The theme of aesthetic enhancements is carried over to the polished ebony 5' 10" Feurich F 178 grand, whose opened lid revealed a beautiful inner rim of bird’s-eye maple. Most impressive was the simple, open-design music desk — a sort of contemporary Craftsman furniture style carried over from the German Feurich pianos. A fringe benefit of this distinctive music desk was its sonic transparency; from the player’s perspective, most solid music desks reflect a good deal of the sound back into the piano.
The well-prepped F 178 I auditioned had a beautifully regulated action that was quite even, and controllable down to the softest dynamics. The touchweight was moderate, while the key dip — the distance the key travels downward when depressed — was slightly shallow. Its tone was focused and clear, but not bright and strident unless I pushed it past forte. Considering the Feurich’s modest size, its pitch clarity throughout the bass register was good, though the bass/tenor transition was more noticeable than I would have liked.
Priced near the higher-rated Chinese brands and less than Japanese-made Yamaha, Kawai, and Boston pianos of the same size, these new Feurich models are solid entries with real visual appeal in a growing segment of the market: pianos made in China with upgraded features and design elements. Dealer and additional model information can be found online at www.feurichusa.com.
Dr. Owen Lovell is an Assistant Professor of Piano at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. He concertizes frequently as a soloist, chamber musician, and advocate of new music. For more information, visit his website at www.owenlovell.com.