The Norwegian Academy of Music kindly published an article about me, including videos by the upcoming artist Kyrre Lien, whose remarkable style I hope you’ll enjoy! The interview is in Norwegian but the video of my first go at Chopin’s G-flat major etude (‘black keys’) at a Viennese fortepiano of the 1820s can be viewed here! The instrument is a original Alois Graff grand of ca 1825.
Yesterday, I gave a private recital on an old piano, just like the one on this picture. However, the pictured piano is taken from one of the countless ads for pianos that are given away for free nowadays. You have probably seen them too, it’s such a sad development. The piano I played yesterday, is a Lucky Piano: It is still being played!
Not only that. The Lucky Piano has had a peculiar life. First, it was purchased second-hand by a family in Budapest. When they decided to move to the UK, they brought the piano, despite the expense and toil. It was a cherished instrument, not the least by the children who played it. The children grew up, happily playing the piano (at least, that’s what I imagine!) Later, one of them moved to Norway – and at the birth of her first daughter, she had the piano brought to her new home. It became the childhood piano of another generation of musical kids. Sometimes, I would come and play together with these kids, on the piano which had travelled so far. We played Brahms, Schumann, Beethoven, Mozart. We played Christmas songs and Frank Bridge. After some years, the piano began to suffer. It was overhauled and the hammers even sent to Germany for refelting! It came back happy and continued to live. It moved from a house to an apartment, it keeps being played and tuned and bringing joy.
Yesterday was a special day in the life of the Lucky Piano. It turned 100 years! Maybe not exactly yesterday, but approximately enough for a celebration. The owner of the Lucky Piano got the idea that we should meet up in the honour of the Lucky Piano and all the joy it has brought throughout its life. To celebrate, we performed music from all the places it has lived. Schubert lieder (as the piano came from Vienna originally), Bartok pieces for children, a Clementi sonatina, a Norwegian lullaby and some pieces by Schumann to honour the new hammer felt (eh, I needed an excuse!) The daughter of the piano owner attended – with her baby son! Schumann is already his favourite and he seemed to enjoy the whole event. As far as we know, he probably made the decision of starting piano lessons soon – on his grandma’s old piano.
He is one lucky kid!