My son, Derek, graduates from college in a couple of weeks. I needed to find an appropriate photo for his graduation announcements to send to family and friends. I looked at a couple of his head shots but they just didn't seem right. Then I found a photo he took of himself to promote a short film he made for his Senior project. Since he is a Cinema/TV major, I thought the photo below would do. As you may surmise, Derek's specialty is in film editing and special effects.
Today you can listen to Glenn Gould's 1955 recording of the Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach. He made this recording when he was twenty-three.
A Romance on Three Legs: Glenn Gould's Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Piano by Katie Hafner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a delightful book. Not only do we get a history of the piano, of Steinway, and tuners and their job. We get to learn about the tuners who kept Glenn Gould's pianos in shape.
Glenn Gould, like all concert pianists, was absolutely persnickety as to what piano best suited his needs. He wanted a highly responsive, light-actioned keyboard with a harp and soundboard that would give him the rich, robust sound to deliver exactly what was going on in his head. Not just any piano would do. He finally found the love of his life in a Steinway, known as CD 318. He had it taken everywhere he performed and recorded.
We learn of a nearly blind tuner, Vern Edquist, and how he became Glenn Gould's personal tuner. His life is interesting in its own right. We learn of the technical challenges that keeping a piano perfectly tuned involve. I get my piano tuned a couple of times a year. Gould had his tuners on standby to keep his piano up in between songs or even during songs (while recording, not live performances) if he perceived that strings were going off.
Frankly, I wish I had the means to do that because pianos go out of tune so easily. I was also gratified to know that it is not just me who has a hard time playing on certain pianos. Some pianos never sound right; others don't feel right. It is a delicate marriage between the aural and tactile experience. And every piano is different. We learn a little about other concert pianists, like Vladimir Horowitz and Arthur Rubenstein and the physical action and tone they demanded in a piano.
We learn how Steinway started their business, moved to the USA and how they make their pianos. Also how they changed the way they make them and why artists today prefer to perform on Steinways made in the 1930s.
Maybe not everyone cares about the construct of concert pianos or the artists who played them, but I loved this book!
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Derek looking mean and menacing. Because of his size he gets to play a lot of bad guy roles. Maybe one day I'll see him on the big screen getting trounced by Tom Cruise (who is half his size).