Grand Pianos

In Gadgets, General by John7 Comments

My main website has a page dedicated to pianos.  It’s mostly about the making of Steinway grand pianos, and it includes a gorgeous silent movie made in 1929 to complement the more recent video.  I was about to write that I’m quite passionate about grand pianos, but that’s probably not the right adjective.  It’s probably truer to say that I’m fascinated by them, and adoring, and a little intimidated.

This page is not about the Steinway – be they made in Queens, New York, or in Hamburg, Germany.  Or the Bosendorfer, or Yamaha or Kawai.

It’s about the Australian grand piano made in Newcastle, NSW, by Stuart & Sons.

Unlike the Steinway and so on, made from exotic foreign timber, the Stuart pianos are made from Australian woods, and uses good old Huon Pine.  But think 2,000 years old.

The normal concert grand piano piano has 88 keys.  The Stuart has 102 keys.  The normal concert grand piano is a 19th century design.  The Stuart is 21st century.

Unfortunately there is a restriction that prevents me from embedding the following two wonderful videos for Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto (in 2 parts) played on a Stuart piano.  Please check the two parts out.  They are worth your time.  The sound recording and video are superb.  The piano is sublime.

Part 1 is at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMl1xzSreAs&feature=channel

and part 2 is at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPRZjkUZ4TE

The restriction, I assume, is because the ABC wants you and me to buy the DVD, and that’s what I’ll do when I come across it.  See here.

But at least I can embed this superb video of Fiona Joy Hawkins playing a Stuart & Sons grand piano.

By the way, if you fancy a Stuart grand piano instead of a $50,000 – $100,000 Steinway, you can have one for up to $300,000 delivered.

Arguably, these Aussie pianos, which use 21st century technology and knowledge, are amongst finest in the world.

Comments

  1. Hi John,

    As an owner of a Stuart & Sons piano, I’m naturally pleased that you’ve chosen to highlight these instruments, particularly given your fascination by them. Perhaps I could point you to two things that will hopefully enhance your fascination for these pianos.

    Firstly, my blog (http://cjmoore.blogs.exetel.com.au/) which goes into some detail regarding my experiences with the Stuart & Sons piano, and secondly my YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/DrChristopherMoore) in which I’ve recorded a number of not-so-well known works which characterise the unique sound and ethos of the piano.

    Regards
    Dr Christopher Moore

    1. Author

      Hi Dr Moore,

      Thanks for your comment and the links to your blog and YouTube. I’ve had a fairly quick look at both, and can see that during the coming weeks I’m very much going to enjoy exploring them in detail. There’s so much to take in.

      I’m planning to make further posts about the Stuart & Sons pianos, and try to explain why I’ve become so interested, which is not what I expected could happen when for the past two weeks I’ve had a DVD and 3 books about Steinway pianos on order from Amazon.

      Regards,
      John Hill

  2. Thanks you for your response and comments. I would suggest you contact Wayne Stuart directly through the website, and ask for a demo CD to be sent to you. The sounds on the disk are quite amazing, and clearly show the advantages of these pianos when compared to the conventional design.

    Let me know next time you are close(ish) to Newcastle and I’ll arrange for you to visit the factory.

    Regards
    Chris

    1. Author

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your suggestion that I contact Wayne Stuart and ask for a copy of the demo CD. I’ll certainly do that.

      And if I ever visit Newcastle, I’ll be sure to contact you beforehand to take advantage of your kind offer to arrange for me to visit the factory. Thanks for that.

      I read your latest blog post (posted today) with interest and I must say I was thrilled to see that you mentioned my own blog. I plan to write again about grand pianos, including the Steinway and the Stuart.

      Regards,
      John

  3. Pingback: Some interesting reactions to… - Christopher Moore's Personal Blog

  4. I had the privilege of playing one of these Stuart and Sons concert grand pianos. It was very nice to the touch. The extra keys were not off putting to the performance but added.

    I played my own compositions in a foyer to a small crowd waiting for a show to begin.

    I finished and got up and a lady sitting near by said “Please keep playing, I am a beginning piano teacher and it is nice to hear a piano played as it should”. I replied isn’t that the best time to stop playing when people want more?. She laughed. Then one of the show organisers came up and asked me to keep playing. So I did.

    It was a very nice piano. The foyer surrounds contributed to the overall sound. I remember playing a Yamaha grand in a restaurant setting on carpet. That environment was acoustically similar. The Stuart and Sons concert piano would sound good anywhere but in the foyer it was well suited. I played for about 30 min so I would say twice that would be required for the player and instrument to become familier with each other.

    Regards
    Graham Okely

    1. Author

      Thanks, Graham, for the very interesting story about your experience playing a Stuart & Sons concert grand. It seems that your playing and compositions were well appreciated by those fortunate enough to hear them.

      By the way, I am not being lazy in using an ampersand in the Stuart & Sons name. If you check their website gallery you will see that they use their version of & as a logo on their pianos. Click here.

      Regards
      John Hill

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