1771 Post Road East
Westport, Connecticut 06880
Pianos made by: Feurich Klavier-u.Fluegelfabrikation GmbH, Gunzenhausen, Germany; and Ningbo Hailun Musical Instruments Co. Ltd., Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China
This German piano manufacturer was founded in Leipzig in 1851 by Julius Feurich. At its height in the early part of the 20th century, the company employed 360 people, annually producing 1,200 upright and 600 grand pianos. Like many German manufacturers, however, Feurich lost its factory during World War II. Following the war, the fourth generation of the Feurich family rebuilt in Langlau, in what became West Germany.
In 1991 Bechstein purchased Feurich and closed the Langlau factory, but in 1993 the name was sold back to the Feurich family. For a time, production was contracted out to other German manufacturers, including Schimmel, while the Feurich family marketed and distributed the pianos. In 1995 Feurich opened a new factory in Gunzenhausen, Germany. Under the direction of Julius Feurich, the fifth generation, the family-owned company is once again building its own pianos, and is currently making about 50 to 60 high-quality instruments per year in two sizes of grand and two sizes of vertical. All pianos and parts are made in Germany.
In 2011, Feurich entered a cooperative relationship with Wendl & Lung, which marketed, primarily in Europe, a line of Wendl & Lung pianos manufactured under contract by Hailun in China. Under the agreement, this line will now be marketed under the Feurich name, and several new and redesigned models will be added. Use of the Wendl & Lung brand name will be discontinued. The two vertical and two grand models currently made in Germany under the Feurich label will continue to be produced there, using only the highest-quality German parts and materials, and over the next few years three larger grand models will be introduced. In addition to being differentiated from the Chinese pianos by designs, sizes, and model numbers, the German pianos will contain the inscription "Handmade in Germany." See the review of Feurich (Ningbo) pianos in this issue of Piano Buyer.
Feurich offers an optional Harmonic Pedal on its Chinese-made grand pianos. This fourth pedal is essentially the inverse of a sostenuto — instead of holding up the dampers of notes pressed prior to depressing the pedal, it holds up all but those notes. The effect, known as "remanence harmony," is to allow the overtones of the depressed notes to sing out in a sustained fashion.
Warranty: 5 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.
German American Trading Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 17789
Tampa, Florida 33682
Pianos made by: August Förster GmbH, Löbau, Germany
The Förster factory was founded by Friedrich August Förster in 1859 in Löbau, Germany, after Förster studied the art of piano building with others. During the years of control by the government of East Germany, the factory was managed by the fourth-generation piano maker Wolfgang Förster and his daughter, Annekatrin. Since the reunification of Germany and privatization, Wolfgang and his family once again own the company.
With a workforce of 40 using a great deal of hand labor, Förster makes about 120 grands a year in four sizes, and 150 verticals a year in three sizes. The pianos are very well built structurally, and the cabinets are elegant. Rims and pinblocks are of beech, soundboards of solid mountain-grown spruce, and bridges are of hardrock maple (without graphite). Each string is individually terminated (single-strung). The actions are made by Renner with Renner hammers. A sostenuto pedal is standard on all grand models.
The tone of August Förster grands is unique, with a remarkable bass: dark, deep, yet clear. As delivered from the factory, the treble is often quite bright, and for some American tastes might be considered a bit thin — it is a less complex sound that emphasizes clarity. This, however, can be modified somewhat with voicing and a good dealer preparation. The instruments are quite versatile, at home with Mozart or Prokofiev, classical or jazz. The 6' 4" model is often said to have an especially good scale. The concert-quality 7' 2" and 9' 1" models are well balanced tonally, and over the years have been endorsed by many famous artists. The Renner actions are very responsive and arrive in exacting regulation. The new 53" model 134K anniversary upright, intended for pianists who don’t have space for a grand, has such grand-piano–like features as a full sostenuto; a large, adjustable music desk; and black keys of real ebony.
Most of the comments regarding the quality of materials and workmanship of the Förster grands also apply to the verticals. The cabinet of the vertical is of exceptional width, with extra-thick side panels of solid-core stock. Counter bridges are used on the outside of the soundboard to increase its mass. The verticals have a full set of agraffes, and all the hardware and handmade wood parts are of elegant quality. The actions are built by Renner. The verticals possess the same warm, rich, deep bass tone as the grands.
Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.