Grand Pianos – 2

In Gadgets, Generalby JohnLeave a Comment

Life’s synchronicities have long amazed, delighted or bemused me, depending on the circumstances.  Take this week for example.  On Wednesday night, by chance I decided to have a look at the NPR website which I haven’t visited for a while, to see if it featured any interesting classical recordings to listen to (the site is a very good source of interesting videos and recordings of all types of music, stage plays etc).  What grabbed my attention on the NPR classical music page was an article titled Musical Innovation: A Grander Grand Piano.  I was totally fascinated and it lead to the post I wrote Wednesday night, and published in the early hours of  Thursday 20th, about the wonderful Stuart & Sons pianos.

So it bemused me that in the very beginning of my interest in Stuart pianos, that on Friday morning the parcel I’d ordered weeks ago from Amazon in the US should arrive –  1 DVD and 2 books about the making of Steinway pianos, and 1 book about the history of Steinway & Sons (the business and the family).

The history of the business might not seem that it could be all that interesting, but the story covers the difficulties encountered trying to run a business located in New York City during the American Civil War, and a business located in the USA and Germany during World War I and the USA and Nazi Germany in World War II.  During WWII, the business found itself making bed cots and rifle butts for the army in Germany, and wooden glider aircraft for the US.   But perhaps what most aroused my interest in reading the book is the following sample I read on Amazon with its Look Inside feature.  It was talking about the 1860’s and the decision to move from New York City to Queens, because of strikers:

That struck me because it was so utterly different to the impression I got of the happy and devoted Steinway employees of today, who are recognised as craftsmen, from watching the Note By Note video back in 2009.  You can see a 2 minute preview of Note By Note on my main website here.  There is also more to see on that page, including an 8 minute silent movie filmed in 1929 about making a Steinway grand piano.

My main website Pianos page was created on 30 June 2009, and I haven’t added to it since.  So what re-awakened my interest and caused me to order those books and the DVD from Amazon?

It was an email that my friend Greg, in Brisbane, sent to me at the beginning of the year with a link to a video that he had recorded, edited and published to YouTube.

The video was recorded in deference to the late Nancy Weir (Australian pianist with her Wikipedia bio here), and concerns the restoration of her Steinway.

At the end of the restoration of the late Nancy Weir’s piano, Dr. Robert Keane, an ex student and friend, had the opportunity to say goodbye before it moved to its new home.  That is what this video is about.

Please take the time to relax for 14 minutes to watch and listen very attentively to the video. It’s a truly beautiful experience.

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