Hans von Bülow
"Bechstein is for pianists what Amati and Stradivarius are for violinists"
In the Romantic period, size of orchestras grew from 30 or 40 players to over 100 musicians. As a result, pianists have been demanding stronger sounding instruments. Carl Bechstein fulfills this wish for them.
Carl Bechstein explores the mysteries of French and English art of making pianos. Understanding contemporary musicians' needs, he wanted to build grand pianos with a new quality. In 1853 he opened his own factory in Berlin and fulfilled musicians' dreams by developing the C. Bechstein principle of sound and technique. The piano is experiencing revolutionary perfection, it can now represent the whole range of pianistic from robust, virtuoso to delicate piano playing. Famous composers and virtuosos play Bechstein.
Hans von Bülow, later first chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, became Bechstein follower and supporter. On 22 January, 1857, Bülow premiered Franz Liszt's B-minor Piano Sonata in Berlin on a Carl Bechstein grand piano.
Liszt wrote the piano music of modern times; Bechstein delivered him the instruments for it. On October 8, 1860, the great master bought his first Bechstein grand piano. In the expense book one can discern the buyer's Prussian frugality: "Conductor Liszt in Weimar"; even Richard Wagner is a great admirer of Carl Bechstein instruments.
Bechstein receives the winner's medal at the London industry exhibition against seemingly overwhelming foreign competition. In the reasons given for the judgment it is stated: "Bechstein instruments are distinguished by eminent freshness and freedom of tone, pleasantness of touch and balance of various registers and can probably even resist the strongest treatment."