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Piano manufacturer escapes bankruptcy

Discussion in 'The Piano' started by rainer, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. rainer

    rainer New Member

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    A friend of a friend, who frequently visits Prague, has been hearing
    rumours, probably malicious, that cashflow problems at Petrof, the Czech
    family business which has been making pianos for nearly 150 years, are
    sufficiently severe as to risk forcing the company to close within a
    year unless a backer can be found to provide a major cash injection.

    He says secret negotiations have been taking place with various possible
    parties, and the latest gossip on the street is that agreement has just
    been reached with the giant consortium ONAI, little known outside the
    Czech Republic. The deal, due to be announced this week, is in effect a
    takeover, but the piano business will continue to be permitted to use
    the family name alongside that of the consortium. Starting this month,
    all instruments shipped from the factory will now be branded ONAIPETROF.

    Whoever the backer was going to be, a change of branding was going to be
    virtually unavoidable, and my friend thinks that the consortium's name
    was one of the factors which Petrof management took into account in
    their choice of backer, considering what you get when you spell the new
    brand name backwards.
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Neato! :)
     
  3. dctpianist

    dctpianist New Member

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    Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2012


    My spider senses are tingling... But that's still very clever :p
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh! That's a good one. :) I really didn't think it was an April Fools joke. I went and told this information to someone else too..... :oops: :lol:
     
  5. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    I would wait till Rainer confirms or denies that one.
     
  6. rainer

    rainer New Member

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    I hope you didn't tell it to anyone connected with Petrof's lawyers, or they'll be coming after me for libel. :(

    A year or so ago, a local school acquired a new Petrof grand piano, a brand I hadn't heard of before, but since the name sounded Eastern European, the implication was that the piano was most likely to have been relatively inexpensive (compared with, say, an equivalent Yamaha, and the school couldn't have afforded a new one of those, let alone a Steinway).

    I have this habit of sometimes looking at a word and imagining what it might spell backwards. So I looked again at the name and noted that it would spell "Fortep", which caused the usually feeble word-association part of my brain to spit out "Fortepiano". Wouldn't it be neat, thought I, if Mr Petrof's first name had been Onai. It seemed pretty unlikely that such a name even existed, but that doesn't mean it can't, so imagining it is OK.

    I was on the lookout for material for a possible April Fool's here, and remembered the Petrof piano. Then I thought that big corporations often use made up names which look as though they could be acronyms, but often aren't, so it seemed quite plausible that "Onai" could be the name of some obscure foreign corporation, and the rest of the story was very straightforward to fabricate. But that's just what it is, a fabrication.

    For the lawyers: I am not aware of any suggestion that the Petrof company is or has been in financial difficulty or in need of being bailed out by a takeover.

    For those of you who recognised it straight away as an April Fool's: Well done!

    For the rest of you: :mrgreen:
     
  7. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    Very good Rainer!
     
  8. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi rainer, you realize that someone reading this two months from now won't realize that this is creative fiction, let alone that it's meant as an April Fool's joke. Some might not even read beyond the opening thread as the headline alone might misinform them. This might become misleading as no one reads dates. I admit, you were making a convincing three paragraph argument until you mentioned ONAI. :p No corporate backer would change the Petrof name as that's the most valuable asset of name recognition. Just like Steinway has been bought out by several corporations. Personally, for the money, one is better off with August Forster or Grotrian without getting into Steinway/Fazioi prices. I thought you were going to say that a Chinese firm was going to buy the company/name. Hey, at this rate, it's bound to happen someday with many famous brand names...
     
  9. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I thought I had read somewhere that Baldwin bought Bosendorfer or the other way around. Except now I can't find where I saw that. Maybe I'm thinking of two different companies.... :?
     
  10. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    Gibson (guitars) bought Baldwin. :( But I don't think Baldwin is even in business anymore. Anybody know? I think it was Yamaha that bought Bosendorfer.
     
  11. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh! Then I can say that I have a Bosendorfer, sorta.... :lol:
     
  12. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Bosendorfer has been sold several times over. In 1966 Kimball pianos bought it. About ten years ago, a Hong Kong group BAWAG bought Bosendorfer. Then I remember reading in Forbes that they were acquired by an American hedge fund who in turn sold it to Yamaha about 5 years ago. It was a big blow to the Austrian pride to be outbid by a convincing margin, but Yamaha at the time was the largest piano company in terms of volume. Fortunately, Yamaha pledged to keep the maufacturing and employee relations in Austria. I actually thought thought that Schimmel could have acquired Bosendorfer just to keep things German, but they never budged.
     
  13. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yamaha is a smart company.
    Personally, I've never set a finger on a Bosendorfer so I can't claim to know what they are really like. I wouldn't mind trying one, though. :wink:
    Have you ever played one, George?
     
  14. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    You want to know why I love my Baldwin 7' so much? It has the very same action as does the 9', the Bosendorfers and the Bechsteins: the Renner-made action. 8)
     
  15. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica, yes, Yamaha is an intelligent company, and is a major player in the world of pianos offering exceptional value in my opinion. Yes, I've played on the 214 (7') and the 225 (7'4") Bösendorfer in Boston. Traditionally, the older Bösendorfer pianos have a linear sound without tonal brightness or overtones which distinguish them from a Fazioli, Mason & Hamlin, or Steinway. It lacks that full body tone, but provides a darker sound that is mellow and warm. It is great for music up to Schubert, but not for the later Romantics like Rachmaninov. The sound is a bit demure in that it doesn't project into a larger concert hall when playing a concerto with a full orchestra. I find that there is a slight disparity of tone between the bass and treble registers. I have noticed that the action is slow on repeated notes and is a bit heavy for my taste. It also has less sustain than what I am accustomed to on other pianos. That's why I could never justify the price. Besides, the softer spruce in the rim can have knots which can perforate through the finish and after a dozen years or so it can look unaesthetic for a $100k+ instrument.

    When I was in Vienna more recently, I played the 290 (9'6") Imperial Flügel. I noticed that the newer Bösendorfer pianos are toned brighter and the timbre is more percussive than the older Bösendorfer pianos I played on back in Boston several years back. This is a deviation from the traditional Viennese "Schmaltz" sound. I am not sure if this is a realization of Yamaha or Bösendorfer? Perhaps, in order to compete with the numerous bright sounding pianos of today, Bösendorfer is voicing their pianos to project a modern 'digital-ready' sound?

    As an aside, my favorite piano is the Feurich - a small family owned German piano company that used to import 75 pianos to the U.S. Sadly, we no longer import them here. Ha, if I were buying a piano company, that would be the company to buy, and one wouldn't have to overbid for it due to their output. Leave it to the Germans to design something right! These pianos have an excellent action, responsive to varying touch, able to project and deliver multiple shadings from pppp to ffff. It has Steinway-like projection, overtones, and sustain; a golden bell-like sound, but darker and richer sound for that nostalgic character of mystical proportion. Feurich offers the perfect blend of tone and timbre in my opinion for Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov. I've played on many different pianos, but never has a piano moved me like a Feurich to this day. At the time, I was only a student, and couldn't even afford to buy the bench that I was sitting on to play. Before my current piano, I wrote to them a few years ago inquiring about importing a F227 here. The owner, Julius Feurich, responded to my question - talk about personal service. I realized that there were too many inhibitive variables with shipping, climate issues, etc., so I never pursued it further. But, if you're ever in Germany or Paris, do try to play a Feurich when you get a chance... Play a Chopin Nocturne on it, then you'll know what I am talking about. :wink:

    However, and more importantly, your Yamaha is sounding better and better with each recording. So keep on smiling in your videos, and keep on making music in your recordings. :)

    Hope you have a Happy Easter!
    George
     
  16. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Dear George,
    Thank you for the kind words, I hope you have a very nice Easter too! :)

    And you never cease to amaze and delight me! :D That information about Bosendorfer pianos is very interesting. Even more interesting is that Feurich piano. I have not heard of it before. Is it a costly piano? Like in the range of Steinways/Bosendorfers/Faziolis? And you know I am going to Paris in September, so I will certainly be on the lookout for Feurich pianos!

    On a sort of different note, I just watched a movie tonight titled, "Midnight in Paris". Have you seen it? It's charming and right up my alley - about romance and time travel in Paris.


    (I also wish everybody else here a Happy Easter :) )
     
  17. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Dear Monica, I hope you'll encounter a Feurich on your epic trip. In the 1990s, Feurich was priced like a Grotrian or an August Förster, more expensive than Schimmel, but ~ 30% less than Steinway.

    Thank you for the movie suggestion! I love movies that take place in old cities like Rome or Paris - past or present. It adds so much culture and fascination to any plot. I have not seen Midnight In Paris. I am always ordering movies, so I'll have to add it to my list. Isn't there another Woody Allen movie that takes place in Paris too, I can't remember. I bet there are 50 movies, but the one's I remember seeing are Paris Je T'Aime, Amelie, Da Vinci Code, La Vie En Rose, Ronin, Rush Hour 3 (briefly), and Bourne Identity. And the latest one I bought was Hugo - a totally different twist for Martin Scorsese. I am sure your anxious for your trip, but, you know what? I heard that the best movie about Paris is yet to be released... In 5 months, it is you that will be starring in your own movie by walking along magical streets, hearing amazing stories, and discovering the fine institutions of Paris. You'll be limited only by one's imagination. Indeed, you will also go back in time with your own adventures and discoveries to last you a lifetime... :D

    BTW, I just received a bunch of "music" movies last week: Paganini's Daemon, Pianomania, Khachaturian, and Mozart's Sister. I saw Mozart's Sister a few days ago. It's mostly a true story of Nannerl, W. A. Mozart's older sister, and how she challenges the social order with her own ambition of becoming a female composer in the 1770s. It chronicles the family's visit to the court of France. I didn't know much about her story, but I liked the movie as it was different from anything that I have seen. The movie is in French, with English subtitles and contains charming period cinematography.

    George
     
  18. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I hope you like it. I like it so much that I want to watch it again. It's showing on Starz On-Demand right now if you have cable...?

    I know I have seen several movies filmed in Paris, too, but all I can think of right now is "Moulin Rouge" and "Les Miserables".

    That makes me laugh a little bit because just two nights ago, I was having trouble sleeping and turned on the tv around 3:00 in the morning and randomly started watching the Home Shopping Network. They were selling an HD camcorder and next thing you know, I bought one! lol

    I didn't know there was a movie about Khachaturian. And please let me know if you like "Pianomania". I've been meaning to watch Mozart's Sister too, so now I'll get that one also.
     
  19. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    OK Monica, it's done! I ordered Midnight in Paris, along with Un Coeur en Hiver (A Heart in Winter); Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring (which I've seen, but it's nice to have in the library); and Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol - I am a guy after all. :p I am curious about A Heart in Winter because I heard the violinist plays on a Vuillaume, and I'd like to compare its tone with mine. You know some of the best romantic movies I've seen have been Masterpiece Classics on PBS. Don't laugh, the British acting is superb - on a much higher standard than Hollywood to the point that it defies gender stereotypes about film genre. Some of Jane Austin's and Charles Dickens' novels which have been made to movies are all exceptional productions!

    Ooh yes, I forgot about Les Mis! You mentioned the movie Moulin Rouge... Never mind the movie, I strongly urge you book the show AND dinner combo at the Moulin Rouge as soon as you arrive! :shock: It's not what you think, believe me, you'll have such a fun time. The dinner is decent and the show is an unbelieveable spectacle! Remember to order a bottle of wine too (no single glasses here :lol: ). Check the weather for a cloudy/rainy night, then pre-book as the shows can sell out. :lol:

    The film on Khachaturian is a documentary, not a movie I think. I haven't opened Pianomania either, but I'll let you know about each one in a different thread.

    It looks like you're on your way with your new HD camcorder. Street Lights! HD Camera! Action Paris!....... :D
     
  20. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    George, I didn’t know you play violin too!! Wow!!

    Yes, I will do the show and dinner at the Moulin Rouge – with a bottle (or two!) of wine (oh my gosh, I can’t wait – I get so excited when I think about all this... :D)

    And speaking of movies, I think you must be clairvoyant or something because I am right now today watching a movie (while I commute on the train) called “Becoming Jane”. Also, last Sunday I finished watching Masterpiece theater’s “Great Expectations”. Isn't that amazing? :)
     

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