I played another one. It’s a nine-foot Seiler concert grand that sounds somewhat different from the big mean Bechstein. (If you click on the picture, it takes you back to the stats, etc.) The width on the body past the keys is different, so that creates a different sound. It doesn’t sound as dark as the Bechstein (mellow is the wrong word, because the Bechstein wasn’t that either), but had almost as much power for about $50,000 less. It hadn’t been voiced when I played it, and it sounded a little edgy and thin in the treble, but that’s easy to fix. I liked it okay, and it would certainly be quite the purchase, nothing I’d complain about having. It didn’t seem to have the depth that the Bechstein had, though. That’s okay. We played some others that were nice. I played a Bechstein upright that I don’t really think is quite an upright grand or cabinet grand or whatever you call it, but it was made of alder wood, and Mehsha said it looked like a casket. It was a very blonde wood and looked unfinished. The light wood and finish has an effect on the sound, and it even had a practice pedal. The power and resonance from something like that was amazing. It sounded like some of the six and seven foot pianos they had lying around. It was incredible. There was another one that was the exact same model right next to it, except for the finish (it was the usual black) but had nowhere near the strength or voice that this one did. That’s the beauty of hand-made instruments… if you get the upper hand(made), that is…
So that was exciting, but even more greatly excitinger was this… (and it’s not so exciting now):
Ichabod Crane told me where the Bösendorfer dealer is for my area. He said I should go by and play a few and that they’d let me play the flagship model, the 290 (I think). It’s 9’6” and has 97 keys. They have one in the store in their recital hall that I want to go play, and it’s definitely the 800 pound gorilla in the room as far as wonderful, powerful, expensive, handmade German pianos go. It’s the best. Anyway, I really want to go touch it and stare at it and play it, but I was Ebaying on Sunday and found this glory. It’s the real thing. Handmade in 1984 and never commercially used [abused]. There’s a crack in the soundboard, but nothing that affects anything. I was overwhelmed because something like this today sells for around $150,000 and wouldn’t have been much (if any) less than that twenty-two years ago. The auction started at $10,000 but I didn’t realize it still had a week left. It’s already more than twice that now, and if you follow some of the links on the auction, the dealer’s private website gives a little insight into what the reserve might be. It’s a beautiful piano, and one I’d snatch up for quite a lot of money, whatever it took, but I have nowhere to put it (except for one place I could probably manage).
Forget that American-made piano company that everyone and his brother knows about that begins with S- and ends in –teinway. At least for now.
More relevant posting later. It’s time to go play tennis.