count for more.
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#1745226 - 09/02/11 05:42 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: turandot]
Keith D Kerman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/03
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Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
Turandot,

Come on.........
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#1745238 - 09/02/11 06:09 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: Edward J]
morrisonpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 22
As I continue my search for a dream piano, I am becoming very aware that the best piano, whether specific to composer or not, isn't really the issue--it's mostly about the skills, or lack of, of the doofus sitting on the bench. It does make me wonder whether my search is a little pointless. Not to say I'm not enjoying the process of finding the "best" piano, but my pursuit is making me clearly see the far greater importance of investing in what I can do at the piano versus what I spend on the piano.

Agemoz

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#1745266 - 09/02/11 07:06 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: morrisonpiano]
turandot Offline
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Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: morrisonpiano
As I continue my search for a dream piano, I am becoming very aware that the best piano, whether specific to composer or not, isn't really the issue--it's mostly about the skills, or lack of, of the doofus sitting on the bench. It does make me wonder whether my search is a little pointless. Not to say I'm not enjoying the process of finding the "best" piano, but my pursuit is making me clearly see the far greater importance of investing in what I can do at the piano versus what I spend on the piano.

Agemoz


No one who realizes that can be a doofus, but even if you are correct in putting the burden on yourself, you still want to choose your instrument wisely. You most likely don't need a racehorse that leads the pack from the quarter mile pole to the finish line, but you don't want a nondescript tone that bores you to death or an action response that lets you down as you progress. Just be patient. Develop your piano knowledge and your ear as you go along. You'll discover what your taste really is and you'll find something that suits it whatever your budget is..
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#1745310 - 09/02/11 08:20 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: Edward J]
Kurtmen Offline
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Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 632
Loc: San Mateo, CA
Edward, Morrison,

In my opinion you should probably disregard the music genre and figure out what do you like the most in a piano. For example:
Percussive well defined attack moderate sustain.
Soft attack rich harmonic envelope with long sustain.
Percussive attack with a narrow harmonic envelope and plenty of sustain etc.

Once you identify what do you like in a piano; any music genre play in that piano will sound good to you.
Why? Because it has that element you preferred in a piano.

Piano manufacturers are always compromising in order to achieve a goal therefore; they prioritize what element of the tone is more important. This is why you have to figure out what are your preferences within the components of the tone.


Edited by Kurtmen (09/02/11 08:24 PM)
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#1745352 - 09/02/11 10:25 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: Edward J]
hoola Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/08
Posts: 157
Loc: LA, USA
The best way to answer this question is "blind test" as usually done in Wine Contest.

I can regconize different sounds from different brands but I believe that we are strongly influenced by the name and other pre-conceptions.

I watched some demo of old pianos (around 1850s) such as Bechstein, Pleyel ... on Youtube, and found that their voices are miserable, I don't expect better because I know that a lot of factors make them sound not at their best, not the same sound as they produced in their first 10 years.

The problem is a lot of comments saying that they sound fantastic, and pianos such as Yamaha sound crap next to them, these listeners seem impressed by the prestigious names and give more than true compliments or critics.

But we would be the same too. We can be easily influenced by names, pre-conditions etc... therefore why not suggesting to dealers to participate in blind test, the ideal place would be show such as NAMM.

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#1745366 - 09/02/11 10:54 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: Edward J]
Pianolance Offline
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Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 1178
Loc: Nashville, TN
I don't think it's very likely that a piano would be a 10 on one type of music and a 2 on another. A good instrument is a good instrument. That's not to say that it might be better at somethings and not as special at others, but it would most likely be a 10 in one catagory and an 8 in another. I know that my piano sounds best playing American popular literature from the 20's, 30's and 40's which I find interesting since it was made in 1927. I play a lot of contemporary worship music and it doesn't excel at that type of music, but it's not a real stinker either. My piano isn't going to score a 10 in any catagory, it's too small, but if it's an 8 in older american literature it's still a 7 in contemporary worship music.
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#1745373 - 09/02/11 11:10 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: sophial]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1530
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: sophial
I think most professional pianists would say Steinway, particularly NY Steinway, due to its potential for tonal color variety. There is probably no other piano that has a wider tonal palette, which translates to greater versatility in a wide range of repertoire. As folks said before, you can get clarity, but also a full lush range of sounds perfect for Romantic works. Also the Steinway sound has power and projection without breaking up or choking at full volume, essential for concerto work where the piano has to be heard over orchestra. This means it can be used for not only solo recitals but for concertos or ensemble playing.


From my experiences most guys prefer the Hamburg over the NY (when they have the chance to play on of course). The Hamburgs I've played ALL had the wide tonal palette and rich sound typical of Steinway and an even and solid action. (note: I've only played approx. 5 or so Hamburgs over the years). The best NY steinways I've played share the same level of expressiveness and control as the Hamburgs but the problem is that they have been all over the map in terms of consistency--including ones I've played on showroom floors). I've loved every Hamburg I've ever played. I've loved maybe 40% of the NY's, liked another 40 and hated the remaining 20% for being unevenly voiced and regulated with a piercing high register and a dead middle register.
Just my 2 cents.
I think ANY piano can potentially be the best piano for any style depending on which doofus is sitting behind the keyboard:)

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#1745415 - 09/03/11 12:46 AM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: AJF]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3405
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: AJF
Originally Posted By: sophial
I think most professional pianists would say Steinway, particularly NY Steinway, due to its potential for tonal color variety. There is probably no other piano that has a wider tonal palette, which translates to greater versatility in a wide range of repertoire. As folks said before, you can get clarity, but also a full lush range of sounds perfect for Romantic works. Also the Steinway sound has power and projection without breaking up or choking at full volume, essential for concerto work where the piano has to be heard over orchestra. This means it can be used for not only solo recitals but for concertos or ensemble playing.


From my experiences most guys prefer the Hamburg over the NY (when they have the chance to play on of course). The Hamburgs I've played ALL had the wide tonal palette and rich sound typical of Steinway and an even and solid action. (note: I've only played approx. 5 or so Hamburgs over the years). The best NY steinways I've played share the same level of expressiveness and control as the Hamburgs but the problem is that they have been all over the map in terms of consistency--including ones I've played on showroom floors). I've loved every Hamburg I've ever played. I've loved maybe 40% of the NY's, liked another 40 and hated the remaining 20% for being unevenly voiced and regulated with a piercing high register and a dead middle register.
Just my 2 cents.
I think ANY piano can potentially be the best piano for any style depending on which doofus is sitting behind the keyboard:)


AJF: The question was what is the most versatile piano for all styles.. The point I was making is that arguably the NY is more versatile due to its great color range . Stephen Hough discussed this in his blog posts from 9/09 (in comments following an article about Josef Hoffman). He stated his preference for the Steinway overall and the best of NY over the Hamburg due to its wider color range and the ability to get power without stridency. I'd quote excerpts from it but I was concerned about copyright issues. He supposed no one piano is ideal for everything but it was his top choice and even stated this was not influenced by management pressure (lest the objection that he is toeing the party line be raised.). He also commented that the NY pianos needed more prep work to get the best out of them. He noted that Rachmaninoff, Horowitz and Cliburn preferred the NY as well.

His blog is interesting and well-written on a variety of topics.



Edited by sophial (09/03/11 12:47 AM)

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#1745427 - 09/03/11 01:31 AM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: Keith D Kerman]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: Keith D Kerman
Turandot,

Come on.........


Where are we going? grin

I was only half serious about the sameness of it all and the penguin suits, but with all due respect to you, I have a problem with the idea that the piano which handles the challenge of late romantic classical lit is by default the most versatile piano.

The same bright fellow who posted today and three years ago that the piano that can handle Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and Scriabin will have no problem with anything else...this bright fellow also posted recently about one piano confronted with a demanding Liszt selection: "It gives and gives some more, and most other pianos would cap out there the way Shaun is pushing it."

I think the bright fellow meant 'crap out' instead of "cap out" but in either case this bright fellow's meaning is quite clear. Pianos that pass the sternest technical challenge go straight to the head of the class. I don't see it that way at all.

When I wrote that if you tell me that all save one of the great artists perform the Racmaninoff III on a Steinway, the lone dissenter is the one that I want to check out. I believe that a piano is a lamp that illuminates a manuscript, and even if a piano craps out at certain points, the lone dissenter's piano may provide illumination otherwise impossible if everyone else is committed to the same piano. If that artist has his act together and knows the strengths and limitations of his instrument, it may not even appear to crap out depending on how he works the material.

I don't know if you recall the Pletnev recordings of Beethoven Concertos on a Blüthner. When I heard them I felt the piano didn't quite measure up technically in some places in meeting the not so severe challenges of the writing. I also felt the tone was pretty flat. However, the clarity of that Blüthner illuminated Beethoven's manuscript in a way that I appreciated. Of course most of the credit goes to Pletnev, who learned to make the most of some truly crappy pianos in his younger days, but I appreciated what the Blüthner had brought to the party, and I appreciated the fact that Pletnev, who I much admire, had brought the Blüthnerr with him. He added to my understanding and appreciation of the music, music I had easily heard dozens of times before, at times while reading the manuscript. Pletnev and his Blüthner did not contribute to "the sameness of it all".

Assuming that I buy your premise that a piano is best suited for diverse types of music because it meets the severest technical challenges to be found in classical literature, would we conclude that the pianist best suited for playing diverse types of music is the one with the biggest killer technique? Would we say that the most versatile car is the one that can go the furthest on the rock-strewn Baja desert without crapping out or breaking down? Would we conclude that the best all-around athlete is the guy who completed the triathlon? Is the most versatile boxer the guy who is wearing the belt in the Heavyweight class?

This is the problem for me in buying your premise. I'd rather celebrate the diversity in pianos than make the one that excels under stress the champion. If diversity is the question, I'd much rather go with the jack of all trades but master of none than conclude that the one that can 'handle' a certain situation that others can't is easily capable of 'handling' any other situation.

_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1745433 - 09/03/11 01:47 AM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: sophial]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1530
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: sophial
Originally Posted By: AJF
Originally Posted By: sophial
I think most professional pianists would say Steinway, particularly NY Steinway, due to its potential for tonal color variety. There is probably no other piano that has a wider tonal palette, which translates to greater versatility in a wide range of repertoire. As folks said before, you can get clarity, but also a full lush range of sounds perfect for Romantic works. Also the Steinway sound has power and projection without breaking up or choking at full volume, essential for concerto work where the piano has to be heard over orchestra. This means it can be used for not only solo recitals but for concertos or ensemble playing.


From my experiences most guys prefer the Hamburg over the NY (when they have the chance to play on of course). The Hamburgs I've played ALL had the wide tonal palette and rich sound typical of Steinway and an even and solid action. (note: I've only played approx. 5 or so Hamburgs over the years). The best NY steinways I've played share the same level of expressiveness and control as the Hamburgs but the problem is that they have been all over the map in terms of consistency--including ones I've played on showroom floors). I've loved every Hamburg I've ever played. I've loved maybe 40% of the NY's, liked another 40 and hated the remaining 20% for being unevenly voiced and regulated with a piercing high register and a dead middle register.
Just my 2 cents.
I think ANY piano can potentially be the best piano for any style depending on which doofus is sitting behind the keyboard:)


AJF: The question was what is the most versatile piano for all styles.. The point I was making is that arguably the NY is more versatile due to its great color range . Stephen Hough discussed this in his blog posts from 9/09 (in comments following an article about Josef Hoffman). He stated his preference for the Steinway overall and the best of NY over the Hamburg due to its wider color range and the ability to get power without stridency. I'd quote excerpts from it but I was concerned about copyright issues. He supposed no one piano is ideal for everything but it was his top choice and even stated this was not influenced by management pressure (lest the objection that he is toeing the party line be raised.). He also commented that the NY pianos needed more prep work to get the best out of them. He noted that Rachmaninoff, Horowitz and Cliburn preferred the NY as well.

His blog is interesting and well-written on a variety of topics.


Don't you OWN a NY steinway?

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#1745572 - 09/03/11 11:14 AM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: AJF]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3405
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: AJF
Originally Posted By: sophial
Originally Posted By: AJF
Originally Posted By: sophial
I think most professional pianists would say Steinway, particularly NY Steinway, due to its potential for tonal color variety. There is probably no other piano that has a wider tonal palette, which translates to greater versatility in a wide range of repertoire. As folks said before, you can get clarity, but also a full lush range of sounds perfect for Romantic works. Also the Steinway sound has power and projection without breaking up or choking at full volume, essential for concerto work where the piano has to be heard over orchestra. This means it can be used for not only solo recitals but for concertos or ensemble playing.


From my experiences most guys prefer the Hamburg over the NY (when they have the chance to play on of course). The Hamburgs I've played ALL had the wide tonal palette and rich sound typical of Steinway and an even and solid action. (note: I've only played approx. 5 or so Hamburgs over the years). The best NY steinways I've played share the same level of expressiveness and control as the Hamburgs but the problem is that they have been all over the map in terms of consistency--including ones I've played on showroom floors). I've loved every Hamburg I've ever played. I've loved maybe 40% of the NY's, liked another 40 and hated the remaining 20% for being unevenly voiced and regulated with a piercing high register and a dead middle register.
Just my 2 cents.
I think ANY piano can potentially be the best piano for any style depending on which doofus is sitting behind the keyboard:)


AJF: The question was what is the most versatile piano for all styles.. The point I was making is that arguably the NY is more versatile due to its great color range . Stephen Hough discussed this in his blog posts from 9/09 (in comments following an article about Josef Hoffman). He stated his preference for the Steinway overall and the best of NY over the Hamburg due to its wider color range and the ability to get power without stridency. I'd quote excerpts from it but I was concerned about copyright issues. He supposed no one piano is ideal for everything but it was his top choice and even stated this was not influenced by management pressure (lest the objection that he is toeing the party line be raised.). He also commented that the NY pianos needed more prep work to get the best out of them. He noted that Rachmaninoff, Horowitz and Cliburn preferred the NY as well.

His blog is interesting and well-written on a variety of topics.


Don't you OWN a NY steinway?


yes I own one. Hope that does not disqualify me from participating in the discussion. I thought Hough's comments were interesting and bear on the question of versatility and tonal color.

My enjoyment of Steinway doesn't mean that I don't also find many other pianos beautiful and enjoy the different voices they have and how they may fit certain repertoire or settings very well.

Perhaps to get off the brand question and sensitivities, I think it can be argued that having a broad tonal range, a balance of clarity and harmonic overtones and the ability to work well in a variety of venues and purposes as well as for different styles of music would make a piano versatile.


Edited by sophial (09/03/11 11:22 AM)

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#1745595 - 09/03/11 12:04 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: sophial]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Quote:
yes I own one. Hope that does not disqualify me from participating in the discussion.


Hardly.

Sophial, I think the reason you find yourself in a life and death struggle with Adrean (in which the quotee boxes are beginning to resemble the vanishing point in visual art grin ) is your statement that most professionals would say Steinway, particularly NY Steinway is best suited for a wide variety of genres.

You know very well that those artists housed comfortably in the Steinway stale would find it very awkward to say publicly that anything other than Steinway is better at anything else on the planet. Nor, with rare exceptions, would these professionals insist on playing anything else unless Steinway's concert artist program could not supply them a piano for a performance. It's not nice (or pragmatic) to bite the hand that feed you.

You also know that if a Steinway artist appears in North America, the piano supplied will almost always be a NY Steinway whereas if the same artist appears in Europe (s)he will almost invariably be supplied a Hamburg Steinway.

Most professional pianists play only one genre professionally. They are extremely unlikely to comment on what piano professionals in other genres should choose, especially since genres other than classical allow for a far greater degree of freedom in how the music is played and interpreted. It would be quite silly for Ketih Jarrett to comment that Chick Corea would be better served by a Steinway even though at times his idiom overlaps Chick's particular genre. Similarly, it would be quite silly for Adrean to tell you that you'd be better off with a Shigeru or for you to tell him he'd be better off with a Steinway.

I'd suggest that you stay with the color, power, and projection points and drop the line that Steinway artists prefer NY Steinways. That's not going to carry any weight with people who understand the dynamics of the situation. When it comes to top professionals, what they might think is one thing. What they "would say" for public consumption is quite another.

_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1745613 - 09/03/11 12:28 PM Re: Best overall piano for all styles of music [Re: sophial]
Tweedpipe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/08
Posts: 414
I appreciate that this is an old thread and that giving one's opinion on 'the best' of anything will always be subjective.
However I'm aware that apart from a few YouTube clips of Sauter grands, there appear to be even fewer sound clips of Sauter uprights. Also from what I read, finding one to audition in the U.S. and elsewhere outside of Europe would appear to be difficult.
The popular factory-voiced options proposed to me were Classical or Modern. I opted for the Classical, which I find most agreeable for many styles of music.
Below are a few sound clips of varying styles which I hope may assist some to identify with these relatively unknown pianos.

Easy style

Classical Etude

Stomp Style






















Edited by Tweedpipe (09/03/11 12:31 PM)
_________________________
Dear Noah,
We could have sworn you said the ark wasn't leaving till 5.
Yours sincerely,
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