Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired!

Posted by: Rich Galassini

Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 01:54 PM

I was there the last week of a month's stay by Kurt Weissman, our head rebuilder.

What a spectacular place to visit. I thought I knew music history, but.... to walk where Mozart walked, to see what Brahms saw, to drink coffee at a cafe where Liszt hung out... this was awesome!!



Das Bosendorfer cafe is on Bosendorferstrasse. This is a cute little sandwich shop where you can get coffee or a beer or a glass of wine. It is not affiliated with the piano in any way, except that it is on the street named for the instrument. I wanted to eat here, but simply did not have time.



Just in case you thought I was teasing you, there IS a Bosendorferstrasse.



The Musikverein is Austria's version of Carnegie Hall. Musicians and ensembles from the world over perform here today, as did Johann Strauss and Liszt.



At the Salon Bosendorfer (located inside of the Musikverein) pianists meet and congregate. There are occasionally "meet the artist" type receptions here and there is a kitchen, wonderful coffee, and even better pianos on display there all the time.



At the Salon, I met my friend Simon Oss, who has recently been promoted to manager of most of Europe. (I am truly not clear on exactly which countries he is involved with, so Simon, if you see this, please fill us in). He is a fine gentleman and had fantastic coffee waiting for us when we arrived.



The church on Karlplatz, one of the historic plazas complete with fountains and almost nightly outdoor concerts. Sorry, I cannot remember its name, but it sher is perty!



Kurt Weissman, our head rebuilder, just spent a month at Bosendorfer. He was learning, but also teaching (which is waayy cool). Here we are examining some wood that is aging naturally. Bosendorfer never uses a kiln as it can "bruise" the natural characteristics of wood.



Here Kurt and I are standing with Bosendorfer's new president, Mr. Sakei. The woman with us is my sister Beth, who came with me as my wife could not.
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 01:56 PM

Here are a few more images. First, back to the factory. Some have said in the past that the Bosendorfer factory spends more time on their plates than most manufacturers do on their entire piano. There is truth in that statement.

Here is a plate that has been sanded and prepped and has coats of sealant on it. Where ever you see some color other than the yellow primer, there was a blemish or uneven area in the finish. The worker was working with a chamois at the time, polishing the points where all of the struts meet so it would have a completely even surface.



Next, coats of finish are applied. You are seeing the finish being wetsanded. Again, they are trying to achieve the smoothes possible finish. This has absolutely nothing to do with tone.



Bosendorfer has a removable Capo D'Astro bar. This "pressure bar" keeps the treble strings under the optimal tension to achieve the finest sound possible in the treble. This much is common in many brands of pianos. As the piano ages, however, the treble strings can cut into the plate which compromises the termination point in this section. The Capo bar can be replaced if this happens, instead of shaving it down with a file, which is the only option on most other pianos.



Here we examine the rim and posts of a frame that is being completed. This body is entirely made of soundboard quality white spruce.



Speaking of soundboard quality white spruce, here is a board about to be installed into a piano.

Trivia question[/b]:

What model Bosie is this soundboard going into? Is it going into a normal run model or a CS series? Why did you choose your answer??

Posted by: BruceD

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 01:57 PM

Rich :

What a wonderful picture-story. I am envious of your trip, but tnanks for sharing it.

Regards,
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 01:59 PM

Just a couple more really cool pics. This is St. Stephens, that is basically surrounded by Vienna:



After going up almost 400 steps in a tiny little circular staircase, you are treated to this view from the spire:



This is the interior of the Royal Austrian Library. It is quite beautiful. Unfortunately we could not touch any of the books. I was dying to page through a few.



In the Museum of Ancient Musical Instruments I had a few favorites as well. This is a portable reed organ. Your friend stands at the opposite end and pumps the bellows while you play. When you are done, just close it up, fold over the cover, latch it, and carry it home like a briefcase:



Lastly, the Natural Science Museum. This is the main staircase - all marble and adorned with sculptures of many of history's greatest scientists:



Whew! This was a fantastic trip. I suggest a PW tour of some European piano factory next year. There are great fringe benefits!!
Posted by: sophial

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 02:17 PM

Rich,
what great pictures of a fantastic trip! Would love to visit there myself someday, includiing the Bosie factory. Thanks for sharing these!


Sophia
Posted by: turandot

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 02:20 PM

Wonderful stuff, Mr. Galassini. Thanks
Posted by: RickG

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 02:26 PM

What great pics, Rich. Thanks for sharing. I hope to get to Vienna someday.
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 02:43 PM

I wish *MY* siblings would take me on European vacations... \:D

Terrific photos, Rich. Thanks.

[patiently waiting for answer to soundboard trivia question. I'm going to guess that it's for the CS series, but it's just a guess.]
Posted by: FogVilleLad

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 02:46 PM

Rich, thanks for including specifics of Bosie's design and prep.

Nicely chosen snaps, too.
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 02:47 PM

Monica said:

 Quote:
[patiently waiting for answer to soundboard trivia question. I'm going to guess that it's for the CS series, but it's just a guess.]
[/b]

OK. Your guess is duly noted - but remember the "why". Why did you say that? (Not saying you are right though).
;\)
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 02:49 PM

Oh man. I forgot the "why." [wildly speculating here] Uh, because of the visibly patterned grain?
Posted by: Jeff Bauer

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 03:31 PM

Hey Rich,

Awesome photo diary of the trip! Thanks so much for posting all of that!

Trivia answer:
deleted.
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 03:44 PM

 Quote:
It's going into a 225 because of the shape of the board matches the footprint rim of the 225, and it looks too short for the 290.
[/b]

Jeff,

Well, I am a little taller than you are. ;\)

You are correct. But I knew YOU could answer the question! This was for others to try to answer. geez!
Posted by: Bear 1

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 03:44 PM

Rich,

Thank you for sharing your fabulous photos.
I toured the Bose factory and show rooms way back in 1987.
Your trip brought back some wonderful memories for me. \:\)

All the best,

Bear
Posted by: Marty in Minnesota

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 03:56 PM

Rich,

Thank You - Thank You - Thank You!

Such wonderful photos, such a delightful trip, and you are so kind to share the experience with us.

Did you happen to pack up a portable reed organ and bring it home? It would be a great piece of carry-on baggage. I'm not sure if it would stow under the seat in front of you, however.

\:D
Posted by: Rank Piano Amateur

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 04:03 PM

Great photos of what was clearly a spectacular trip. It must have been wonderful to see the birthplace of so much music and so many glorious pianos . Thanks for sharing the pictures!
Posted by: mdsdurango

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 04:19 PM

Beautiful tour pics Rich.
Thank you, I now want to go to Vienna!

One question - why are your arms tired?

Beers?

Mike
Posted by: pianobroker

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 04:37 PM

Awsome,I'm in envy that you could get away to experience this incredible excursion. Lifes to short!,I guess I gotta make time \:\( \:\)

If you envision a high end autobody & paint shop tbeir plate prep is no different than the hood of a new Mercedez. It's all in the prep! \:\)
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 05:37 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Rich Galassini:
Just a couple more really cool pics. This is St. Stephens, that is basically surrounded by Vienna:


Whew! This was a fantastic trip. I suggest a PW tour of some European piano factory next year. There are great fringe benefits!! [/b]
Great pictures and stories Rich.

This is exactly the type of combination fly/cruise I was hoping we could put together.
I agree, Europe would be the place to take the PW crew.

Thanks for sharing, I'm jealous now.
Posted by: Norbert

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 07:12 PM

Fabulous trip, Rich!!

Nice to see that Boesendorfer is obviously doing very well!!

Special thanks that you didn't show Vienna's main Ernst Heppel Soccer Stadium where Germany just lost the Euro soccer championship to Spain - as I had earlier 'predicted'.... \:o

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Fussballstadium2.jpg

But here's something that you certainly *should* have shown - Austria's world famous 'Sachertorte': even more important than all the other stuff in town ... ;\)

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Sachatorte.jpg

However,I must admit your visit was certainly highly 'cultured'.
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 07:27 PM

How about a few last cool pics??

There is a collection of historic armor that ranges from simple breastplates to full suits of gold encrusted mail for ceromonial use.




Also, we took the regional train out to Danube and went through the gardens there. Here is the Danube Tower, which has a restaurant at the top and I am pretty sure part of it rotates.





The view from the tower was cool. Here is the Blue Danube and the surruonding village:





And some of the gardens:


Posted by: VGrantano

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 09:51 PM

Enough of the pictures and travelogue, where are the Austrian Chocolates you promised me????
Posted by: Digitus

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/29/08 10:13 PM

Thanks Rich. I'm hopeful that the Yamaha-Boesendorfer tie-up will secure the long-term viability of Boesendorfer. I still have wonderful memories of the ravishing Imperial I used to occasionally play on when at university.
Posted by: Innominato

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/30/08 09:31 AM

Rich, thanks for the pics, you certainly did not waste your time there.. ;\)

It is beautiful to see that Boesendorfer seem not to lose anything of its features with the new bosses.
Posted by: Bob Newbie

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/30/08 09:38 AM

but the big question is just how "blue" is the Blue Danube! \:D
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/30/08 09:52 AM

Great pic's, Rich! Thanks for sharing. I'll most likely never be able to travel to places like that so the pictures are a great substitute to the real thing!

Best regards,

Rickster
Posted by: BoseEric

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/30/08 10:35 AM

Hey Rich

The factory just called...seems they're missing a couple "items"...they said you'd know what they were talking about.

Just curious, how DID you get that set of wood chisels and the spruce log on the plane??
Posted by: ejsauter

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/30/08 10:50 AM

Really great photos, Rich. Thank you for sharing!
Posted by: RealPlayer

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/30/08 11:38 AM

Great pics, Rich! I've been to Vienna a couple of times, but sure didn't see as much as you did!

The Bosie factory sounds amazing.
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/30/08 01:17 PM

Joe,

The factory WAS amazing. Frankly, because of the work that we do here in Philly to Bosies, it was nothing new... until I met the people and found how dedicated and passionate they were.

BoseEric said:
 Quote:
Just curious, how DID you get that set of wood chisels and the spruce log on the plane??
[/b]

Well, once I cut it down to easily concealed slices, the log was easy to sneak out. ;\)

Posted by: Genaa

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/30/08 01:26 PM

Great post and fabulous pictures - cheers Rich - sounded like a wonderful trip!
Posted by: Norbert

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/30/08 02:28 PM

Rich is right:

People working in European factories take great pride in what they are doing: often these trades are handed down from one generation to another.

This is what makes European pianos so unique: they represent history, art and a very special kind of identity.

It puts into perspective the world we live in in North America and are often made to believe in: there's always the elusive "best" - the all important Nr.1 - next someone else with tag Nr. 2 - Nr.3 - and so on.

Thanks God, pianos are not like football, baseball or ice hockey games.

Not even soccer.... \:o

Piano are made for *people* - like you and me...

Norbert ;\)
Posted by: PianoPro

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/30/08 03:54 PM

Rich, thanks so much for sharing this trip with us in pictures!
Posted by: terminaldegree

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 06/30/08 04:52 PM

Thanks, Rich, for taking the time to post up these pictures. I really enjoyed them!
Posted by: Catlady

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 07/01/08 05:38 PM

Pictures, shmictures....where are the trip trinkets that you promised me???
Posted by: Barbara G

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 07/01/08 10:45 PM

Hi Norbert.

I had a recent conversation with a Bluthner exec. He made a comment about fine pianos being fine art which only the very fortunate few can afford. I believe that he is right. Many people enjoy the fine art. Only a few are able to afford fine art, and most people enjoy the fine art which the wealthy few donate to museums for the public.

With pianos, again, just a few people are donating money to the fine music halls so the public can enjoy the accomplished pianists performing on wonderful and expensive pianos.

At least with pianos, any good pianists can go to a fine piano store and play and enjoy the very best artistic grands and uprights. So thank you Norbert and Rich for allowing many people to come to your stores and enjoy fine art pianos.
Posted by: Keith D Kerman

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 07/01/08 10:57 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Jordang:
Hi Norbert.

I had a recent conversation with a Bluthner exec. He made a comment about fine pianos being fine art which only the very fortunate few can afford.
[/b]
That is an interesting perspective.
Other than the cabinetry, I would argue that a piano is more analagous to a painter's brush, paints and canvas rather than whatever they are used to create.
Posted by: Norbert

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 07/02/08 12:34 AM

 Quote:
Other than the cabinetry, I would argue that a piano is more analagous to a painter's brush, paints and canvas rather than whatever they are used to create.
I happen to share this sentiment.

Pianos, at least for me, are more tools to *create the art* rather than the art itself.

Beethoven and Mozart are remembered - but much less the instruments these guys were using....

But it's also nice to have sometimes the "other perspective"

We all have to have dreams and some romance in life....

Norbert ;\)
Posted by: TLuvva

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 07/02/08 07:43 AM

Thanks for the pics and the story, Rich.

My wife is pressuring me to go to Europe now that it's no longer affordable for just about any American, and she wants Italy so if I can't make it to Wien, maybe I can at least make the Fazioli factory and offices. Although unlike here, you find out that entire countries are mere hours apart so maybe both.

I'd say relegating a Bosey Imperial down to the status of a mere painter's brush is a serious underestimation. Maybe a better analogy would be a play (music) and a theater (piano).
Posted by: Keith D Kerman

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 07/02/08 09:14 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by TLuvva:

I'd say relegating a Bosey Imperial down to the status of a mere painter's brush is a serious underestimation. Maybe a better analogy would be a play (music) and a theater (piano). [/b]
Well, I did say, brush, paints and canvas. I don't consider any of these things "mere". \:\)
However, perhaps your analogy really is better. But if the pianist ( actor ) is performing music ( a play ) on a piano ( theater? ) in a concert hall....err....isn't the concert hall the theater?

And, by the way, thanks Rich for sharing your trip with us.
Posted by: gryphon

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 07/02/08 09:29 AM

Rich, a couple of comments:

a) thanks for the photos! They were great.
b) your purse is larger than your sister's.

:p
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 07/02/08 10:43 AM

Keith and Tluv,

Interesting analogies. I think that deserves a few hours over a bottle of wine for further discussion - or some Viennese coffee.

Gryphon said:
 Quote:
Rich, a couple of comments:

a) thanks for the photos! They were great.
b) your purse is larger than your sister's.
[/b]

Dear Gryphon,

You are very perceptive. How else could I smuggle out all of that expensive spruce and sets of chisels? ;\)

Really though, here in Philly we call that a briefcase.
Posted by: Furtwangler

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 07/02/08 10:55 AM

Rich

Any interesting anecdotes you would like to share about the costs associated with travel to Europe these days?
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 07/05/08 10:22 PM

 Quote:
Rich

Any interesting anecdotes you would like to share about the costs associated with travel to Europe these days?
[/b]

Furt,

I have made European trips before, and in the past, things were cheaper.... WAY cheaper. Also, back in the '80s and even into the '90s, folks in other countries sometimes seemed willing to accept American dollars. In Greece they preferred them. This time around though, when I ran short of Euros once and offered American tender, they said,"Haben Sie eine Visa Kreditkarte?"

Unfortunately, I have a Visa... and now a bigger bill than I had planned on.
Posted by: MmmmBalf

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 07/06/08 04:52 AM

I can't decide which photo I like best, St Stephens, the church, the library... or Norbert's beer! \:D Norbert, I thought you'd be having your beer the... stein way... ;\)

All kidding aside, awesome photos. Thanks for sharing. I hope to get there myself someday.

Balf
Posted by: nleric

Re: Just got back from Vienna... and boy are my arms tired! - 07/09/08 03:57 PM

Great Picutres, I am sure you know that you did not need to walk up the 400 steps in St., Stephens, on the other side of the church is a lift that will have you on the roof in seconds, ;\) )), just behind the church on the left hand is a MKozart house complete with lots of letters etc., written by the man and also again at the rear of the church in a little street just off to the right is another Mozart house where they hold nightly concerts in the same room that the great man performed himself, the acoustics in that room are AWESOME. it is the oldest concert hall in Vienna, The Sala terrena with its beautiful vault was designed and painted in the second half of the Eighteenth century in late renaissance.
Noel