Personal reflections On the Bluthner Model D
Working in a pianos shop, you do get used to playing lots of good pianos regularly. If the truth be told, I am probably becoming a bit of a piano snob and I take it for granted now that one day I will end up buying a high end piano. So, im fussy, and rather picky when it comes to the pianos. Today though I really was amazed anew by what a beautiful little upright piano the Bluthner model D was. In our day and age it is not really the done thing to offer such unconditional praise for anything, we must be understated and underwhelmed at all times. Regardless of the 21st century need for restraint I felt compelled to share my passion for this piano, apologies in advance for the unashamed enthusiasm but, it is what it is.
What was it about the Bluthner piano this morning that caused my heart to beat a bit faster? Well, I must confess it was first the bass notes of the piano but quickly I realised the whole keyboard was blessed with the most wonderful sound. Rich, full, resonant and with a tone so expressive I could actually feel it encouraging me to go beyond my current expressive capability as a pianist. The bass on this piano is so lyrical and expressive it is almost reminiscent of cello notes, worthy of a solo in its own right…it has such a singing almost vibrato like quality. The most remarkable thing of all however, is that this is not a tall upright, not by any standards. So how does the Bluthner model D manage to produce such a wonderful tone and yet still be such a diminutive upright?
The Bluthner model D is 116cm high, as pianos go, this is a modest height. For comparative purposes the Yamaha U1 and Kawai K300 are 121cm tall, this may not sound like a lot but this structural height does have quite an impact on the pianos overall footprint. The conventional wisdom is that bigger pianos allow for longer strings, bigger soundboards and therefore a fuller and more powerful bass. Considering this it is really a tribute to Bluthners craftsmanship that they are able to craft a small piano that retains such a beautifully strong bass. It is like some kind of piano building magic, testament to the five generations of piano building experience that stand behind the Bluthner name. Every Bluthner piano is still handbuilt in Leipzig, Germany and to this day one of the hallmarks of Bluthner pianos is their warm, rich and lyrical tone. It also helps that the Bluthner tone ages in a particularly lovely way. So it is not just new Bluthner pianos that sound good but the older restored ones retain a depth and warmth that is beloved down generations.
There are many composers, pianists and musicians throughout history that have favoured Bluthner pianos, such as Franz liszt, Arthur Rubinstein and John Lennon. It is nice to know that in sharing my appreciation for the Bluthner tone I am in good company. This morning I felt maybe just a little bit of love and certainly a whole lot of reverence for this most exceptional piano and that made my day a better one. Maybe it’s not the done thing to announce our passions so publicly, but every once in a while, it is good for the soul to remember the lovely things that make our lives more beautiful. So, here it is, thankyou Bluthner for brightening my day, the world is undoubtedly a nicer place because of your pianos.