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In the photo(or is a drawing?)of the showroom, the grands look incredible long to me. Longer than a 9' grand. Anyone know how long those Streicher pianos were? Do they look incredibly long to you?

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
In the photo(or is a drawing?)of the showroom, the grands look incredible long to me. Longer than a 9' grand. Anyone know how long those Streicher pianos were? Do they look incredibly long to you?

Engraving, I'd think. They do look - I'd say - "fancifully" long.

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At one time Nanette and Johann Streicher had a young apprentice by the name of Johann Grimm. He learnt how to make pianos here and yes perhaps even worked on Beethoven's pianos.
Later on 1819 he started his own piano workshop in Spaichingen which was in Austria at that time.This later became known as Sauter.

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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
At one time Nanette and Johann Streicher had a young apprentice by the name of Johann Grimm. He learnt how to make pianos here and yes perhaps even worked on Beethoven's pianos.
Later on 1819 he started his own piano workshop in Spaichingen which was in Austria at that time.This later became known as Sauter.

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I have the privilege of regularly playing seven different Streicher grand pianos in perfect condition, ranging from 1836 until 1878, built by Nanette Streicher's son Jean Baptiste. He consequently continued Nanette's construction and design and with his excellent contacts into the music world closely worked with composers and pianists to constantly and organically improve the instruments. Adaptation to a new generation of pianists such as Liszt (who loved Streichers) and Clara Schumann gave him an edge among all Viennese piano builders. Focusing an ever increasing dynamic range and yet keeping the lyrical qualities that made these pianos so unique, he followed a grand tradition.

He managed to introduce more factory like elements into the production of the pianos and at one point even produced pianos whose actions were interchangeable, i.e. you could get a Streicher with both Viennese and English actions.

Brahms was one of the most fervent supporters of Streicher until the son Emil took over, after which the quality rapidly declined.

The concert grands shown in the NYTimes article are about 255-260cm in size which at that time was kind of a gold standard in size for concert grands.

Every aspiring pianist should try to play on one of the mid-century Streichers in order to understand what the instruments were like that Liszt played. It will definitely be an ear opener for those who still think of 1850s instruments as weak fortepianos. They are not.

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Johann Grimm's nephew Carl Sauter learnt about piano making from Grimm at his workshop.Then took over from Grimm and the small Sauter factory began.

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Originally Posted by tend to rush
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
In the photo(or is a drawing?)of the showroom, the grands look incredible long to me. Longer than a 9' grand. Anyone know how long those Streicher pianos were? Do they look incredibly long to you?

Engraving, I'd think. They do look - I'd say - "fancifully" long.


Yes, they do look fancifully long. I think it's because the engraving has a few problems with perspective.

For example, the three groupings of people, from front to back, should probably decrease in size, but since they are all about the same measure, it gives the impression that they increase in height.

The man in the right rear of the hall, standing behind the line of pianos, looks fairly normal, but assuming the pianos are 8.5 ft long (to use OU812's number), that would put the man's height at about 4.5 feet, which seems a tad short, even by historical averages, and the two guys in the doorway at about 6', which would be tall by historical standards. Worse, it puts the man in the middle's height at about 3.5 feet, which undeniably too short.

Take another look at the man in the right rear. His head nearly reaches the top of the first joint in the paneling to his right. If you moved him to the foreground, in front of the piano line, then he would be massive. That's to be expected, given how perspective works, but if you re-inserted him between the 2nd and 3rd pianos, the same depth into the picture as the family in the middle, he would tower over them.

Look at the middle man's knee height. Probably about right for the line of pianos on the right, but take a look at the piano on the left, which is roughly the same depth into the picture as he is, yet it's shoulder height! If he sat at that piano, the keys would be at eye level!

Anyway, all these errors in perspective make things look a bit unnatural. The height of most of the pianos looks ok relative to the family in the center (the vertical dimension), but the artist has erred re. their lengths, which is why they look strange to us (not to mention the other perspective problems).


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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Johann Grimm's nephew Carl Sauter learnt about piano making from Grimm at his workshop.Then took over from Grimm and the small Sauter factory began.

The lineage and the reach of impact of the early piano makers is interesting and impressive! The ancient apprenticeship model made a lasting impact.


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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
I have the privilege of regularly playing seven different Streicher grand pianos in perfect condition, ranging from 1836 until 1878, built by Nanette Streicher's son Jean Baptiste.

A privilege indeed! I am just a bit envious. I would be very curious to know if these instruments are in museums, or private homes, or where?

Also, I would be very interested to know if the Streicher concert hall still exists?

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Originally Posted by David-G
Originally Posted by OE1FEU
I have the privilege of regularly playing seven different Streicher grand pianos in perfect condition, ranging from 1836 until 1878, built by Nanette Streicher's son Jean Baptiste.

A privilege indeed! I am just a bit envious. I would be very curious to know if these instruments are in museums, or private homes, or where?

Also, I would be very interested to know if the Streicher concert hall still exists?

The Streicher concert hall does not exist anymore.

The Streicher pianos I was talking about are part of a collection of an actual business of a master piano builder here in Vienna. The instruments are freely accessible in the sense that you make an appointment with the owner, who usually works in his workshop across the street.

Who, BTW, is currently rebuilding the acoustic assembly of my private Steinway 1886 B grand.

www.hecherpiano.com is the website to look at the collection of Streicher, Graf, Bösendorfer, Erard, Ehrbar etc. concert grands.

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All very interesting indeed, with the NYT article a memorable read.


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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
The Streicher pianos I was talking about are part of a collection of an actual business of a master piano builder here in Vienna. The instruments are freely accessible in the sense that you make an appointment with the owner, who usually works in his workshop across the street.

Who, BTW, is currently rebuilding the acoustic assembly of my private Steinway 1886 B grand.

www.hecherpiano.com is the website to look at the collection of Streicher, Graf, Bösendorfer, Erard, Ehrbar etc. concert grands.
Reading the article about these old pianos he says that they are much better than modern pianos. Is that your opinion as well?


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Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Reading the article about these old pianos he says that they are much better than modern pianos. Is that your opinion as well?

What article are you referring to?

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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Reading the article about these old pianos he says that they are much better than modern pianos. Is that your opinion as well?

What article are you referring to?
Antique pianos

Last edited by Colin Miles; 11/08/20 10:36 AM. Reason: corrections

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Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Originally Posted by OE1FEU
Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Reading the article about these old pianos he says that they are much better than modern pianos. Is that your opinion as well?

What article are you referring to?
Antique pianos

This is a well thought through short essay and explanation. I agree with most of it and in fact, visiting this salon for the first time last year made me revise a lot, if not all. preconceptions about 'historical' pianos.

I think it's important to understand that the owner has a very classical virtuoso background as pianist.

and
with Prokofiev's monumental 8th sonata show him as a 'modern' pianist with a deep understanding of Prokofiev and modern piano playing. It was only from there that he started looking backwards and being intrigued about instruments that preceded the modern concert grand. So, he is not one of those people interested in 'Historically Informed Performances' for the sake of it.

I still feel uncomfortable playing instruments from the 1820s or so, because they do not give a feeling of a dynamic range that e.g. Beethoven demands in his sonatas. But anything after 1840 is game for me in terms of the repertoire that pleases me and any instrument after 1870 or so is a modern grand piano for me. Side story: As a young student I had the opportunity of renting a Bechstein 203 grand for a ridiculously small amount of money per month, which even I could afford. I had the instrument for two years and played it on a daily basis, practicing my regular stuff. I understood it did not have a Renner action, but to me it was a modern piano and together with other students we had a lot of fun evenings with people banging Dante sonata or Prokofieff 2nd concerto on it - and it was marvelous. Only much later did I understand that I actually played an instrument from 1874.

My own piano is an 1886 Steinway B that I have known for 30 year as it belonged to a friend. Never thought about it as a historic instrument. It was a Steinway B and one of the better ones I've encountered. Only recently have I understood the significance of actually playing a 130 year old piano by having its action rebuilt and now it's in the workshop to get an overhaul of the acoustic assembly. By now a lot of money has been invested into getting this piano into its best possible shape and I could definitely have bought a younger B with less problems, but this piano has something special that I haven't felt in any other B I've played in my life. And this goes for a lot of really old 'modern' concert grands that simply have more character and color than modern ones. There is a gorgeous 280 Bösendorfer from 1893 with a modern action that is just stunning and I'd rather have this one than a new Imperial.

Peter Salisbury in London restored an 1899 Bechstein concert grand for the Wigmore Hall and it's phenomenal to watch Pierre-Laurent Aimard getting really excited about the instrument:



Anyway. Streichers are a milestone in the development of the modern piano and basically every piano maker from Erard to Steinway looked at how they designed their concert grands. Every pianist should try to play a mid 19th century Streicher grand at one point to understand the legacy that Nannette and Jean-Baptiste Streicher left to the realm of piano manufacturing.

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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
This is a well thought through short essay and explanation. I agree with most of it and in fact, visiting this salon for the first time last year made me revise a lot, if not all. preconceptions about 'historical' pianos.

Having listened to the C Bechstein video above and having recently played, for a very short while, a reconditioned 1888 136cm C Bechstein upright, I can appreciate the sentiments.


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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Originally Posted by OE1FEU
Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Reading the article about these old pianos he says that they are much better than modern pianos. Is that your opinion as well?

What article are you referring to?
Antique pianos

This is a well thought through short essay and explanation. I agree with most of it and in fact, visiting this salon for the first time last year made me revise a lot, if not all. preconceptions about 'historical' pianos.
But almost everything in that article is a personal opinion. Since the author of the article is a dealer for the kind of piano he describes as superior, he is not an unbiased or neutral commentator.

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