The story behind the Steinway piano-making company reveals how a penniless German immigrant family rose to wealth and power within four generations despite hardship and tragedy and cites the historical impact that the Steinway piano has made. 20,000 first printing.
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This new book about the Steinway family falls short of its ambitions. Journalist/scriptwriter Fostle has done an extraordinary amount of research into the family and its contribution to the development of the modern piano. He is informative about the evolution of the piano and the many technological innovations that allowed the Steinway name to dominate the industry for more than 100 years. He even succeeds in presenting a vivid picture of a fiercely competitive business and of the thriving musical life of New York City in the latter half of the 19th century. Unfortunately, the wealth of detail that is the book's strength is also its biggest problem. Fostle packs the pages with quotes from contemporary news reports, statistics about immigration, and lengthy passages about social ills that are not always directly relevant to the story and are often a distraction. Also, Fostle's writing can tend toward the lurid, without ever actually bringing the charcters to life. For the wealth of information to be found by the patient reader, this book is recommended for academic libraries and large music collections; a better choice for public libraries is Ronald Ratcliffe's Steinway (Chronicle, 1989).
Kate McCaffrey, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, N.Y.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In 1850, an obscure cabinetmaker named Heinrich Steinweg moved with his wife and children from Germany to Manhattan's Lower East Side and founded a soon-to-be-renowned piano company that remained in the family until 1972. Fostle (Speedboat), drawing on Steinway family documents and material from New York City libraries and archives, here tells the story of the world-famous piano and the four generations of Steinways who manufactured it. In a virtuoso performance, he combines portraits of family members and their internecine struggles?particularly those resulting from the financial practices of Heinrich's son William, who nearly bankrupted the company with his investments in utopian real estate and transportation projects?with accounts of the technological advances that revolutionized piano building. Also covered are the intense rivalries among piano-making firms, the Steinways' astute use of advertising and the recurring labor strikes and financial depressions that plagued the piano trade. The result is an engrossing narrative of a remarkable family whose history has been entwined with that of New York City for a century and a half.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Scribner, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0684193183
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