Smiley Hsu said (in another topic)
"I have been to concerts where virtuoso violinists playing on strads and guarneris were drowned out by the piano. Sitting in the audience, I remember wishing they would close the darn top on the piano. But I agree with you, it is harder to play a piano softly, than loudly. As much as I appreciate your feedback, it is a bit off topic so feel free to email me directly if you wish to continue this discussion."
I thought I would start a thread on this subject rather than emailing you as I think it could be of interest to many people. Hope you don't mind.
I think there are a lot of questions here which need to be considered. For starters Srads and Guarnaris aren't always that powerful and just like other instruments (and players) there is a wide amount of variation.
Having the piano lid down or closed may dampen the sound a bit but this can also have disadvantages. Sometimes the open piano itself acts as a resonator for the violinist, but this depends too on where he/she stands of course.
One problem is that a good pianist (who is not necessarily a big time soloist) should have sensitivity towards a stringed instrument and only play at full throttle where it is wise, and certainly not when the violin is in a lower register, or when the violin part should be heard on an equal level. Adjustments have to be made in a concert situation during the actual performance since the audience presence may (and usually does) effect the sound balance.
The violinist however, with a heavy handed pianist, can resort to a few tricks, and whilst these are not ideal they can remedy the situation quite a bit. One of those is of course to play near(er) the bridge and use the right amount of bow speed and pressure to get that really big sound. I often worry about it then sounding a bit "raspy" but I'm told by many people that it sounds great a few feet away and better obviously than under the ear.
This reminds me of those many occasions when a soloist has played a concerto just four or five feet away from me in the orchestra, and how many strange and obnoxious noises have come out, and yet the audience has said how great it sounded, even at the back of the hall.
So it comes down basically to projection, which is something all string players should work on.
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