Maria Schneider – Master of Color

Maria Schneider is one of my musical heroes. She composes for Jazz Orchestra and has brought a welcome new approach to a venerable musical style. This post is related to piano work, but you’ll have to read it all to figure out what the connection is.

First, what is a jazz orchestra? If you’re of a certain age, just think about the Tonight Show band, or the Buddy Rich Orchestra or the Woody Herman Band. Duke Ellington and Count Basie both led jazz orchestras, as did Glenn Miller. The jazz orchestra is usually around 16 to 18 pieces, including trumpets, trombones, saxophones and a rhythm section consisting of piano, bass, drums and usually guitar. The ensemble offers a huge range of sound and style possibilities and is often known for a hard driving style. The jazz orchestra, or “big band” as it is colloquially known is traditionally a source of powerful, driving, loud exciting music. Yes, every so often ballads are brought out to slow things down and show range, but excitement is the key…think Maynard Ferguson!

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What is aftertouch?

This should help you understand the concept and reality of aftertouch.

Say Bosendorfer: Brilliant marketing piece for pianos

I actually forgot where I came across this wonderful piece of international marketing. I’ve been carrying it around in its own ph balanced box for years.

There are a number of things that make this piece unique and powerful. First is the format. It’s rather large, multipage printed on a wonderful, thick paper.

But the most […]

What’s A Wippen?

A wippen is the heart and soul of the grand piano action. With some aspects of piano design and construction there is a wealth of variety but not so much anymore with the wippen.

The top two wippens in the photo represent the most fundamental designs (yes, you nit pickers there are more, but […]

Vienna Cultural Timeline

I came across this chart recently, while going through some old files. I created it to show the relationship between Bosendorfer and the various luminaries that passed through Vienna.

Fazioli Moving Up

I was invited to an event sponsered by the “new” Fazioli dealer in NYC. I put “new” in quotes because while the dealership stays the same, Klavierhaus, much has changed. This includs the new involvement by Michael and Marina Harrison formerly of Faust Harrison and Allegro Pianos, and a new location caused by the […]

A Letter to Udo Steingraeber

Dear Udo
It has been far too long since my last visit to Bayreuth. My son is 17 now and while he will someday treasure the photograph of himself at Wagners grave, alas, that day is not yet here.

I of course remember vividly my then 2nd visit to your works and your compelling description of the steps required to make a Steingraeber piano. I loved the Steingraeber sound before then and I love it to this day, even more so because I’ve had more opportunities to work on and become familiar with your fine pianos.

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Choose your partners carefully…

…and I chose wrong. I have been screwed by Hidrau Model once too often and am getting out of the bench business. If you’re interested in a great bench for cheap, contact me. This is, of course, MY OPINION to which I am entitled.

First the Feurich Ningbo Duo. 178M and 218M

 

I have two Ningbo Feurich grands; a model 178 and a model 218. Ningbo is shorthand for the pianos made to our specifications at the Hailun factory, as opposed to Feurich pianos of German origin.

There are a number of differences between a Feurich 178 and a Hailun 178, including different strings (Paulello) and different action ratios and different hammers. Although Feurich used Abel hammers in the Ningbo production, I was not completely satisfied with the sound and was convinced there was a better piano hiding below the surface.

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An Interesting Collection of Pianos

The new shop has been coming along nicely, becoming more organized, more functional and more representative of me. I’ve been very focused on an August Forster 215 that I’ve been reconditioning, if you call a new pinblock and bridge repair reconditioning. Some of the earlier heavy lifting really bogged me down, but after stringing […]