Recordings of the Ultimate Piano (™)

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Re: Recordings of the Ultimate Piano (™)

Postby WCosand » Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:17 am

For what it is worth, this is "coverage" in my neighborhood of the Stuart and Sons grand:

http://www.kbaq.org/music/thisweek/20110123
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Re: Recordings of the Ultimate Piano (™)

Postby fredbucket » Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:27 am

WCosand wrote:For what it is worth, this is "coverage" in my neighborhood of the Stuart and Sons grand:

There was a ~five minute presentation on 'the ultimate piano' on NPR last week - http://www.npr.org/2011/01/18/132945634 ... rand-piano - by Neva Grant. I recorded it live at 1am (!) on my iPhone - and of course it was also put up on the NPR website as detailed above.

Given the time restraints and the need to shove as much information into the five minutes as was possible, Neva did quite a good job. I found that the quality of the sound was not good. In particular the sound from the upper notes was as though someone had hit a piece of metal with a hammer – it was clear that the microphones and recording equipment used were not of sufficient quality to give an accurate view of the real sound. Stuart & Sons have produced a much better sound clip which will be included in the NPR website, and a link to it is provided here - http://www.mediafire.com/?ney62sr2ynxdiyx. This clip not only showcases the treble notes, but also the extra bass notes and provides a real sense of both delicacy and power where required.

The second issue I had was the comments by the Australian pianist Geoffrey Lancaster. Lancaster is a world class musician no doubt, but his expertise is in historically authentic performances – he has done some great work on the fortepiano and with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. But he is not known as a ‘concert pianist’ per se, and his experience in playing Stuart pianos is very, very limited, so his comments really have no basis. For example, "I find the sounds very cold," Lancaster says. "They don't have that dimension of warmth that, say, a great Steinway or a great Bosendorfer has. It's this clarity — this so-called clarity or crystalline quality, it's really quite icy." That’s a shame, because I and many others have found the sound to be anything but “icy”. The Stuart has the greatest tonal and dynamic range of any piano, and the sound that is produced is very much up to the pianist’s skill and knowledge of the instrument.

Regards
Fred
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Re: Recordings of the Ultimate Piano (™)

Postby fredbucket » Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:59 am

Yes, I know I've recorded and uploaded this piece before, but it has become a defacto standard for me to test out new recording techniques and equipment. The fact that I like playing it is merely coincidental of course, and the fact that it suits Stuart & Sons pianos very well is a distinct plus.

So now I think I've done the ultimate recording (at least from a technical viewpoint, I have no qualms about my limitations as a pianist) of the Georgy Rimsky-Korsakov Pastorale. This was recorded Sunday at the Stuart & Sons factory in Newcastle in their performance showroom. I was actually there to record a piano trio (successfully as it turned out) but I took the opportunity to do this as well.

It was recorded on a brand new 102-note Stuart & Sons 2.9 metre grand piano (with a rather nice walnut veneer actually, very impressive to look at) using an Earthworks PM40 Pianomic (range from 9hz to 40kHz) and two Earthworks QTC50 omnidirectional microphones (range from 3hz to 50kHz) at 24bit/192kHz using an Audient preamp and a Lynx Aurora 8 A/D converter. The object was to create a recording of the highest possible sound quality (from a recording viewpoint as I said). General opinion was that this was the best sound we had ever recorded from one of these pianos and has set the standard for all recordings we do in the future.

I'm including an MP3 (16bit/48kHz) of the recording here.
rimsky korsakov, georgy - pastorale 20010703.mp3

Regards
Fred
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Re: Recordings of the Ultimate Piano (™)

Postby sgambatiesque » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:01 am

fredbucket wrote:Considering that Malcolm was kind enough to post very rare scores by Georgy Rimsky-Korsakov here, viewtopic.php?f=11&t=570&start=100#p11354, I thought I would complement these by posting what is probably (!) the world premiere recording of the Pastorale.
rimsky-korsakov,georgy - pastorale.mp3

fredbucket wrote:recognise that I have added one or two extra notes in appropriate places :)


Inspired by your lovely recording I played this through last night. I noted that you ignored what I take to be a notation error just after the a tempo where the F is turned into an A by one too many ledger lines.
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Re: Recordings of the Ultimate Piano (™)

Postby fredbucket » Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:00 am

sgambatiesque wrote:Inspired by your lovely recording I played this through last night. I noted that you ignored what I take to be a notation error just after the a tempo where the F is turned into an A by one too many ledger lines.

Thank you. Yes, I did. I also deleted the g in the left hand in the first beat of the second bar on page 2, and there is an obvious 'p' and (probably) further decrscendos in the third last bar, double the bass g in bar 36 (you only do that on a Stuart!), and an extra high g on the last note (I renotated the piece in Finale to make it easier to follow). The whole piece requires a piano with very good sustain and volume range.

One of my students did this for her HSC exam last year and the examiner asked if she could have a copy of the music :)

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Fred
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Re: Recordings of the Ultimate Piano (™)

Postby fredbucket » Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:11 am

The Ultimate Piano has been superceded :-)

Stuart & Sons have just completed the world's first nine octave 108 note piano (That's right, 108 notes from C0 to B8). I was able to visit tha factory in Tumut in NSW last week on the same day that this was completed and I was in fact the first person the play and record the piano in what was close to its final tuning and voicing.

Further details can and will be found on the Stuart & Sons website, but for now I'm including a photograph and a recording we made of Fur Alina, by Arvo Part. This is the first recording to use the entire range of the piano (yes, including B8 ...)

I'm very grateful to the Stuarts for the opportunity.

Regards
Fred
IMG_4669.jpg
arvo part - fur alina - stuart & sons 108 note piano.mp3

A 96kHz/24bit WAV file may be found here - http://www.mediafire.com/file/n7f10ncon ... a.wav/file
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Re: Recordings of the Ultimate Piano (™)

Postby 4candles » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:49 pm

fredbucket wrote:The Ultimate Piano has been superceded :-) [...]
IMG_4669.jpg
arvo part - fur alina - stuart & sons 108 note piano.mp3

A 96kHz/24bit WAV file may be found here - http://www.mediafire.com/file/n7f10ncon ... a.wav/file
Regards
Fred


This sounds absolutely enchanting Fred. The sonorities are unlike anything I've heard before I think, and the decision to record Pärt was inspired.
Wonderful!
4c
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Re: Recordings of the Ultimate Piano (™)

Postby fredbucket » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:25 am

4candles wrote:This sounds absolutely enchanting Fred. The sonorities are unlike anything I've heard before I think, and the decision to record Pärt was inspired.
Wonderful!
4c

Thanks, 4c.

In fact, that is only what I might call a beta sound. The piano had just been completed when I arrived on the scene, and whilst the tuning (apart from the really high notes which needed a bit of tweaking) was close to the mark, the piano hadn’t been voiced. The first voicing had now been completed and I am told that the sound is vastly different in terms of warmth and velvety texture - much more like a proper piano sound. All the metallic sounds and string noises are gone. The only problem is I’m back home now and won’t have another chance to record it.

Damn!!!

But the recording served its purpose and gave us a chance to monitor the sound quality and bring it up to the proper standard. It also proved that I need to improve my playing substantially. The Pärt, despite its apparent simplicity, is actually a very difficult piece to get right. It took quite a few takes before I was even reasonably satisfied with my performance.

It is quite an extraordinary piano. Nothing else comes close - including mine!

Regards
Fred
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