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Book Review: Steinway by Ronald V. Raicliffe

Updated: Jan 23

Steinway by Ronald V. Raicliffe is a fascinating book discussing the history of Steinway and Sons in great detail. Full of facts and interesting details Raicliffe explores the history of the talented family whose pianos are world renowned today. Continue reading to find out more.


Raicliffe begins the book with an in depth history of the Steinway family starting with their founder Henry Z. Steinway in 1797. Henry, born Henrich Engelhard Steinweg, had 12 children who continued his legacy with the most recent Steinways descending from Henry's fourth son, William (Wilhelm), second marriage. Raicliffe takes us through the family history including the Americanisation of the Steinweg family in1851 and how Henry's second son Charles stayed in Germany creating the Grotrian-Steinweg brand.


In the second chapter Raicliffe discusses the Steinway Firm and the highs and lows of running a piano factory. During the second half of the 19th Century, Steinway competed with many notable firms both in the US and across the globe to be considered the best piano manufacturers, contesting against industrial action and workers standards. Steinway built Steinway Village in 1972 to house it's workers and by 1876 the company was worth over 8 Million. Entering the 20th Century Steinway battled against the Great Depression and the World Wars and in the Hamburg factory things became still more complicated under the Nazi Rule. Raicliffe gives a thorough accounting and the readers imagination is peaked with the detailed descriptions.


Chapter three gives the reader an understanding of how the Steinway piano was patented and to which family member each detail was credited. Steinway being one of the most renowned pianos in the world, details are given which illuminate the reader in to the mechanics and physical changes which astounded the world and made the Steinway what it is today. Raicliffe discusses the differences in the different models and how these were designed to fit the consumers every need and still satisfy customers today. Factory details are given which elude to the special differences and techniques which make the Steinway unique in the piano world.


The remainder of the book talks about the many famous artists who have played Steinway pianos and those who exclusively use them in their concerts/recordings. Special pianos made almost exclusively for art are also discussed and numerous stunning photos show the calibre of the pianos in all their glory.


In conclusion we can highly recommend reading Steinway by Ronald V. Raicliffe as a thorough and fascinating insight in to the world of Steinway pianos and their history. Beautifully written with stunning photos throughout, Raicliffe brings the Steinway piano to life. We hope you have enjoyed this short book review.



Book Steinway by Ronald V. Raicliffe
Steinway by Ronald V. Raicliffe

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