The Ultimate Piano (™)

Questions and discussion on technical, teaching and performance matters
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fredbucket
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Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by fredbucket » Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:15 am

wilkgide wrote:Perhaps people then thought that a larger piano would be too big to reach across and therefore not catch on. I personally think this won't catch on because piano's already don't sound very good at the highest notes and notes are almost not discernible at the lowest notes. The only piece I've ever played that went up to the highest note on the piano is the third movement of Saint Saen's piano concerto No. 5 and it just sounds too high.
Even in the 1850's or so pieces were being written for pianos with extended ranges, and Busoni and Dukas certainly didn't think that 85 or 88 notes was the limit. The high notes on pianos don't sound good because the pianos overall are not designed to play the high (or very low) notes properly. The Bosie's low notes are very disappointing. On the Stuart, for which one of the design criteria was to improve on those notes, those notes sound extraordinarily well. Mind you, you have to have the right music. Arvo Part up high is mesmerising on the Stuart.

Regards
Fred

juno_nb

Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by juno_nb » Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:06 am

Im currently studying at the Tasmanian conservatorium and we have finally got our Stuart back! It was very poorly treated here for a number of years and not played at all for at least 4 years, it has just come back from newcastle where Wayne revamped it, it is not ready to be played yet but next semester it will be, im very excited about performing on this piano! I will post some photo's as soon as i can, as fred says they are the ultimate pianos, even a completely non musical person can appreciate the art that is the construction of a Stuart piano let alone the musical capabilities.

juno_nb

Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by juno_nb » Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:49 am

I finally got some time with the piano (only about 5 minutes :-( ) Stuart and Sons piano no.5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khX3uzSXPz4

I'm sorry the recording quality is not good but only had a few minutes to spare as the piano had only just been tuned at the technician had to leave soon.
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fredbucket
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Instruments played, if any: Piano, Harpsichord, Organ, Piano Accordian, Button Accordian, Anglo and Duet Concertinas, Oboe, Cor Anglais, 6 & 12 string guitars, 5-string banjo.
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Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by fredbucket » Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:16 am

juno_nb wrote:I finally got some time with the piano (only about 5 minutes :-( ) Stuart and Sons piano no.5
Good stuff, NB, from first glance you've got the 'principle' of the piano (the touch and pedals in particular) quite well. I've just spoken with Katie Stuart (who knows of you, incidentally) who will have a listen with Wayne when he's not busy (the factory has just reopened this week and he has pianos coming out of his ears from what he tells me) and will give me and you some feedback.

I really should call you the 'barefoot pianist'. It must be painful trying to play both soft pedals with the one foot :)

Regards
Fred

juno_nb

Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by juno_nb » Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:13 am

Fred, the piano almost frightens me in a way, its exciting and terrifying playing it. On one hand there are no limits to the levels of colour and dynamic range that you can achieve, however because it is so terribly clear and amazing a piano, all imperfections, unintentional accents and uneven scales stand out like a sore thumb.

The speed of repetition is unbelievably fast on the piano making repeated 4,3,2,1 figures far simpler and long sustained trills much easier, as for the pedals I can only imagine the possibilities here, i find it very comfortable interchanging una corda and tres corda soft pedals with the one foot and using both at the same time. He has simply thought of everything, it amazes me how he has done away with all the crap in pianos, meaning there is nothing on the piano to rattle, the music stand cannot possibly rattle because of the nature of its design, the fall board solves rattle problems while still being ornate, everything on the piano that could possibly rattle is neatly felted.

The clarity of the piano is almost bad because any but the best technique will show all imperfections of playing. I look forward to doing some chamber music on it this semester and see how it will work, hopefully the Faure trio op.120.

juno_nb

Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by juno_nb » Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:20 am

another thought... the inclusion of extra notes is fantastic, Wayne appears to have solved all the problems here (provided you can afford to order the Stuart strings or stock replacements, assuming if you can afford a stuart you can afford to look after it or you dont deserve the piano), there is no reason for this not to catch on provided that 1. piano makes dont cut corners and make cheap crap, 2. the piano is kept in good order by a good technician. The main reasons why the top C on most piano sounds like a flautist with asthma and the bottom A sounds like a fart in a bath is the piano maker is unable to produce clarity and clearness of tone at this level of pitch.

tosca1

Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by tosca1 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:36 am

Thank you ,Fred, for the excellent photos and most interesting mp3 samples of this extraordinary piano. To my ear, the sound of this instrument has exceptional clarity and brilliance like no other piano I have heard before. The sound is also remarkably even across all the registers of the instrument.
Playing a work like "La Cathedrale Engloutie" with its unfathomable depths and sonorities must be like a new revelation.

Regards,
Robert.

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iano
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Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by iano » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:38 am

juno_nb wrote:another thought... the inclusion of extra notes is fantastic, Wayne appears to have solved all the problems here (provided you can afford to order the Stuart strings or stock replacements, assuming if you can afford a stuart you can afford to look after it or you dont deserve the piano), there is no reason for this not to catch on provided that 1. piano makes dont cut corners and make cheap crap, 2. the piano is kept in good order by a good technician. The main reasons why the top C on most piano sounds like a flautist with asthma and the bottom A sounds like a fart in a bath is the piano maker is unable to produce clarity and clearness of tone at this level of pitch.
I was just wondering how the Stuart was (re)settling in, juno. Any news? I'm aware (painfully, actually) of much of the story of this piano, as I commissioned it myself. There's some other background stuff that would amuse you, but I'll refrain from expanding. Suffice to say, nobody has ever been satisfied with any of the pianos at the Con. Ever. Just ask Beryl.

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fredbucket
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Instruments played, if any: Piano, Harpsichord, Organ, Piano Accordian, Button Accordian, Anglo and Duet Concertinas, Oboe, Cor Anglais, 6 & 12 string guitars, 5-string banjo.
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Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by fredbucket » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:30 am

iano wrote:Suffice to say, nobody has ever been satisfied with any of the pianos at the Con. Ever.
All of which goes to show that any piano, no matter how good, can be easily ruined by bad maintenance, voicing and tuning. This happened to the Stuart piano at UNSW, and also, from what I have seen, is happening to the Stuart piano in the Great Hall at Sydney University. And don't get me started about the pianos at the Sydney Conservatorium.

The Hobart piano has spent quite a deal of its life stashed away on its side, which must have done wonders for its equilibrium. No wonder it had to go back to the factory. Iano will know from experience that all ex-factory Stuart pianos are voiced and tuned to the nth degree before they leave.

Why institutions don't look after these pianos properly beggars belief.

Regards
Fred

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Re: The Ultimate Piano (™)

Post by davida march » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:46 am

advertorial?

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