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Piano Street Introduces New Concept: Urtext & Instructive Edition

On the recent Music Education Expo in London, Piano Street presented a new concept for sheet music publication: The Piano Street Urtext & Instructive Edition

Scores for all stages of learning

Thanks to the possibilities of digital technology we are no longer limited to just one specific edition of a piano composition when going through the various stages of learning. Depending on your own level of experience and where you are in the learning process of a particular piece, you may need fingering, pedal markings, practice and performance tips, or perhaps the right opposite – a clean Urtext score.

Marking the start of the Piano Street’s series of Rachmaninoff Editions with the famous Prelude in C-sharp minor, Op. 3 No. 2, all these aspects are taken into account in one single publication containing:

1. Introduction to the piece: History and a brief analysis of the composition.

2. Practice tips: Preparatory exercises which greatly facilitates the learning of the piece.

3. PS Instructive Edition: An educational edition covering all the information a teacher would give you during your first couple of lessons with the piece, including:

  • Detailed fingering with alternatives for small hands
  • Pedal instructions including Piano Street’s unique half-pedal marking
  • Technical advice
  • Artistic advice

4. PS Urtext: The clean score. Exactly what the composer wrote, no more, no less.

Special introductory offer:

Download and print the new four-part publication of Rachmaninoff’s C-sharp minor Prelude for free!
(Offer valid through April 30)

If this piece is far above your level of playing, we invite you to instead try out the Instructive Edition of Chopin’s Prelude in E minor for free.

Stay tuned! More Instructive Editions are coming soon to pianostreet.com…


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How will You Sound on Horowitz’s CD 503?

Steinway & Sons recently announced that Vladimir Horowitz’s legendary Steinway Model D continues its tour through 2014. This is a unique chance for the public to see, hear and even play the master’s favorite instrument – the Steinway CD 503 – used on his tours during his last years 1985-89.

The CD 503 has a very light and extremely touch-sensitive action. It has a crashing, thunderous bass and a transparent treble. While many pianists who have tried the piano agree that the action is even and it is a pleasure to play the instrument, it is clearly not the only magic bullet required to reach Horowitz’s level of artistic mastery.
Hear the master and his instrument in this legendary recital:

Recital: Horowitz in Vienna (1987)

Mozart Rondo in D, K. 485
Mozart – Sonata in B-flat, K. 333:
Mvt. 1: Allegro
Mvt. 2: Andante cantabile
Mvt. 3: Allegretto grazioso

Schubert – Impromptu in G-flat, op. 90 no. 3
Schubert/Liszt – Soirées de Vienne, no. 6

SCHUMANN – Kinderszenen, op. 15
1. Von fremden Ländern und Menschen
2. Kuriose Geschichte
3. Hasche-Mann
4. Bittendes Kind
5. Glückes genug
6. Wichtige Begebenheit
7. Träumerei
8. Am Kamin
9. Ritter vom Steckenpferd
10. Fast zu ernst
11. Fürchtenmachen
12. Kind im Einschlummern
13. Der Dichter spricht

Chopin – Mazurka, op. 33 no. 4
Chopin – Polonaise in A-flat, op. 53
Liszt – Consolation no.3 in D-flat,
Schubert – Moment Musical in F minor, op. 94 no. 3
Moszkowski – Etincelles, op.26 no. 6

Documentary from 1985:

The Last Romantic (82 min.)

The long career of the last romantic

Described as the greatest pianist since Franz Liszt, Horowitz’s world wide career spanned nearly 70 years since his debut in 1920. Horowitz evidently suffered from anxiety and depression which led to long career breaks, especially from 1953-65 and from 1969-74.
In 1985, Horowitz returned to concertizing and recording. His first post-retirement appearance was not on stage, but in the documentary film Vladimir Horowitz: The Last Romantic. In 1986 and as a consequence of the new relation between the USA and the USSR, Horowitz returned for the first time since 1925 for concerts in Moscow and Leningrad. Following the Russian concerts, Horowitz toured several European cities including Berlin, Amsterdam, and London. The final tour took place in Europe in 1987 and his legendary recital at the Musikverein in Vienna was documented on a video which was released by Deutsche Grammophone in 1991. His final recital, in Hamburg, Germany, took place on June 21, 1987.

Reader questions

  • What, besides the unique instrument, makes Horowitz’s playing so exceptional?
  • Which is your favourite Horowitz recording?
  • If you have played the CD 503, what was your impression?


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The Van Cliburn Memorial Concert 2014

To mark the one-year anniversary of the death of legendary pianist Van Cliburn, the Fort Worth-based foundation that bears his name hosted The Van Cliburn Memorial Concert in Sundance Square Plaza on February 27. In the first event of its kind, eight former Cliburn Competition award winners performed short solo recitals on the outdoor stage of the plaza in downtown Fort Worth.

The free concert was live-streamed through Cliburn.org. The participating pianists covered a competition history ranging from 1985 until 2013. Hear the full concert below.

Van Cliburn Memorial Concert – February 27, 2014 – Program:

Yakov Kasman, 1997 silver medalist (18:15)

RACHMANINOV – Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor, op. 36 (1913)
Allegro agitato
Non allegro – Lento
L’istesso tempo – Allegro molto

Simone Pedroni, 1993 gold medalist (44:23)

Suite from Lincoln

Steven Lin, 2013 jury discretionary award winner (1:17:30)

DEBUSSY – Selections from Suite bergamasque
Clair de lune

Fantasy in F-sharp Minor, op. 28

Maxim Philippov, 2001 silver medalist (1:41:42)

SCHUMANN – Sonata in F-sharp Minor, op. 28
Introduzione: Un poco Adagio – Allegro vivace
Scherzo: Allegrissimo – intermezzo: Lento
Finale: Allegro, un poco maestoso

Alexey Koltakov, 2001 finalist (2:11:35)

Après une Lecture du Dante

José Feghali, 1985 gold medalist (2:30:09)

SCHUMANN – Kinderszenen, op. 15
1. Von fremden Ländern und Menschen
2. Kuriose Geschichte
3. Hasche-Mann
4. Bittendes Kind
5. Glückes genug
6. Wichtige Begebenheit
7. Träumerei
8. Am Kamin
9. Ritter vom Steckenpferd
10. Fast zu ernst
11. Fürchtenmachen
12. Kind im Einschlummern
13. Der Dichter spricht

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

Antonio Pompa-Baldi, 2001 silver medalist (2:59:07)

Ballade No. 2 in B Minor
Les chemins de l’amour
Paraphrase on Verdi’s “Ernani”

Alexander Kobrin, 2005 gold medalist (3:29:04)

TCHAIKOVSKY – Selections from The Seasons, op. 37b

More on The Van Cliburn Competition:

The 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and a 50th Anniversary

The 14th Van Cliburn – Merging High Quality Performance with Hi-End Technology


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International Piano – Mar/Apr 2014

A new issue of International Piano is out!
Content highlights:

  • The Yamaha CFX comes to Abbey Road
  • CPE Bach tercentenary – Marking the great composer’s 300th anniversary
  • Festivals around the globe
  • Austria-bound – View from Grafenegg
  • Street life: Unstoppable rise of the public piano
  • Piano makers: What’s next for Pleyel?
  • Contemporary music: John McCabe at 75
  • Adolf von Henselt – A potted biography

Piano Street Gold members have instant online access to the digital version of the magazine.


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Piano Vintage – Italian Excellence Bringing Old Steinways Back to Life

One of the most interesting exhibitors at the Cremonafiere Exhibition’s piano part – the so called CremonaPianoforte – this fall was a company and workshop called Piano Vintage. The company performs a type of restoration dictated from the work philosophy and experience of the “Steinway Academy”. The instruments on display at the Cremona exhibition were vintage Steinway grand pianos carefully restored into its original state maintaining the unique identity of each instrument. This is achieved by applying particular techniques that diversify and characterize each sound board according to its original type.

The greatest risk for a restorer is to insist on a certain type of sound quality result for the project on hand, but which is completely alien to the core identity of the instrument. Therefor Piano Vintage’s work consists in understanding the constructive details and the logic of every minute step towards a precise expressive sound finale. Being able to renew the original
sound with innovated techniques aimed at giving back its internal energy, Piano Vintage is able to bring back life to old Steinways while insuring a quality that meets the most demanding expectations.

Interview with Andrea De Biasi

Piano Street’s Patrick Jovell had a chance to talk to Andrea De Biasi, who is heading the workshop located in Pescatina in the Italian Verona province.

Patrick Jovell: It has been very interesting and inspiring hearing a large number of accomplished pianists trying your restored Steinway pianos during the exhibition. My spontaneous reaction is the freshness of sound as well as the balanced sonority character. How did the project and specifically the collaboration with the vintage Steinway instruments start?

Andrea De Biasi: The Piano Vintage project wasn’t born from restoring Steinway pianos, built in particular periods, but it is a necessary consequence determined by the level of deterioration of the original sound performance. I will explain myself better: because of its structural system and mechanical strength, in relation to one another, a piano is destined to lose its original sonority over a period of 30 to 50 years. Practically speaking, in as much as we are able to put an instrument in conditions, favorable for its perfect preservation, the sound that is generated from the soundboard undergoes an evolution with time. It manifest initially with loss of freshness and energy of the sound force, finding a balance and a good natured sound in its mid-life, but with an energetic load that gradually depletes, resulting in the end in a rigid sound and a loss of character. Naturally this evolution doesn’t take into consideration the deterioration of the materials, the unfavorable environment and the mechanical parts that generate the sound input and are a disturbance in the sound perception of the soundboard.

PJ: I would like to ask you about your clients. Who is asking for your services?

ADB: For Piano Vintage, with a new soundboard built on the original one, the market is in evolution because in Europe there are truly very few laboratories that take on work of this kind and in Italy we are the only one. As regards ordinary restoration, our clients are pianists who want to recuperate, in the best way possible, the sound of the piano in order to have an instrument capable of top class performances such as with brand new instruments. I would say even better from certain points of view, because the Vintage restoration is certainly that of exclusive, non-standardized, high-performing instruments.

PJ: Which are the reactions from professional pianists trying restored Steinway pianos?

ADB: The first reaction is astonishment when the year of conservation is revealed to them because pianists do not notice the age of the piano due to the freshness of its sound. At the same time they are fascinated by the beauty of the sound that has an image and imprint clearly different from new Steinway pianos, but at the same time very similar. For us, here at Piano Vintage, this certainly confirms our objective from which our work originates.

PJ: The domination of modern Steinway instruments today works as a sort of hallmark for how concert grand pianos should sound. What has happened to the Steinway sound during the last 100 years from your point of view?

ADB: Steinway is the inventor of the modern piano and his project was the result of an intuition, talent and musical sensibility abreast of the times but already projected into the future. Everyone knows the famous collaboration between the great pianists of the past and the house of Steinway, always attentive to technical interpretative developments of the pianist. From our point of view, and we are not alone, the Steinway sound is standardized at ever increasing levels of excellence but at the same time the instruments are homogenized. From the perception point of view they seem to be pianos very similar and the most beautiful or special is more difficult to identify. This factor is certainly positive from a business point of view and it is the result of the productive Steinway system, still handcrafted, but an industrial craftsmanship that uses technology in certain phases where it was once the work of expert craftsmen. In particular for the construction and assembly of soundboards, jumper wires and cast iron frame made by numerical controlled machines that are capable of improving with special software the construction parts beginning from the measurements and sounding echo, of the initial constructive elements – shaft and cast iron frame.

From my own personal point of view a piece of humanity was taken in the constructive phase that determined the difference of one instrument from another favoring a majority precision that excludes however the natural intuition for solutions that is man’s prerogative.

PJ: There has always existed a firm bond between the development of instruments and how pianists play them. Pianists 100 years ago did not play the piano in the same way pianists do today. Does this affect your work? I mean, you are actually recreating instruments for living pianists and not the dead.

ADB: We merely attempt to enhance the sound that these instruments, built in the past, already possess because we are convinced that if we offer pianists the possibility of playing instruments unlike those of today can be a stimulation for an interpretative experience and research with different horizons and maybe even more stimulating.

PJ: When you are restoring Steinway concert pianos, do you have to take acoustical questions into consideration? Concert halls today require a different set-up when it comes to overall sound production?

ADB: In reality it’s not the environment or the eventual use that influence the restoration process, even though it is taken into consideration. It is the personality and the characteristic sound of the piano that have to be enhanced . It would be risky restoring a piano that would play better only in a certain environment or lose its identity. The restoration process is always guided by the instrument itself, step by step using carefully selected materials and optimized in the best way possible. We have learned the following at the Steinway Academy: an obsessive attention to detail linked with a determined constructive method leads to the realization of the best sound possible for that instrument and not the best sound that we imagine because that doesn’t exist and above all each pianist has his own ideal sound that is the result of his cultural baggage of artistic and technical studies not to mention his talent and individual sensitivity.

PJ: Your work tickles our imagination and there is a feeling of entering a time machine when playing your instruments. What can we – as pianists – learn from playing restored instruments?

ADB: I believe that it will be the Vintage restored piano itself that will guide the pianists on this journey in time and past sound and what they will learn will be their own personal discover as if on a journey in a country never visited before.

We would like to offer this opportunity to make an ancient sound trip but which is actually in the present.

Visit the Piano Vintage’s website:


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