Coolest most unusual Friday afternoon

Posted by: Rich Galassini

Coolest most unusual Friday afternoon - 02/18/13 07:04 AM

So this past Friday I was asked to go to a local university and speak with their grad. piano majors as part of a performance practices class.

No I did not coach them on their performances of Brahms and Schumann (Although I have an opinion on this as well). I was there to talk about the technical differences between the 2 or 3 21st century brands that all of these players knew and the 19th century instruments that the Romantic composers they were playing wrote for.

We were able to use a late 19th century Boesendorfer as an example. I also used overhead pictures of different period pianos that we have worked on, as well as professional diagrams of the actions, from Streicher (and earlier) to an early 20th century WNG action.

I HAD A BLAST! I wasn't given nearly enough time though. I feel like i could teach a semester class on the the technical aspects of the modern piano alone, let alone the major technical hurdles and the changes that the instrument has gone through into modern times.

Frankly, there were a few that did not care to hear about this. Questions were slow coming and of the 18 or so students that began with us only 9 stayed for a picture:


(I am the one on the immediate left of the piano)

Those who stayed though were really into it. I was asked some very insightful questions that really got ME thinking as well.

I wonder if anyone else, as a student, professor, or outside expert has lectured on this particular subject. I have not yet heard from the professor how she thought it went over. I hope she felt it went well because I have already thought through how I would do it differently next time.
Posted by: Withindale

Re: Coolest most unusual Friday afternoon - 02/18/13 07:22 AM

Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
I was there to talk about the technical differences between the 2 or 3 21st century brands that all of these players knew and the 19th century instruments that the Romantic composers they were playing wrote for.

We were able to use a late 19th century Boesendorfer as an example.

Very interesting. How did the late 19th century Boesendorfer sound in comparison with a modern instrument? I ask because the restorer described my Ibach (a late 19th century design) as late Romantic. How would you assess the tonal differences, then and now?
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Coolest most unusual Friday afternoon - 02/18/13 07:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
(I am the one on the immediate left of the piano)

I think everyone here would recognize you, Rich. smile You’re a celebrity on Piano World.

You seemed taller than the others... smile

It's good that you participate and help to promote music education. We need more of that...

Rick
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Coolest most unusual Friday afternoon - 02/18/13 09:25 AM

Originally Posted By: Withindale
Very interesting. How did the late 19th century Boesendorfer sound in comparison with a modern instrument? I ask because the restorer described my Ibach (a late 19th century design) as late Romantic. How would you assess the tonal differences, then and now?


In short, Withindale, it was a more intimate tone. One could say that it also had many more shades within a particular color, like a set of pastels that are all blue, yet all different.

It was not designed to fill a large hall, and in fact, could not. However, in a smaller hall (we were in one that seats about 200 - 300) the piano performed with a sparkle and sweetness that was palpible.

I had fun. smile
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Coolest most unusual Friday afternoon - 02/18/13 09:41 AM

Hi Rich,

This is so cool! I'm a little surprised that some class members didn't stay for the full presentation. Did all of the pianists have the chance to play and compare old vs. new?

Was the vintage Boesendorfer rebuilt/restored in your shop? How true is it to period construction?

If Cunningham did the work, good job on the leg turnings for the bench!
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Coolest most unusual Friday afternoon - 02/18/13 09:44 AM

Marty,

We actually DID work on the piano, but it came to us as a refinished and "somewhat rebuilt" piano. We frankly had to fix a lot of mistakes.

We did not make the bench, but we could have! smile
Posted by: Withindale

Re: Coolest most unusual Friday afternoon - 02/18/13 09:53 AM

Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
In short, Withindale, it was a more intimate tone. One could say that it also had many more shades within a particular color, like a set of pastels that are all blue, yet all different.

Who said no one can describe tone in words?

Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
We actually DID work on the piano, but it came to us as a refinished and "somewhat rebuilt" piano. We frankly had to fix a lot of mistakes.

Perhaps the Ibach should have come to you!