I decided to record the Schubert Impromptu in Eb, Op. 90 on my Steinway grand to compare timbre and tone with the Haddorff console, and my verdict is that the Steinway surpassed Haddy in clarity and range of dynamics. It’s a rebuilt piano–work done by Dale Erwin of Erwin’s Pianos, Modesto, and its projection is definitely on the big, yet resonant side. We’re talking 1917 Steinway “M,” vintage, with an incredibly intact soundboard and a good set of well-voiced Steinway hammers. The piano could still use another tune-up since it’s been almost 20 years since Dale worked on it.
I keep the lid down, because the hammers are quite packed. The aggrandized acoustic of the room with its vaulted ceiling would otherwise push the Steinway over the top in brightness.
The grand is less of a slippery slope than Haddy, though I got into a tangle on the recap, but the show must go on. Words of wisdom to students: Don’t let a glitch stop the music. Just continue and get back in the groove. Playing note perfectly is not the goal. It’s all about phrasing, nuance and emotion bundled into ONE.
The Schubert Impromptu in Eb, Op. 90 presents a particular challenge. The player needs a big perspective over many pages. Supple wrists, and long, relaxed breaths aid staying on task and being ever present in the music. If the mind wanders, gently bring it back and breathe through artful phrases.