by James Barron
published by Times Books
© 2007 by James Barron
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The gestation period for a $100,000 Steinway concert grand piano is
11 months, give or take a few days, though that's counting neither the
journey of the timber from the forest nor the shopping and bargaining
trip made by Steinway's shrewd purchasing agent to buy the wood. Adding
those into the total and season with the fact that Steinway pianos are
still made in basically the same way and in the same place since the
1880s, and you have the makings of a delectable book. In the hands of
veteran New York Times staffer Barron, who followed the step-by-step
process as concert grand K0862 grew and took shape from its first 17
strips of maple to its final staining, tuning, and polishing, the story
becomes greater than a mere chronicle of a manufacturing procedure.
For it turns out that these exceedingly complex instruments known as
Steinways have an equally complex backstory that encompasses the lives
of the people who build and have built them and the politics of a very
competitive industry. ~~ Donna Chavez
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