This morning, Andrew and I met with Janine at her home. Her 511 Seiler is a very beautiful instrument with a lovely sound. After playing a few tunes, the three of us moved on to Onofrios (a local piano dealer) where we were joined by Ryan. We spent the remainder of the morning and into the early afternoon playing various pianos and visiting about our mutual obsession. Over the course of the day, we played Seiler (511), Estonia (63), Mason & Hamlin A & BB (58 & 7), Schulze Pollmann (63), and Petrof II (79), and heard Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Schubert and others. Ryan also gave a mini recital on their 9 Baldwin and his playing was marvelous (as was his playing on the other pianos). Andrew is also a terrific player, and his Schubert Impromptu was especially nice. Janine also played very well and (as I expected) was much better than she claimed to be before our meeting. Her Moonlight Sonata was especially nice to me, as Im currently trying to learn that one myself. As usual, I was a distant last in ability. But, what the heck, I keep getting better and I simply love playing the few songs I know.
My overall ranking of the pianos would be M&H 1st, SP 2nd, Petrof 3rd and Estonia 4th. I liked Janines Seiler a lot, but the difference in acoustics between her home and the piano store make it hard for me to compare it to the others in terms of sound. But, I believe I would rank it very close to the SP. Please dont misconstrue my rankings as I felt that all of these pianos were very nice. All except the 7 M&H were tuned and regulated nicely. This piano was a new arrival, and had not even been tuned since being uncrated. Even so, it was in very good shape in terms of regulation and only had a few keys that needed to be touched up tuning wise in the middle register. The 58 M&H was marvelous however, and even though this is shorter than what I would purchase, its nice tone and touch made it clear to me that the 7 M&H would be well above the rest of what we played that day. The differences between the Seiler, SP and Petrof were very slight, and a 2nd playing of the same pianos could easily shuffle their ranking around. The Petrof II kind of caught my fancy, even though I ranked several others above it. Cork, I can see why you like yours so much. My ranking is based simply on what appealed to me today from a sound standpoint, and what my fingers told me they liked while I was playing.
Thanks Janine for hosting and organizing this. I must say this was a fantastic way to waste away a Saturday morning. I highly recommend it to anyone!