For those of you in a hurry, here is the last paragraph which could have come from my own brain:
To be sure, Steinways are tremendous instruments and have earned their glory. But should any one brand be that dominant? A modern piano is a matter of iron and steel and high-tech and some degree of assembly line. In the days of Beethoven and Schubert, it was a matter of one man or woman (such as the legendary Nannette Streicher) with hammers, saws, planes, and chisels, and there were myriad visions of what a piano could be. Stephen Porter notes that now in Europe a number of artisanal makers are creating first-rate reproductions of old instruments. There are fewer pursuing that trade here. In America, these days, we mainly have Michael Frederick and his Historic Piano Collection, our own testament to the value of diversity and the subtle splendors of low-tech.