Author Topic: Old pianos  (Read 12989 times)

Re: Old pianos
« Reply #75 on: September 29, 2017, 10:14:30 am »
I have a Blüthner! It matches the dog.

sorry, but I can only read that as a Blucher  ;)

hellymedic

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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #76 on: September 29, 2017, 11:04:30 am »
Very nice!
How many cameras did you use for this?

Wowbagger

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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #77 on: September 29, 2017, 02:10:34 pm »
Dez did it. 4 I think. 2 of them were go-pros.
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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #78 on: October 01, 2017, 05:05:31 pm »
Very nice, I watched and listened all the way through. Good job on the editing too.
What's this bottom line for anyway?

Re: Old pianos
« Reply #79 on: October 01, 2017, 09:15:39 pm »
very nice indeed Wowbagger , well done

Wowbagger

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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #80 on: October 23, 2017, 04:56:47 pm »
It dawned on me over the weekend that, having been made in 1934 in Leipzig, my beautiful Blüthner was a piece of Nazi memorabilia. This worried me enough to do a bit of googling and I am glad I did. My mind is set at ease.
Quote from: Mark Polishook
In other words, Blüthner was a company with a predilection for social good long before that term, as now used, was even a term. With a little more research–and, let it be said, things on the Internet do wait patiently to be found–I came across another extraordinary story in a 2010 feature about the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust:
It [the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust] will … showcase a Blüthner piano that belonged to Alfred Sendrey, a Jewish conductor born in Budapest who achieved renown worldwide in the early 20th century. He led the Radio Berlin Orchestra and the Radio Leipzig Orchestra when the Nazis came to power.
When Sendrey left Germany, the 6-foot-4-inch-long grand piano stayed behind. “He thought he’d never see his Blüthner again,” said Helga Kasimoff, who owns and operates the Kasimoff-Blüthner Piano Co. on North Larchmont Boulevard in Los Angeles, the oldest purveyor of the German pianos in the United States. But before the war, Kasimoff said, “Blüthner contacted all their Jewish customers and said that if they wanted to leave [Germany], [the Blüthner family] could be helpful picking [their piano] up, putting it in a crate and shipping it to a new address.”
After spending the war years in Paris and New York, Sendrey arrived in Los Angeles. Shortly after his arrival, Kasimoff said, “He got notice from San Pedro that his Blüthner had arrived.” The Blüthner family itself paid to transport the instrument from Europe."
From https://www.polishookpiano.com/…/arnold-schoenberg-pianos-…/

It therefore represents the Spirit of Liberation and is in itself a beacon. Suck on that, Nazi scum!

***
As a footnote to the above, as my piano was manufactured in 1934, there is quite a strong chance that it was itself a refugee from the Nazis. I asked Marcus Roberts of Roberts Pianos about its history, but he was reasonably circumspect, saying that they bought it privately after the owner's death. It isn't difficult to ascertain that it has been resting, unused, for a very long time. It seems to have its original action, wrest plank etc. and the case is in lovely condition. Roberts French polished it to restore it to its former glory. The original photos on the Roberts website show it in a very faded and sun-bleached state, but otherwise it's fine.

Edit: just checked. Serial number 118939 which, according to the Blüthner website, makes my piano a 1935 job. I also discovered that the Nazis commandeered their factory to make munitions boxes during the war.
Homo sapiens - a creature so intelligent it knowingly sowed the seeds of its own destruction and did nothing about it.

Re: Old pianos
« Reply #81 on: October 23, 2017, 06:25:59 pm »

Wowbagger

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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #82 on: October 25, 2017, 07:25:17 pm »
Further updates.

My piano is 1935, not 1934. The number 118000 was the last of the year, not the first.

The manager of the Blüthner showrooms in London had never heard the "refugee pianos" story. He said he was going to contact the Leipzig office to see if they had any records of this. He said they had a record of a piano with my serial number being manufactured in late 1935 and sold in the London showroom in May 1936. However, their record showed a much smaller piano than mine - a style VI (4' 8") rather than a style VIII 6' 3").

I have also been having a bash at Beethoven's "Appassionata". The first movement is very long and bloody impossible.
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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #83 on: October 26, 2017, 02:23:33 pm »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axY3t0ZEmKQ

Too many mistakes.

Nice one Wow!  If you practice hard and get a bit better I might let you in my Epiphany band  :thumbsup:

Wowbagger

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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #84 on: October 27, 2017, 01:32:46 pm »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axY3t0ZEmKQ

Too many mistakes.

Nice one Wow!  If you practice hard and get a bit better I might let you in my Epiphany band  :thumbsup:

My kazoo playing is out of this world.
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hellymedic

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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #85 on: October 27, 2017, 01:50:22 pm »
David should have the challenge of torslanda's rehomed Godwin Supersonic electric organ as well as his multiple pianos, in a few days' time.

Should be fun but there's no space.

Might hold a limited soirée...

...eventually.

Oscar's dad

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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #86 on: October 27, 2017, 01:56:34 pm »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axY3t0ZEmKQ

Too many mistakes.

Nice one Wow!  If you practice hard and get a bit better I might let you in my Epiphany band  :thumbsup:

My kazoo playing is out of this world.

That is an off the cuff comment you could come to regret  :demon: Ensure you are available on Saturday 6th January 2018!

Re: Old pianos
« Reply #87 on: October 28, 2017, 12:54:23 pm »
Lovely stuff Peter.   I hope you have many happy hours playing  :thumbsup:
Not fast & rarely furious

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Wowbagger

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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #88 on: November 04, 2017, 05:26:18 pm »
Thank you all for your generous comments, and not shooting me!

This weekend I am going to record Schubert's G♭Impromptu. This will be put on Youtube specifically for my younger (Melbourne) daughter's birthday, which is next Friday. It takes about 10 minutes to play all the way through and although I'm reasonably proficient, I do make too many errors to be able to do a faultless straight-through take. However, Dez is a very good editor and he will be using several cameras to switch between at the critical moments!  ;)

It's an appropriate piece in many ways, not least because Schubert did longing pretty well better than any other composer, I reckon. I have only been playing it for a little over a month so she has never heard it, or at least has never heard me play it. Hitherto, her favourite piece that she has heard me play is Debussy's first Arabesque, which is also an emotional piece, but I reckon Schubert beats it by quite some distance.
Homo sapiens - a creature so intelligent it knowingly sowed the seeds of its own destruction and did nothing about it.

Wowbagger

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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #89 on: December 24, 2017, 12:28:15 am »
OT, this post.

Roberts have recently taken into stock two wonderful modern upright pianos which I would really like to buy if I were in the position of wanting to buy another piano. They have  Bösendorfer (1991) and a Bechstein (2006). £12500 and £9750 respectively. Absolutely stunning. There is also a Seiler (1990), a make I have never played, but seemingly a bloody good piano, for £7700.
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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #90 on: December 24, 2017, 09:36:54 am »
You could buy a bike for that!
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Wowbagger

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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #91 on: January 22, 2018, 12:25:41 pm »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeEB69-Mudg&feature=push-u&attr_tag=lM7Q24pTX8XRDuCu-6

Hmmm...

I spent nearly two hours playing that 1899 Blüthner (first piano in the video) when I was in their shop in September, trying to persuade myself that it was the piano for me, but it wasn't. I think Marcus Roberts is being disingenuous when he says "It's strong right up to the top". It was decidedly weak in the 5th and 6th octaves and that was why I rejected it. It is very frustrating when there is nothing whatever you can do about the high notes being drowned out by the low notes in loud sections. It's a lovely piano to play for quiet, sonorous pieces (Debussy's 1st Arabesque sounded absolutely wonderful, even with me trying to murder it) but the loud bits from Beethoven's Pathetique were feeble. Also, it's got Blüthner's patent action, which the man says himself in another video really isn't suitable for a pianist above grade 6 standard.

They have had that particular piano in stock for months and its price has dropped in that time by by £3500. It's probably the most beautiful piano, visually, that I have ever seen, but I don't buy an instrument for its looks.

Edit: Jan just watched the video and as soon as he said it she remarked "It wasn't strong right up to the top!"

The Bechstein Model III he mentions later in the video is identical to my old piano, that now resides in Maidstone. He is putting a new tuning block in that and that is what gives it its £9000 price tag. Sadly, the casework on mine is really shabby so there would be no financial justification for such an expensive restoration. Mine is still holding its pitch, although for how much longer remains to be seen. It's old enough (1891) that Carl Bechstein himself may have overseen its manufacture. He died in 1900.
Homo sapiens - a creature so intelligent it knowingly sowed the seeds of its own destruction and did nothing about it.

Wowbagger

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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #92 on: January 22, 2018, 12:38:40 pm »
As with bikes, really, you want to be getting the best you can afford.  Make sure it's structurally sound, and nothing out of alignment. 

Of course, ideally you want carbon fibre, and some people would insist on Campag keys, though I'd prefer Shimano.

A Brooks stool sets off the finest classic piano nicely.

There's a restored Blüthner for sale in a Kent showroom that has a carbon fibre soundboard! I suspect Mr. C was being humorous when he posted that, but these things really exist, apparently.

http://hurstwoodfarmpianos.co.uk/pianodetails.php?page=usedpianos&pcid=3&pid=21
Homo sapiens - a creature so intelligent it knowingly sowed the seeds of its own destruction and did nothing about it.

Re: Old pianos
« Reply #93 on: January 22, 2018, 12:54:22 pm »
Now you just need to commission the Brooks stool😂
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Wowbagger

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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #94 on: January 22, 2018, 01:20:48 pm »
The stool I am using was given to me in compensation when I complained that my piano wasn't as advertised (to me, "perfect mechanical condition" does not include the damper felts dropping off because the glue is so old). It was manufactured by a small Cotwolds-based joinery/cabinet maker, I understand.

http://www.closa.co.uk/about/

This one has a studio assistant called Clare Brooks, but I fear that's the closest we are going to get.

Also, http://www.phoenixpianos.co.uk/.
Homo sapiens - a creature so intelligent it knowingly sowed the seeds of its own destruction and did nothing about it.

hellymedic

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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #95 on: January 22, 2018, 01:41:39 pm »
Hurstwood is a rather enterprising 'diversification' for a cider apple farm!

David's Kawai grand has some carbon fibre in the action.

LittleWheelsandBig

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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #96 on: January 23, 2018, 09:46:34 am »
Brooks saddles as furniture is apparently a real thing.
https://www.luxdeco.com/brooks-leather-saddle-stool/
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Wowbagger

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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #97 on: January 24, 2018, 03:36:16 pm »
Brooks saddles as furniture is apparently a real thing.
https://www.luxdeco.com/brooks-leather-saddle-stool/

That looks decidedly precarious for piano playing. You might develop a Liszt.
Homo sapiens - a creature so intelligent it knowingly sowed the seeds of its own destruction and did nothing about it.

Wowbagger

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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #98 on: February 06, 2018, 12:26:30 am »
I went to visit my old piano today. By coincidence, our daughter and grandchildren were around for some of the time as well.

I am delighted to be able to report that it has stayed in tune very well. It is 4 months since it was tuned. I am also pleased to say that my son-in-law is taking piano lessons! He is particularly keen to play bluesy style stuff, which I am totally unqualified to teach! But I did play some Bach today and it (the piano) sounded really good. I think my rendition of the Bach was good in parts.
Homo sapiens - a creature so intelligent it knowingly sowed the seeds of its own destruction and did nothing about it.

Wowbagger

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Re: Old pianos
« Reply #99 on: February 08, 2018, 06:15:15 pm »
Marcus Roberts, when he visited us in November, earmarked tomorrow for another visit for tuning/voicing the piano. I put it in my diary at the time - quite unusually well organised for me. I needn't have bothered. I contacted the company today to check that he was still coming, not having heard anything, and had a reply that a visit to us is not in his diary.

So I now have firmly placed in my mind that Roberts Pianos is a good place to get a lovely piano but the man himself I think might be struggling with his memory. He isn't in his first flush of youth. The place exudes craftsmanship when you get there - a small staff but very professional in my view. I wouldn't be in the least surprised if they find the Old Man rather a trial.
Homo sapiens - a creature so intelligent it knowingly sowed the seeds of its own destruction and did nothing about it.