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After trying plenty of pianos – and i also mean A great deal of pianos – with the purpose of replacing my ancient Chickering baby grand – the ones I liked best were 4 Steinway Bs at Steinway Hall in London along with a Steingraeber Phoenix 205 at Hurstwood Farm Pianos.

Auditioning instruments on this quality raises a fundamental essential question which happens to be how would you decide on only one?

My answer I figured was you don’t decide. Just pick the right one. Or “you don’t select the piano. The piano picks you.”

Nice try. But this didn’t get me any nearer to a decision until …

The Steinway Bs – Hamburg Steinway Bs that is because I’m in Europe and not America – responded to everything I played. When I say “everything” I’m imagining Gary Oldman intensity as he shouts for everybody! Those Bs spoke!

Gorgeously exquisitely tuned, they produced one million colors and timbres, all of these leapt effortlessly gracefully into the room. Playing an easy interval on those pianos – a great fifth – was actually a revelation. They spoke at a whisper and each and every other dynamic. They sounded large, full, and finished with merely a melody completely nothing else.

The steingraeber pianos san francisco – which, however, was ultimately the “one” – had been a completely different beast. I liked it when I first sat as a result of play it. It was actually precise in such a way I’ve never find before. It has a dynamic cover anything from almost inaudible ppppp to decimating ffff. Between and amongst those extremes comes floating sound, literally, from instrument to aether and air. Beautiful round warm graceful wonderful sound.

But just as much as I liked the Steingraeber, I couldn’t coax it to go in the feel of my method to the dialect of sound I had been after. It was actually as if the piano had it’s own mind, like it knew better. Maybe it did.

Then your magic. Geoffrey Sapsford, the spectacular technician at Hurstwood Farm Pianos made some adjustments over one hour roughly.

I sat down again and played a few notes. That same Steingraeber Phoenix 205 that was an absolutely wonderfully precise instrument from which I couldn’t pull sound as completely as I wished now responded everything I played: exactly, precisely, totally. Full keep with lid fully open, half keep with lid halfway closed, tiny one-eighth keep with lid open slightly, no stay with lid fully closed.

I do not know what Geoff did on the piano and it’s very possible he used incantations only. In terms of deciding on a piano and the way to decide between this, that certain, or something that is else: My experience arrived at play, try, think, listen, talk, provide for settling – then repeat as often as necessary. And collaborate having an amazing technician.