Impromptu Philly Gathering...

Posted by: Rich Galassini

Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/25/07 11:56 AM

With a little planning that I had absolutely nothing to do with, I was pleased to host a PianoWorld NY contingency on this past Friday from the Staten Island - Long Island area. The group included CC2 and Chopin lover, his lovely lady friend, Realplayer, and LJC. Rank Piano Amateur joined us (from the local area) for a little visit as well as another local musician who has recently joined PW, Nick.

They came down to play the Mason & Hamlin CC, which I understand is the closest one to them currently, but we wound up playing a nice variety of instruments and a good time was enjoyed by all.

I hope they will post their follow up impressions here, but here are a few pictures:



Here are the CC2s, LJC, and Realplayer standing in front of a Mason & Hamlin AA - Ampico B reproducing piano that is in process in our factory.



We are standing in front of the CC in our showroom - along with Nick (who has recently discovered PianoWorld, but I can't remember his screen name (Sorry Nick) On a personal note, I HAVE TO LOSE SOME WEIGHT! Boy am I getting fat.



CC2 enjoys a Steinway B from the 1880's that is in our recital area currently. Realplayer is looking over his shoulder and LJC is wandering about in the background.



Realplayer (My God this guy is musical!) only played a little bit. BUT when he played, it took my breath away. He is sampling a Grotrian Steinweg in this picture.



LJC gets a little playing time in. he plays beautifully and his jazz voicings remind me a little of Bill Evans.



Just about everyone took a little time to sample the new Cunningham pianos. I hope they will follow up with their own impressions.

Unfortunately, we were busy enough that I had to leave the group at times (I sent them to the new Indian restaurant down the street for lunch while I finished up with an appointment) but I hope they enjoyed the visit as much as I enjoyed hosting them.

I am now looking forward to seeing CC's CC after some regulation work is done.

Everyone played very well and it is obvious that these folks know alot about pianos in general, but I have to make one further comment. CC2 is able to speak very intelligently about piano rebuilding, particularly action work and belly work and the whys and hows involved in it. I was quite impressed. It turns out that he has been a "part time" piano technician for some years and is a student of the field.

Thanks guys for taking the time to visit. It was good to meet the CC2s and LJC. Realplayer, it has been too long since we spent any time together and it was great to see you again.
Posted by: VGrantano

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/25/07 12:36 PM

Rich, I was away for a few days over Thanksgiving.
Did not see your invitation to me to join you all until Friday night. I would have loved to join you. Sorry.
P.S. I love Indian food.
Posted by: turandot

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/25/07 12:51 PM

What? No invite for Hoaglie?
Posted by: Steve Cohen

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/25/07 01:30 PM

It's "hoagie".

Take it from me...born and raised in Philly!
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/25/07 02:19 PM

Hey Rich,

The owners of that restaurant actually are Eritrean. They told my wife and I when we were there last that if we came in and asked, they would prepare an Eritrean spread for us. Looks like we'll have an Eritrean dinner in December when we pay a visit.

David


P.S. Steve, maybe it's a Hoaglie in the Jungle Book. \:D
Posted by: turandot

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/25/07 02:22 PM

No slight to Hoagy Carmichael here. For all I know he might have been onto the charms of a Cunningham piano as early as Gershwin apparently was; but the reference here is to PW's own existentialist piano critic Hoaglie. It seems like, unlike Vince Grantano, he didn't receive an invite to this 'impromptu' affair. \:D
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/25/07 02:48 PM

Darn, we NewEnglander's missed out on this!

Thanks for sharing the pics and event, Rich!

Maybe one day we will have a big PWF get together there in Philly.

Until then, we love hearing/seeing things by the internet!

LJC, you might like to know that at the QuirtEvan's Mass get together we thought of you as I played your Rach's MM 3 that you inspired me to learn from JonNYC's party in June!

So where are the pics and reviews of the MH CC?

LL, who loved the 3 MH CCs that she has played.
Posted by: LJC

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/25/07 04:14 PM

Rich, I'm glad you started the thread because frankly I didnt know where to start. We actually started when Dan, Pam (CC2) and I picked up Joe (Realplayer)in S.I. Dan wanted to see Joe's CC2 because he also owns a CC2. We then proceeded to Cunningham's and after lunch met up with Rich who took us on a factory tour while a very accomplished customer was making a selection. We had a great time in the shop talking over the various projects and the rebuild techniques. After that we sampled the wares. They have quite a few Estonias for you Estonia fans out there, even a Bubinga one. These Estonias do compare quite favorably to more expensive instruments. They may be one of the best deals out there right now. I'm liking these new Mason's. I found a BB I liked alot and the CC had a great sound to it. The action was set up too light for me but then I'm used to a pretty heavy action. I'm aware of this trend towards very light actions in concert grands. The CC was lighter than Horowitz's piano. It has a very good tone and was voiced a bit bright for a concert it was used in. The workmanship is excellent. I have the feeling if anyone is interested a good deal could be made on it. We were all impressed with the rebuild job on the Centennial Steinway. It is a pre Model D desigh with lots of power and a sweet tone. The case was just beautiful in ebony with some beautiful natural wood accents. Sorry folks someone already signed on the dotted line. Likewise the antique model B shown in the photo was done just beautifully. The Cunningham pianos are quite a bargain and should not be missed. There are both uprights and grands on hand. And Rich after I left I realized I forgot to play the Vintage Hammond C3 w/ the Leslies. Thanks for being such a great host and spending so much time with us.

LL-I want to hear you play it! Sorry I didnt bring a camera.
Posted by: ftp

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/25/07 05:29 PM

Rich

Thanks for the last minute invite but unfortunately couldn't make it. Would have been a pleasure to finally make it to your store and also meet some fine PW pianists. Look forward to a factory tour and getting together before the next holiday.
Posted by: CC2 and Chopin lover

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/25/07 09:11 PM

Hi Rich,
I want everyone here to know what a terrific host you were. Your enthusiasm and hospitality made it a truly fun and interesting day. The tour of your factory and showroom was impressive, not to mention one spectacular instrument after another. The Masons and Estonias were, of course, my favorites, but the other new and restored pianos made us all like kids in a candy shop. The CC94 is a monster!!! Power galore, and sweetness when you want it. The Cunningham pianos are very impressive as well. The prorietary scale includes many high end components that make these instruments a tremendous bang for the buck. Top all this off with some of the best Indian food I've ever had, and I'd say that Rich and the good folks at Cunningham Pianos made our little Philly adventure well worth the trip. Thanks, again, Rich, for a truly enjoyable day.
Dan
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/25/07 09:14 PM

Thanks for the kind words Dan. I had fun too. Now... how about your pictures??
Posted by: Ori

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/25/07 09:57 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Rich Galassini:


They came down to play the Mason & Hamlin CC, which I understand is the closest one to them currently...
[/b]
Actually, at Faust Harrison’s Westchester location, which is of course much, much closer to Long Island and Staten Island than Philly, there is a very impressive new Mason & Hamlin CC4 at this time.

Perhaps it may be interesting for CC2, LJC, and realplayer (all concert grand owners as I belive) to visit this piano as well for sake of comparison, and see if there is a major difference or personal preference between the two CC's.

In any case, it sounds like you guys had a good time.

I hope that as the construction of our new showroom is completed next year, we'll have the additional space to present the "ultimate" concert grand selection, placing side by side 9 footers made by Bluthner, Steingraeber, Bosendorfer, Estonia, Mason & Hamlin and Steinway.

This should be a fun experience as well…
Posted by: Grandpianoman

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/25/07 10:11 PM

Wish I could have been there! Sounds like you all had a great time.

Rich, that M&H AA Ampico B...wow....are you putting the Ampico back in there as well?
Posted by: VGrantano

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/25/07 10:31 PM

Ori, do you have to turn every thing into an anouncement about you? We're just talking about Rich and friends.When you get your new showroom start your own thread. And we are thrilled that Faust Harrison has a M&H CC4,thanks for telling us.
Posted by: LJC

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/25/07 11:20 PM

Ori, that sounds like an invitation.... I accept. As for the other CC, maybe I could get there before too long.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/25/07 11:22 PM

I'm envious and nostalgic at the same time.... ;\)

Realplayer is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet, and soooo unassuming for someone of his incredible talent! It's always a thrill to hear and see him play.
Posted by: apple*

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/26/07 12:00 AM

cool..

i've met about 30% of that group and bought a piano from about 17% of that group.

i am soooo mathematical.
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/26/07 12:12 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by apple*:
cool..

i've met about 30% of that group and bought a piano from about 17% of that group.

i am soooo mathematical. [/b]
Well, I've met only 16.66% of that group, but I have bought TWO pianos from 16.66% of that group. Does that give me any bragging rights in this thread?

I wish I could have been there, though.

Cheers!
Posted by: Ori

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/26/07 12:20 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by VGrantano:
Ori, do you have to turn every thing into an anouncement about you? We're just talking about Rich and friends.When you get your new showroom start your own thread. And we are thrilled that Faust Harrison has a M&H CC4,thanks for telling us. [/b]
Vince,
Starting threads about people who visited our showroom is something that I consider to be self promoting.
I never started threads of such nature, and have no intentions of doing so also in the future, so don't sweat it.

If you think mentioning that a selection of concert grands, made by much of the most regarded manufacturers, could be available soon for comparison side by side... is not interesting to people who drove three hours each way to check out a Mason CC (all of whom are concert grand owners and 33.3% of the traveling group had actually purchased a piano from me \:D ), then simply ignore it.

There is no reason to force yourself out of your “retirement” and grind your teeth about it.

I thought that Rich, who believed that Philly has the only CC-4 in the area would appreciate the correction and the knowledge that Faust Harrison has one too.
So no need to thank me, Vince, for letting him know that.
Rich could do so himself if he chose to.
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/26/07 08:49 AM

Ori,

Of course it is good to know that there is a CC in the New York area. The visiting group had no idea there was one and it seemed they would be the type to know.

I look forward to an invitation to your showroom's grand opening.

gpm asked:
 Quote:
Rich, that M&H AA Ampico B...wow....are you putting the Ampico back in there as well?
[/b]

Yes we are. This is something we have become known for. We currently have a Welte Mignon Steinway M from 1919 in our showroom which I enjoy as well. (Yes, the Welte Mignon company DID install systems into S&S pianos.)
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/26/07 09:59 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Rich Galassini:

gpm asked:
 Quote:
Rich, that M&H AA Ampico B...wow....are you putting the Ampico back in there as well?
[/b]

Yes we are. This is something we have become known for. We currently have a Welte Mignon Steinway M from 1919 in our showroom which I enjoy as well. (Yes, the Welte Mignon company DID install systems into S&S pianos.) [/b]


(Note to self: It is improper to hero-worship another tenor.)

;\)
Posted by: Grandpianoman

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/26/07 10:57 AM

Rich, that is great....there are not too many people out there restoring these great machines anymore...I can appreciate it as I have a restored late Ampico A with a B drawer in my 1925 M&H RBB....glad to see you are doing that kind of restoration as well!
Posted by: RealPlayer

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/26/07 12:38 PM

Rich, thanks for starting this thread. I've been pretty busy here so have not checked in till now.

Thank you so much for your gracious hospitality at Cunningham Piano. Yes, it's been too long! For those who have not been to Rich's store, I can say they have just about the biggest inventory I have ever seen in one place; it was really impressive. And then there is their whole rebuilding operation...

We all had a great time. I had not met CC2/Chopin Lover before; as Rich notes, he has intimate knowledge of the nuts and bolts of pianos. During the drive, it was great to talk about these technical issues with someone so well-versed.

The CC94 was just wonderful and should be a stellar purchase for some lucky soul. As LJC mentioned, its action has quite a light feel, but I have no doubt you could take this piano anywhere you wanted, performance-wise.

Still, I was most intrigued by the BB next to it. There was just something about it, a tonal sweetness perhaps. If I didn't already have a piano, I would have been in a cold sweat!

The Centennial Steinway was really lovely and sweet-sounding. A great pleasure. And there were so many others...the very impressive Estonias especially (of which I've played only a few before); the rosewood Steinway... The new Cunninghams are solid, musical and a success story; nice going!

Rich gave us a tour of the rebuilding shop; there are some treasures in there awaiting their resurrection! The Baldwins were mostly ready and very nice indeed. The Knabe concert grand already has me salivating; I suspect I'll be visiting again when it is all rebuilt!

Ori, I had not been aware there were any CC94s in the New York area. When I visited Faust-Harrison a few weeks ago, I was told they didn't have one, and they didn't mention the one up in Westchester. Thank you for letting us know about this; it would be great to visit your shop as well, especially once you have all your concert grands in a row!

Thanks to Rich once again, and it was wonderful having a visit with LJC, CC2 and lovely Pam.
Posted by: CC2 and Chopin lover

Re: Impromptu Philly Gathering... - 11/26/07 09:29 PM

Hi Rich,
Finally got my pictures uploaded to the web. Trouble is, when you are taking the pictures, you can't be IN them \:D Anyway, I think you can all see by everyone's faces what a good time we had with each other and the beautiful instruments.

The gang at a beautiful restored Bechstein

Realplayer plays the amazing CC94

LJC gives an Estonia 190 a taste of Rachmaninoff

Pam stands next to an M&H in Ebony

Pam enjoying a beautiful Steinway B in the performance center

All done....now I want to play that Estonia over there!!