I’m in Charleston SC right now (really great city!) and just heard Valentina Lisitsa play the Tchaikovsky 1 with the Warsaw Philharmonic. Valentina is a big Bosendorfer fan, and the feeling is mutual. But our bank of concert pianos can’t completely keep up with the vast range of her performances, and we don’t have a piano near Charleston.
So, imagine my surprise to see a shiny Yamaha CFIIIS on the stage. I’m rather partial to the CFIIIS, having managed the Yamaha US Artist Relations program for 10 years. Oh, and I also own one. I believe that the world needs more than one concert piano and Yamaha has worked very very hard to give the world one, with the resources to put it out where people can see (hear) it. You could call the world of concert pianos a zero sum game (any win for one is a loss for the others). However, when faced with a monopoly, the game is somewhat different. If any instrument can fight it’s way onto the concert stage in a consistent and satisfying manner, then that instrument is good for all the ones fighting the same fight. The monopoly’s domain is slightly smaller and someone else has planted a stake.
This particular Yamaha was extremely satisfying. Plenty of power (remember, it’s Tchaik 1) with extraordinary tone and sustain in the soft lyrical parts. Yet, still with a sound of its own. Really nice piano…oh, and played by somebody pretty extraordinary herself!!