The high point of my trip to NYC was inhabiting a paradise of pianos on “piano row.” That’s what they call “West 58th” between Broadway and 7th Avenue.
In the imposing shadow of Carnegie Hall that envelops the neighborhood, Klavierhaus manages to retain its unique character amidst a glut of piano restorers such as Beethovens and Faust/Harrison.
(I made a visit to Beethovens that will be covered in a separate posting)
For me, Klavierhaus was indeed center stage from the moment I entered its sanctuary.
Greeted by an eye-catching, Pleyel, circa 1890, I sampled its delicious tone and impeccably even feel from note to note. Perfection to a tee permeated its DNA–In fact, the restoration was an historic journey with a keen awareness of what European materials were used at its inception. Jeremy Denk, concert pianist, had videotaped a riveting exchange with Gabor Reisinger, President of Klavierhaus about the care invested in bringing this instrument to exceptional playing standard. It was more than a miracle of fate, but instead, an artistic and historically authentic undertaking.
In the course of my meanderings through Klavierhaus with the assistance of Jeffrey Baker,(Business Dev. Director and Concert technician) I was impressed by more than a dozen pianos that were each developed to their full potential. No detail of maintenance was left behind.
This is not a common state of the art in most piano establishments. In too many, the instruments may have a basically appealing tone, but regulation and other problems abound that are sadly ignored–most likely for financial reasons.
The ever-looming profit motive compromises the needs of pianists who desire a lifelong compatible musical companion in the present minus a future promise of satisfactory, tailor-made “voicing” and “regulation”
(I’d encountered this in-the-next-life, promotional mantra many years ago when I was looking for a Steinway to replace a damaged one) Most pianos sampled at dealerships were “cottonballs,” without heart-throbbing, immediate tonal appeal.
NOT the “case” at Klavierhaus.
What I heard and experienced hands-on was the golden glow of piano paradise in the here and now without the promise of a honey-dipped afterlife.
And speaking of other-worldly environs, one particularly extraordinary piano captured my attention: It was a shimmering white Steinway in a gorgeous art case that’s best experienced by viewing my on-site video. (Excuse the shaky camera–I was very titillated to the point of tremulousness, not having a bulky tripod to steady me)
In truth, the following three videos in “a row” exemplify the outstanding work of Gabor and his team of tuner/technicians/salespeople who immaculately prepare and showcase these beautiful instruments.
First the lusciously mellow gift that Guggenheim gave to his wife on Valentine’s Day:
P.S. The owner of this piano objects to its depiction so I have removed the video. He is selling the piano and also doesn’t want to advertise the price. I have received numerous complaining emails from him. It’s too bad because the piano has a richly beautiful tone that should be shared with the world. But that’s his arbitrary choice.
Next, a 9-foot Fazioli (Angela Hewitt’s favored piano)
Finally, more Pleyel-dipping, followed by a Bechstein sampling, and visit to the Klavierhaus Recital Hall