Music: Cartier of the Keyboards

Bösendorfer turns 150

Franz Liszt, so the story goes, was having grave problems. Early 19th century pianos—not much sturdier than the delicate harpsichord—were collapsing, with great snapping of strings, beneath his monumental assault. Why not, some Viennese friends suggested, try a new piano called the Bösendorfer? The instrument, first made in 1828 by an Austrian artisan named Ignaz Bösendorfer, stood up to Liszt's crashing octaves, and the composer delightedly gave it his official endorsement. This month the venerable piano company celebrated its 150th anniversary with a series of piano recitals and a gala...

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