Piano Talk

March 07, 2008

Last evening Sibylle and I attended a piano recital at Park University in Parkville, Missouri. The recital was part of a three-day piano festival that the university's International School of Music is hosting this week. Sibylle had spent the afternoon attending a piano master class, and after dinner out, we returned to the campus for the recital.

Four incredibly talented students perform works by Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Bizet, Saint-Saëns, Grieg, Debussy, Rachmaninov and Brahms. Even to my relatively untrained ears the pieces performed were incredibly difficult; seeing them performed by virtuosos was outstanding.

Since I arrived in time for the tail end of the afternoon master class, I was aware that the piano being used was brand new; it had been delivered just that day for the music school to demo before completing its purchase. In a flight of fancy during one of the pieces I had this chain of thoughts:

Imagine the piano factory late at night, the cluster of completed pianos nervously talking amongst themselves about where they will end up. "What if they never tune me?" laments one. "Will I only be used to prop up family pictures and be used to (badly) play Christmas songs?" wonders another. The third says, "I've been sold already. I'm going to a chapel in Missouri. Nothing but hymns in my future."

Imagine that piano's delight when instead of Christmas carols or hymns being played, that Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody is played, or Saint-Saëns Danse Macabre is coaxed from its strings and keys.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.