This past Sunday afternoon I had the rare opportunity to record a rather wonderful 9 foot 2 inch Fazioli F278. My wife used it for a concert she gave at the First Baptist Church of Kalamazoo, Michigan. I'm told they were the first church in the US to acquire a Fazioli piano which they bought used in Holland at the conclusion of its 5-year concert tour of Europe in 2002. Here's a shot of the piano set up for Sunday's concert against a backdrop of a rather interesting looking Le´tourneau Opus 55 Organ:
Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to record the organ... no one in attendance even knew how to turn it on. Maybe another day. Here's a tighter shot of the piano itself:
In case you're wondering, that black pole-like thing to the left is the Bose PAS sound system I use for vocals; needless to say on this occasion it was used only for vocals. The piano needed no amplification itself. Here's a view of the piano frame:
Notice the brass latch on the curved part of the case. There's a big fat wooden knob on the outside of the case which operates the latch which holds down the lid.
One unusual feature of this particular Fazioli (#2780551) is that the key tops are made of Ox-bone. Here's a photo of the keyboard where you can see light-brown speckles on some of the keys:
And here's a close-up photo of those keys where its most visible:
Note that these speckles are visual-only. They are not actual pits or irregularities you can feel on the keys, which are perfectly smooth.
According to Thomas at PianoForte in Chicago, the ox-bone keys of this piano were an experiment which Paulo Fazioli tried for a very short period of time after which he decided he didn't like them. Thomas said the manufacturer told him that he was somewhat dismayed to learn that a Fazioli with those keytops had found its way to America.
My wife Sue feels otherwise. She characterized these keys as the most wonderful feeling keys she's ever played. Nicer even than ivory. She also mentioned that the piano shop where she teaches in Crete has an old box piano from the 1700's on display with its original beef-bone keys. Which are a little gray-looking from age but not yellowed in the slightest.
According to my wife, this instrument is one of the finest concert pianos she's ever performed on. Fast, loose, and responsive were words she used. She also mentioned that the range and control this piano gives over dynamics made her vocals so easy... something she doesn't often experience.
Sue also mentioned that this piano was unlike any of the newer Faziolis she tried in Chicago. Not quite as bright as the new F228 and F212. She can't be sure about the Chicago F278... she wasn't able to properly evaluate that one as it was being worked on and was still acclimating from its sojourn to Ravenia. I noted that this instrument was Damp-Chaser equipped, complete with undercover. And venue personnel told me that unlike most churches, they keep this place at a constant 68 degrees for the benefit of the pipe organ.
I'll see about getting a few recordings up.
[ keywords: audio_FazioliF278 ]