New York, New York
Sara's search for the perfect piano began decades ago and evolved into what has become our life-work: setting the standard in restoring the legendary sound, touch, and look to vintage Steinway and Mason & Hamlin pianos. Our craftsmen work their magic in a highly specialized factory in Dobbs Ferry, New York, a short drive or train ride from our showroom in Manhattan. In addition to our rebuilt pianos, we've sold new pianos from many top makers. While we know all of these pianos intimately, our most extensive experience has been with rebuilt vintage Steinways and Mason & Hamlins, new Mason & Hamlins, and modern-day Estonias.
Rebuilt Vintage Steinways and Mason & Hamlins: For many years, beginning in the late 1800s, Steinway was the dominant manufacturer in the high-end piano sector. Their pianos had the highest esteem, the greatest recognition, and the largest following among professional pianists and lay people alike. People loved the wide array of tone colors, the multi-layered textures, and the extraordinary complexity of tone that were Steinway's hallmarks, and that to this day virtually no other piano can match. In 1900, Mason & Hamlin introduced a revolutionary new piano with a sound that was distinctive, yet in many ways very much like Steinway's. Its advanced structural features clearly distinguished it from all other pianos. For the next 50 years, these two companies produced some of the finest, most sought-after pianos ever built. The degrees of dynamic range that could be achieved by these pianos--from delicate, melodic whispers to hair-raising, thunderous chords--delighted countless audiences, and have yet to be surpassed. When a Steinway or Mason & Hamlin from this "vintage" era is properly restored, the result is a piano that is the first choice of many professional and advanced amateur pianists. The wonderfully responsive actions transmit nuances perfectly, but also have virtually unlimited capacity when a powerful player is in command. The warm, rich, orchestral sounds of these pianos continue to touch the hearts and souls of concertgoers every day.
Like many other piano makers, Mason & Hamlin went through a period in which its pianos were less than they should have been. But by the mid-1990s, to the delight of Mason & Hamlin fans, the concerted efforts of a small group of highly dedicated and passionate piano engineers and craftsmen had succeeded in resurrecting the substance and the essence of the great vintage Mason & Hamlins. The new-era Mason & Hamlins, designed to be as identical as possible to the great originals of the early 1900s (but with clear improvements, especially in the action), are a true joy to play and to hear. Their actions are as smooth as silk; the richness, power, and remarkable textures that defined the old Mason & Hamlins define the new ones as well. The Mason & Hamlin is the only important new piano we know of that has returned so faithfully to its roots, allowing us to truly re-experience the qualities of piano sound that thrilled both players and listeners a century ago.
The new star among pianos is, without a doubt, Estonia, completely re-created during the past dozen years by Estonian engineers under the direction of Indrek and Veno Laul. Closely resembling the Hamburg Steinway in both sound and touch, the Estonia combines, in one instrument, some of the best qualities of the great American pianos with those of the high-end Europeans. Its rich, full-bodied, and three-dimensional sound is American-like, whereas its purity and clarity are European-like. Its most distinguishing feature is its wonderfully sustaining, lyrical tone. More than anything else, it is this quality of tone that defines the Estonia piano and gives it its own special place in the high-end market.
FALL 2009 -- page 75
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Hybrid & Player Pianos