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162nd ANNIVERSARY Piano Sale

Musicians that composed on their Bechstein pianos include Edvard Grieg, Alexander Scriabin, Maurice Ravel, Béla Bartók, Franz Lizst. Oscar Peterson played and owned a Bechstein throughout much of his career, publicity contracts with rival manufacturers notwithstanding.

“Hans von Bülow, later first chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, became Bechstein follower and supporter. On 22 January, 1857, Bülow premiered Franz Liszt's B-minor Piano Sonata in Berlin on a Carl Bechstein grand piano.”

Carl Bechstein set out to manufacture a piano able to withstand the great demands imposed on the instrument by the virtuosi of the time, such as Franz Liszt. In 1857, Liszt’s son-in-law, Hans von Bulow, gave the first public performance on a Bechstein grand piano by performing Liszt's Piano Sonata in B minor in Berlin.

For over 160 years, Bechstein pianos have held a reputation as among the finest pianos in the world, competing with Bösendorfer and Steinway in construction, performance and tonal quality. The great composers Liszt, Wagner, Brahms, Debussy, and many others remarked on the marvelous tone they produced.

Bechstein’s “Royal Warrant”

Bechstein pianos were patronized by the Russian Tsars, the Royal Families of Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Austria and Denmark, and other royalty and aristocracy

Attribution: Eduard Hau [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Attribution: Eduard Hau [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In 1881 Bechstein began supplying pianos to Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and other royal residences. In 1886, Bechstein held a Royal Warrant as supplier to the Queen and several British Embassies across the globe acquired Bechstein pianos. Bechstein pianos were patronized by the Russian Tsars, the Royal Families of Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Austria and Denmark, and other royalty and aristocracy. The list of royal clients of Bechstein may be found on the soundboard of vintage Bechstein pianos made before the Second World War. The list is part of the original Bechstein trademark logo; it can be seen under the strings in the center of a piano's soundboard.

Who owned a Bechstein?

1860 Franz Liszt composes a new type of works for piano and Carl Bechstein provides suitable instruments. The great composer acquires his first Bechstein on 8 October 1860. The transaction appears in the company’s sales ledger with the buyer listed in a sober Prussian style: “Kapellmeister Liszt, Weimar.”
Photo: “Władysław Szpilman's photo at the Warsaw Uprising Museum”: By Adrian Grycuk (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons
Władysław Szpilman was a Polish pianist and classical composer. Szpilman is widely known as the protagonist of the 2002 Roman Polanski film “The Pianist” portrayed by Adrien Brody. He owned a Bechstein in his home in Warsaw until 1941.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Claude Dubussy, composer and performer, owned a concert-size Bechstein at his Moscow home, which is now a national museum, and Dubussy's piano is still played at scheduled recitals.
A dedication to Bechstein by Maurice Ravel.

Who performed on a Bechstein?

Photo: Bechstein The Legend Lives On.
Friends of Bechstein: Cosima von Bülow (later Cosima Wagner), Richard Wagner, Franz Liszt, Hans von Bülow, around 1869.
Another one of the founding fathers of the German operetta: Composer Max Winterfeld from Hamburg who became famous by the name of Jean Gilbert that he had adopted for the production of his first operetta in 1901.

Photo: Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
Johannes Brahms was among the great admirers of the Bechstein grand piano.
Leonard Bernstein - Touring Germany with the Vienna Philharmonic in 1971 Leonard Bernstein, writer of the musical “West Side Story”and director of the New York Philharmonic, played exclusively on C. Bechstein Concert Grand pianos.

Polish-American pianist Arthur Rubinstein (1887–1982) is regarded by many as the greatest Chopin interpreter of his time. Also legendary were his recitals at the Bechstein Hall in London (today: Wigmore Hall).

Photo: "Elton john cher show 1975" by CBS TelevisionUploaded by We hope at en.wikipedia - eBay itemphoto frontphoto backTransferred from en.wikipedia by SreeBot. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

The Bechstein concert grand at London's Trident Studios, over a century old and much sought-after for its sound, became one of the most frequently recorded instruments in rock history. The piano can be heard on The Beatles' "Hey Jude," Elton John's "Your Song," George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass," David Bowie's "Life on Mars?," Lou Reed's "Perfect Day," Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," Carly Simon's "You're So Vain," Nilsson's "Without You," and Supertramp's "Crime of the Century." It saw service in the studio from 1968 until the mid 1980s, and has since been sold at auction. The music video for Elton John's "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" features John playing a white Bechstein grand.

Photo: Attribution Link
Freddie Mercury (from Queen) Statue in Montreux, Switzerland

"With joy confesses to be the most enthusiastic supporter of the beautiful Bechstein grand pianos" Wilhelm Backhaus, Sept. 1925
Photo: Attribution Link.
Above: Famous pianist Josef Hofmann performed the piano concerto No. 1 in E minor by Frédéric Chopin on a C. Bechstein grand piano at the Berlin Philharmonie. The concert with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and chief conductor Arthur Nikisch took place October 14th, 1895

Who competes on a Bechstein?

Photo: Samuel Cortès
At Europe's largest piano festival, the Festival International de Piano La Roque d'Anthéron, despite strong competition, around 50 percent of the pianists decide to play their concerts on the C. Bechstein Concert grand piano D 282; these include Boris Berezovsky, Michel Dalberto, David Fray, Alice Sara Ott, Abdel Rahman El Bacha, Lise de la Salle, and Zhu Xiao-Mei.

Above: Abdel Rahman El Bacha performed Ludwig van Beethoven's piano concerto No. 5 on a C. Bechstein grand piano D 282. The performance with the Sinfonia Varsovia was broadcasted live on Radio France (france musique)

RAI TV7 - XXV Concorso Pianistico Internazionale "Roma" - The 25th ROMA piano competition was held on C. Bechstein. See this documentary of Italian TV channel RAI about the fabulous young talents performing on our instruments
Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover first prize winner performs on the C. Bechstein D 282 - Veronika Kopjova performed "Allegro de concierto" - composed by Enrique Granados - on a C. Bechstein grand piano D 282 live during the prize winner concert of the C. Bechstein competition for piano students of the "Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover" in Hannover on June 12th, 2010. She won the 1st prize.

On the following website you can find many other recordings on Bechstein pianos: & Here you will find many more exceptional artists who have performed or recorded on Bechstein pianos:

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