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#1895760 - 05/12/12 01:34 PM Till Fellner - genius and witty guy
jnod Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/09
Posts: 794
Loc: Toronto
During Till Fellner’s recent concert at the Austrian Embassy he did not play on the Austrian Embassy’s Bösendorfer, favoring instead a Steinway borrowed locally and delivered especially for his recital. When asked after the recital if he had tried the Bösendorfer Fellner noted laconically, as he sipped a well-earned glass of beer, “Yes - burn it.”’
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#1896013 - 05/13/12 02:39 AM Re: Till Fellner - genius and witty guy [Re: jnod]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8620
Speaking of Till Fellner, I always thought it was neat that he recorded the Reubke piano sonata, which is pretty far off the beaten path. And it is a good recording, IMO.

The sonata is a pretty amazing piece for a young composer, though it sounds a bit as if he was channeling the Liszt sonata during its composition. He was studying with Liszt at the time, I think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNMWu2_T94g

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#1896121 - 05/13/12 10:43 AM Re: Till Fellner - genius and witty guy [Re: jnod]
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Originally Posted By: jnod
During Till Fellner’s recent concert at the Austrian Embassy he did not play on the Austrian Embassy’s Bösendorfer, favoring instead a Steinway borrowed locally and delivered especially for his recital. When asked after the recital if he had tried the Bösendorfer Fellner noted laconically, as he sipped a well-earned glass of beer, “Yes - burn it.”’


Fellner's a new pianist to me, but it's an interesting comment he made.

I just recently read "Men, Women and Pianos" by Arthur Loesser. The book is usually thought of as social history of the piano, but it's much more than that. Among a host of other issues, Loesser writes about the piano and economic history, industrial competition between nations, and the history of manufacturing and how the 19th century steam driven factory effected production of pianos. Loesser also writes at considerable length about the competition between manufacturers of top line pianos.

Loesser would have us believe that after Steinway trumped Chickering as the piano of choice for virtuoso keyboard artists, Steinway really had no competition other than Mason and Hamlin, and even that competition was limited to the years 1900-1925. Knabe, Baldwin and the rest of them all put up their dukes and made the challenge, but none of them, ever, was the choice of artists. Many artists were happy to accept a fee, play upon a Knabe or Baldwin, and allow themselves to be billed as a Baldwin or Knabe artist. Loesser's point is that other than Mason and Hamlin for a limited time period, Steinway was always the real choice of pianists.

Loesser also points out that manufacturers of high end pianos seem to need someone who bears the family name to maintain quality. As I recall, there is no longer anyone who bears the name Steinway in the Steinway factory. I wonder if this is necessarily a bad omen. And now we have Bosendorfer, Bechstein, and a host of others coming down the pike and issuing the challenge. And I wonder. Bosenderfer! Just the name is enough to put the fear of the lord in you--sounds like a sixteen cylinder German racing car at the INDY 500 coming round the corner to vanquish the Americans. But is there a "Herr Boesendorfer" involved at the Boesendorfer factory?

Till Felner isn't the only artist unimpressed. Someplace on Steven Hough's website, I recall him writing that Steinway is still the choice.

Thoughts

Tomasino


Edited by tomasino (05/13/12 01:41 PM)
_________________________
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10


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#1896143 - 05/13/12 11:38 AM Re: Till Fellner - genius and witty guy [Re: jnod]
jnod Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/09
Posts: 794
Loc: Toronto
Interesting points - I think there's something to be said for maintaining quality as a family legacy rather than a corporate one certainly. To build an outstanding piano one has to be obsessed with its perfection rather than the bottom line. I don't really know whether Steinway, now or then, lives up to this better than the other big name pianos though I am a fan of them for sure. I've played some 1920s era Heintzmans that were quite outstanding - similar to Steinway in that they were incredibly solid and a family business. As generations passed however, the family became less and less interested and the brand diminished to the point that they folded - late 1970s I think. The stencil has since been purchased by a Chinese firm. Not highly recommended.

Having said that, I don't have anything particularly negative to say about Bosendorfer. I've played one of the concert grands (with the extra keys at the bottom) and it was indeed exhilarating.....
_________________________
Justin
-------
Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
Schubert Moment Musicaux opus 94 D780

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