• 1.  Superlative Piano Recordings

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 25 days ago
    Hello all,

    This topic gets touched upon every once in a while, and again recently, but I'd like to see a compiled list of technician's favourite superlative recordings of well-voiced and well-tuned pianos. Recordings that you would recommend for a beginner learning voicing. Recordings that make you think, "I wish I could make unisons sing like that". And obviously, recordings that are recorded in such a way that you can hear it all crystal-clearly. I'm not so interested in the artistic merits of the pianist or composer as I am on the merits of the piano. Bonus points if you are able to share any history about the piano or the tech who serviced it.

    Peter Stevenson RPT
    P.S. Piano Service
    Prince George BC
    (250) 562-5358

  • 2.  RE: Superlative Piano Recordings

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 25 days ago

    That's a really good idea, Peter.

    For sheer beauty of sound I've liked the Glenn Gould recordings of the Bach violin sonatas, played with Jaime Laredo, issued by SONY.

    hmmm,, let's see about finding some YouTube.


    Your results will differ with the quality of your computer's speaker system, and since I own the CD's I can say that the sound of them is better than YouTube. I remember the evening when I first heard this on the radio. I was in the weekly chat room many years ago (I remember Don Mannino was there, too) and I talked with a lot of excitement about "ear candy."

    I believe these were recorded in Toronto in Eaton Auditorium, and the Steinway D was Gould's favorite, before it was dropped, never to be the same again. That Ted Sambell had tuned for them at Stratford in its early days was also a bonus for me.

    YouTube has added some damned advertising, which wasn't there the last time I listened.

  • 3.  RE: Superlative Piano Recordings

    Posted 25 days ago
    Good idea!  Adjectives and descriptions of tone can be piled high to the ceiling but mean nothing if there is nothing to relate them to. Add to that, different technicians sometimes use different words to describe things. Not only recordings of well-voiced hammers, but also of poor sound as well, highlighting the different components of properly-voiced hammers.

    Robert Sluss
    Lake City FL
    (386) 752-1888

  • 4.  RE: Superlative Piano Recordings

    Posted 25 days ago
    In near 40 years of tuning I believe https://youtu.be/AHAZjcPmtrs?t=717 to be my best with an 1885 Bechstein. Later there are duet performances which bring the whole instrument's focus into the spotlight.

    Within the context of a 220 year old instrument https://youtu.be/xwh4Xb1waC0?t=704 expresses its character and https://youtu.be/xwh4Xb1waC0?t=958 the "improvement" of an instrument from 1854. These are not the instruments to bring into "concert" condition though, so not what you're looking for but from a sound engineering point of view, accurately representing the experience we find in the instrument.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sb6pt3OvU_o is a modern Steinway freshly tuned.

    https://youtu.be/PmuVipZMmK0?t=343 is the Bechstein with trio and https://youtu.be/WKbq54Zf-OU?t=3068 a Yamaha G3 from memory. 

    Many of these are using vintage microphones, Geloso 416, Lustraphone VR63.

    https://youtu.be/mnTDkj5dYYc?t=5272 was a Fazioli for which the owner thanked me for my work effusively and I learned that he'd sold the instrument following this concert.

    This was recorded with a stereo pair of AKG D202 and some three feet lower a mid-side capacitor pair, mixed in at a ratio of around just 10% giving sparkle and a 3D image with the piano in front of the orchestra.

    Best wishes

    David P
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    +44 1342 850594

  • 5.  RE: Superlative Piano Recordings

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 24 days ago
    When I was new in the piano service field, I attended voicing classes and demonstrations. They were baffling. The instructor would find a hammer that needed attention, do some needling, and then say, “There. That blends the tone with the neighboring hammers.” Or,”Hear the difference?” I didn’t hear the difference.

    Leaning to voice is similar to learning aural tuning. In fact, that’s an important reason to master aural tuning. It helps to know the voicing techniques, but they require good listening. It takes time and practice just to hear things, let alone do something.

    My advice is, stop before you go too far. Pause. Invite the pianist to test what you’ve done and let you stand back and listen. Let the pianist guide you, even though their vocabulary may not be very helpful. I don’t know how many times I thought I hadn’t done enough, but the pianist loved the result.

    Richard West

  • 6.  RE: Superlative Piano Recordings

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 25 days ago
    My favorite piano recordings are Piano Music of Erik Satie, Vol's 1 - 6, by Aldo Ciccolini. Recorded in stereo in the mid '60s and released on vinyl by Capitol/Angel (EMI). These sound like distance, (as opposed to close miced), recordings made in a large hall. To me these recordings are what a well prepped and properly recorded classical piano should sound like. All I can find on who, what, where, when is that they were recorded in France.

    The only available source for these recordings that I could find online is Archive.org. A great resource for old and hard to find stuff. Fairly decent vinyl transfers but yes, it's vinyl so there is a little surface noise. Here is the entire Volume 4.


    I think it was in the '80s that Ciccolini recorded them again for, I think, Warner Bros. Perhaps, by then, I may have just become so used to the Capital/Angel recordings that the WB recordings just sounded wrong. Mostly because they sounded to close. Not enough air. Almost forced by comparison to the Capital/Angel recordings, which have always sounded to me like I was sitting there in the same room listening to him play.

    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA

  • 7.  RE: Superlative Piano Recordings

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 24 days ago


    In my opinion, the soundtrack for the movie " Nomadland"  probably has the most evenly well-voiced, and exquisitely tuned piano I've heard to date. That all being said, much credit needs to be given to the recording engineers and their techniques used for this recording. There have been a lot of great pianos used by various artists which exhibit some incredible talent from our technical community.  But unfortunately, much gets lost and covered in the recording techniques.   On the " Nomadland" recording, pay close attention to the consistency in the articulation of each note. There is a clear, defined tonal element where all of the partials are perfectly balance.  That is voicing to the highest degree.

    Nomadland Soundtrack Music - Complete Song List | Tunefind

    Tom Servinsky 

    Registered Piano Technician

    Concert Artist Piano Technician

    Director/Conductor- Academy Orchestra

    Managing Conductor-Treasure Coast Youth Symphony

    Clarinetist-Atlantic Classical Orchestra


    Website: tomservinsky.com

    772 221 1011 office

    772 260 7110 cell


  • 8.  RE: Superlative Piano Recordings

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 24 days ago
    I would like to add the latest from Bill Charlap - Street Of Dreams. It's a new Steinway and it sounds delicious. There's plenty of classical recordings that will get mentioned, but I'm getting the word out on this sublime Jazz Trio album.


  • 9.  RE: Superlative Piano Recordings

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 24 days ago

    Here's another, newly found this morning. One of my favorite pianists, Simon Trpceski, but this one had slipped past me till today. Prokofiev 3.


    Very beautifully voiced and tuned. Stands up to heavy playing and stays immaculate. The octave stretch is elegant and exactly matches the orchestra, which luckily also plays very well in tune. The high end stretch makes my ear very happy while still matching the orchestra.

    And the regulation is obviously excellent.