Hewitt's piano destroyed

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Rach3
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Hewitt's piano destroyed

Post by Rach3 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:06 am

Courtesy of a poster at another group:

https://slippedisc.com/2020/02/horror-f ... to-pieces/

barney
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Re: Hewitt's piano destroyed

Post by barney » Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:16 am

I read this on Slipped Disc too. (It always reminds me of the much lamented JOhnF, who had no time at all for Norman Lebrecht.)
For some reason - perhaps because the instrument is so big, perhaps because the player doesn't make the note, like a horn does - I don't expect such an intimate relation between player and instrument as Hewitt describes. When I think about it, I know this is wrong. because many players take their instrument with them on tour and because of anecdotes from friends like Lance. So it is a very sad story, and Hewitt tells it elegantly.

Lance
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Re: Hewitt's piano destroyed

Post by Lance » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:14 am

Angela sounds heartsick, as I am sure she is. It's like losing a spouse for a great friend. I can relate to this kind of thing. I had a call one day from a super-pianist on the staff at Binghamton University who was practicing a Steinway D for his concert the next day. We were great friends and pranksters. I got a phone call one day and he was lost for words, stuttering, telling me the piano had rolled off the stage and was laying in the orchestra pit. I didn't believe him and played along until I finally realized he was very upset. The stage was an up-and-down platform and one leg of the three was edged over the part of the stage that could be lowered. It was an electric stage. Someone pushed a button (deliberately we think), and down the piano went, dropping about 12 feet. Fortunately, the cast iron plate did not break, but the pedal lyre and legs all broke. Nothing happened to the action, thankfully, but the edges of the frame around the keyboard was broken up. I was able to have the casework repaired but I put on a new pedal lyre and legs and we were good to go again, after a few weeks.

And then you must recall the story that Mme. Alicia de Larrocha was giving a concert I believe in North Carolina. It was on a brand new Bosendorfer from Vienna and this was its maiden performance. Same thing, it fell off the stage and I understand could never be used again.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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barney
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Re: Hewitt's piano destroyed

Post by barney » Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:12 am

You've certainly seen a few things Lance, and have an encyclopedic knowledge of pianos. I did not know the de Larrocha story.
My favourite piano story is the fictitious review in the Bangkok Post, which I'm sure we've discussed on here. It still does the rounds, nearly 50 years on.
Does anyone not know it?

Rach3
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Re: Hewitt's piano destroyed

Post by Rach3 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:14 am

From a CNN story on their website:


"A spokeswoman for Fazioli Pianos told CNN the company could not comment further because of a "strict internal rule" on protecting clients' privacy.
Simon Markson, managing director at Markson Pianos in London, told CNN he thought a £150,000 ($194,000) estimate of the piano's value if it were new was accurate."

maestrob
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Re: Hewitt's piano destroyed

Post by maestrob » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:55 am

What a tragedy! How in Hades do you drop a $200,000 piano!??? I feel so sad for Hewitt! Love the sound of her piano (I have her complete Bach on CD.).

Lance, I hadn't heard that story about De Larrocha either. You've been around, for sure!

Lance
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Re: Hewitt's piano destroyed

Post by Lance » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:39 pm

You must be referring to an old Baldwin concert grand that was in pretty bad shape and the pianist took an ax to it?
barney wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:12 am
You've certainly seen a few things Lance, and have an encyclopedic knowledge of pianos. I did not know the de Larrocha story.
My favourite piano story is the fictitious review in the Bangkok Post, which I'm sure we've discussed on here. It still does the rounds, nearly 50 years on.
Does anyone not know it?
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

Lance
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Re: Hewitt's piano destroyed

Post by Lance » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:44 pm

Yes, there have been horror stories about pianos being moved. I remember seeing an article of a large grand that slid off the back of a truck right on to the street. If memory serves, I think that was a Bösendorfer instrument as well. Pianos are heavy (due mostly to the cast iron plates). It requires MANY people who know what they are doing to properly move pianos. There appears to be no "training" methods for general movers. I think it happened locally here some time ago. A man and his girlfriend wanted to move a big old upright in something like a Ford 150. She drove the truck and he was in the back holding the piano so it would move. She went around a corner and the young man was crushed by the piano as it toppled over on him. Trying to save a few hundred bucks by doing it yourself could cost you your life!

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Tr ... ORM=VDQVAP

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Tr ... ORM=VDQVAP

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Tr ... ORM=VDQVAP

maestrob wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:55 am
What a tragedy! How in Hades do you drop a $200,000 piano!??? I feel so sad for Hewitt! Love the sound of her piano (I have her complete Bach on CD.).

Lance, I hadn't heard that story about De Larrocha either. You've been around, for sure!
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

barney
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Hewitt's piano destroyed

Post by barney » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:10 pm

Lance wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:39 pm
You must be referring to an old Baldwin concert grand that was in pretty bad shape and the pianist took an ax to it?
barney wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:12 am
You've certainly seen a few things Lance, and have an encyclopedic knowledge of pianos. I did not know the de Larrocha story.
My favourite piano story is the fictitious review in the Bangkok Post, which I'm sure we've discussed on here. It still does the rounds, nearly 50 years on.
Does anyone not know it?
That's the one, Lance, though it is a spoof. It's worth posting again in case people haven't seen it, as I find it laugh-out-loud funny in places. (and it's 53 years on...)
Your piano videos are both awful and funny.

The recital last evening in the chamber music room of the Erawan Hotel by U.S. Pianist Myron Kropp, the first appearance of Mr. Kropp in Bangkok, can only be described by this reviewer and those who witnessed Mr. Kropp's performance as one of the most interesting experiences in a very long time.
A hush fell over the room as Mr. Kropp appeared from the right of the stage, attired in black formal evening-wear with a small white poppy in his lapel. With sparse, sandy hair, a sallow complexion and a deceptively frail looking frame, the man who has re-popularized Johann Sebastian Bach approached the Baldwin Concert Grand, bowed to the audience and placed himself upon the stool.
It might be appropriate to insert at this juncture that many pianists, including Mr. Kropp, prefer a bench, maintaining that on a screw-type stool, they sometimes find themselves turning sideways during a particularly expressive strain. There was a slight delay, in fact, as Mr Kropp left the stage briefly, apparently in search of a bench, but returned when informed that there was none.
As I have mentioned on several other occasions, the Baldwin Concert Grand, while basically a fine instrument, needs constant attention, particularly in a climate such as Bangkok. This is even more true when the instrument is as old as the one provided in the chamber music room of the Erawan Hotel. In this humidity, the felts which separate the white keys from the black tend to swell, causing an occasional key to stick, which apparently was the case last evening with the D in the second octave.
During the "raging storm" section of the D-Minor Toccata and Fugue, Mr. Kropp must be complimented for putting up with the awkward D. However, by the time the "storm" was past and he had gotten into the Prelude and Fugue in D Major, in which the second octave D plays a major role, Mr. Kropp's patience was wearing thin.
Some who attended the performance later questioned whether the awkward key justified some of the language which was heard coming from the stage during softer passages of the fugue. However, one member of the audience, who had sent his children out of the room by the midway point of the fugue, had a valid point when he commented over the music and extemporaneous remarks of Mr. Kropp that the workman who had greased the stool might have done better to use some of the grease on the second octave D. Indeed, Mr. Kropp's stool had more than enough grease and during one passage in which the music and lyrics were both particularly violent, Mr. Kropp was turned completely around. Whereas before his remarks had been aimed largely at the piano and were therefore somewhat muted, to his surprise and that of those in the chamber music room he found himself addressing himself directly to the audience.
But such things do happen, and the person who began to laugh deserves to be severely reprimanded for this undignified behavior. Unfortunately, laughter is contagious, and by the time it had subsided and the audience had regained its composure Mr. Kropp appeared somewhat shaken. Nevertheless, he swiveled himself back into position facing the piano and, leaving the D Major Fugue unfinished, commenced on the Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor.
Why the concert grand piano's G key in the third octave chose that particular time to begin sticking I hesitate to guess. However, it is certainly safe to say that Mr. Kropp himself did nothing to help matters when he began using his feet to kick the lower portion of the piano instead of operating the pedals as is generally done.
Possibly it was this jarring or the un-Bach-like hammering to which the sticking keyboard was being subjected. Something caused the right front leg of the piano to buckle slightly inward, leaving the entire instrument listing at approximately a 35-degree angle from that which is normal. A gasp went up from the audience, for if the piano had actually fallen several of Mr. Kropp's toes if not both his feet, would surely have been broken.
It was with a sigh of relief therefore, that the audience saw Mr. Kropp slowly rise from his stool and leave the stage. A few men in the back of the room began clapping and when Mr. Kropp reappeared a moment later it seemed he was responding to the ovation. Apparently, however, he had left to get a red-handled fire ax which was hung back stage in case of fire, for that was what was in his hand.
My first reaction at seeing Mr. Kropp begin to chop at the left leg of the grand piano was that he was attempting to make it tilt at the same angle as the right leg and thereby correct the list. However, when the weakened legs finally collapsed altogether with a great crash and Mr. Kropp continued to chop, it became obvious to all that he had no intention of going on with the concert.
The ushers, who had heard the snapping of piano wires and splintering of sounding board from the dining room, came rushing in and, with the help of the hotel manager, two Indian watchmen and a passing police corporal, finally succeeded in disarming Mr. Kropp and dragging him off the stage.
Origins: This humor piece is one of the Pianist chopping up piano all-time champs in the "widest and most frequent dissemination of a fictional tale as a 'true story'" category. It was written by Kenneth Langbell and first appeared in the English-language version of the Bangkok Post under the title "Wild Night at the Erawan" on 27 May 1967.

slofstra
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Re: Hewitt's piano destroyed

Post by slofstra » Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:10 am

barney wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:10 pm
Lance wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:39 pm
You must be referring to an old Baldwin concert grand that was in pretty bad shape and the pianist took an ax to it?
barney wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:12 am
You've certainly seen a few things Lance, and have an encyclopedic knowledge of pianos. I did not know the de Larrocha story.
My favourite piano story is the fictitious review in the Bangkok Post, which I'm sure we've discussed on here. It still does the rounds, nearly 50 years on.
Does anyone not know it?
That's the one, Lance, though it is a spoof. It's worth posting again in case people haven't seen it, as I find it laugh-out-loud funny in places. (and it's 53 years on...)
Your piano videos are both awful and funny.

The recital last evening in the chamber music room of the Erawan Hotel by U.S. Pianist Myron Kropp, the first appearance of Mr. Kropp in Bangkok, can only be described by this reviewer and those who witnessed Mr. Kropp's performance as one of the most interesting experiences in a very long time.
...

piece is one of the Pianist chopping up piano all-time champs in the "widest and most frequent dissemination of a fictional tale as a 'true story'" category. It was written by Kenneth Langbell and first appeared in the English-language version of the Bangkok Post under the title "Wild Night at the Erawan" on 27 May 1967.[/i]
I was thinking of this piece when I read the news item. Thanks for reposting this, Barney. It's been long enough since I previously read it that I could laugh anew. It's a masterpiece.

maestrob
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Re: Hewitt's piano destroyed

Post by maestrob » Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:52 am

Quite so! 8) :lol:

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