Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Devon and a certain piano

Leaving Minehead we took a fabulously picturesque road over Exmoor and after 40 mins or so arrived at the beautiful house of some family friends of Vicky, where we were to stay the night. These friends happen to run a music festival (The Two Moors Festival) which became famous a couple of years ago when the piano, a Bosendorfer grand, which they'd just bought at auction fell off the back of the delivery lorry onto some granite steps at their house. The Mail still have the story online here.
Anyway, the story was resolved wonderfully when Bosendorfer offered to donate a piano to the festival (partly we guess because of the huge amount of publicity the story had generated). Of course, the most expensive piano was requested, which in Bosendorfer's case is the quite extraordinary model 290 Imperial at a cool £85,000.

So to cut a long story short, I asked if I could have a tinkle on the ivories and they said 'of course...it needs playing'. So I had the rare opportunity to play what many consider to be the Rolls Royce of pianos. And it was amazing.

The 290 Imperial. All 9'6" of her...

...and me playing

The unique thing about this piano is the extra 9 keys at the bottom of the bass, coloured black rather than white so as not to put the player off. Very few pieces have been written to use these keys. When you play these notes it is almost difficult to hear the real pitch of the note, they just grumble. They are supposed to add colour to the piano's sound as they sympathetically resonate with the notes being played. One of the pieces written specifically for the piano is Debussy's La Cathedrale Engloutie - I only found that out once I'd got home and was reading up on the piano, but happened to play it when I was having a go - mainly because it is nice and loud!

Extra black keys.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if you can get your i-phone keyboard app updated with the extra black keys??!