Fazioli strikes a chord
When it comes to handcrafting world-class pianos, Italian pianist and engineer Paolo Fazioli has found his forte. He established his piano-making business in 1981 and has been subject to international recognition and success ever since.
Commended by leading classical and jazz players alike, Fazioli’s instruments produce a distinct clarity and uniformity of sound: they are revolutionary both in design and sound. Most notably, the F308 model features a unique fourth pedal which reduces the tonal dynamic without altering the timbre.
The sound-breaking Fazioli piano
Arguably the finest of its kind, the Fazioli concert and grand pianos are the highly specialized and valued creation of a true artist and master craftsman. The combination of Fazioli’s interest in art, music and technology allowed him to start his company Fazioli Pianoforti srl early in his career. Along with a team of specialists, acoustic physicists and engineers, Fazioli created the sound and design he had always yearned for as a young pianist.
After the first prototype was unveiled at the Frankfurt Fair in 1981, Fazioli pianos quickly gained recognition across Europe, and Italy took over the reign as the leader in piano design from Germany. It was Fazioli’s particular attention to detail and his concern for innovation that have attracted pianists from across the world.
The extraordinary “Fazioli sound”
Producing only about 100 pianos annually, Paolo Fazioli personally evaluates each piano before it leaves his 40-worker factory, located in Sacile just northeast of Venice. Each piano undergoes a laborious 3-year process requiring 1,000 hours of highly specialized handcrafted work.
Thanks to the uniqueness and individuality of each and every piano, Fazioli has created world-class instruments featured at renowned concert venues such as Carnegie Hall and played by world-famous pianists.
Fazioli’s specialized construction reflects the very term coined by him: “the Fazioli sound” – which Fazioli strives for in perfecting each piano. The sound is a combination of six elements, including the clearness and uniformity of the sound, as well as the duration and selectivity of that sound, allowing for distinctness in polyphonic works such as those of Bach.
Because of the brightness and clarity of the sound, great jazz pianists of the calibre of Herbie Hancock choose Fazioli pianos: “Your piano can, with the sound of one note, announce the celebration of freedom and creativity of the human spirit,” Hancock has said.
The unique “fourth” pedal
To create this sound, Fazioli hones in on certain elements of the piano. The soundboard, for example, is built with 150-year-old wood from red spruces found in the eastern Italian Alps and which need a natural drying period of close to a year. According to Fazioli, only one of 200 of these red spruces has the resonance, flexibility and weight which he is looking for. After being housed in a climatically controlled chamber for two years, this double curvature, handcrafted soundboard is strong and voluminous in both structure and sound.
The current collection features 6 models: the F156, F183, F212, F228, F278 and F308. A fourth pedal – standard on the largest of Fazioli piano models, the F308 – allows effortless glissandos and easier control over fast passages. The fourth pedal was created and patented by Fazioli to reduce the sound dynamic and allow the playing of pianissimo without any alteration of timbre. With the new pedal, the entire keyboard is moved closer to the strings. In this way, the hammers hit the strings with less force and produce a smaller sound without modifying the timbre, and the hammer hits the strings in the same place.
To preserve the noble shine of the brass elements, Fazioli plates all brass parts (besides pedals, castors and lock) in 18k gold.
The secret to a revolutionary piano
Gaining exposure all over the world, Fazioli pianos – which he calls the best in the world – are equaling Steinway pianos in terms of outstanding quality. Besides Herbie Hancock, Angela Hewitt (who will play nothing else) particularly endorses these pianos, commending Fazioli for his pioneering efforts in handcrafting and acoustic design.
Fazioli even opened his own concert hall in 2005, with nearly 200 seats, as well as a control room, multimedia room and a PC-controlled widescreen video system to appropriately showcase his own sound.
The evolution of the Fazioli sound has combined traditional methods with adaptations to advancements in technology – and therein lies Fazioli’s secret to creating a revolutionary piano and sound.
Fazioli representatives in Switzerland can be found at Jecklin & Co AG, Rämistrasse 30, 8024 Zurich (tel: +41-(0)44 253 77 77; web: www.jecklin.ch) and Kneifel SA, Rue du Marché 20, 1204 Geneva (tel: +41-(0)22 310 17 60; web: www.kneifel.ch). Jecklin & Co. AG and Kneifel SA were founded in 1895 and 1917, respectively, and today are part of the Musik Hug Group. For more information on Musik Hug, visit www.musikhug.ch.
Article by Kelsey Garvey