Thursday, September 27, 2007
Music festival is given upright piano
Today's Guardian reports a happy ending to the tale of the inverted Bösendorfer (above):
After the last one fell off the back of a lorry with a crash heard around the world of classical music, a very grand piano heading for a remote corner of Devon will be handled as delicately as a newborn babe. An £85,000 hand-built Bosendorfer Imperial Concert Grand is being presented by the firm to the eclectic Two Moors festival, a feast of classical music scattered among dozens of parish churches and halls across 1,000 square miles (2,590 sq km) of Exmoor and Dartmoor, where at many events soup and sandwiches are supplied to an audience turning up in hiking boots.
The piano will replace the Bosendorfer which the festival organisers bought second-hand at a London auction after fundraising for years. It made the journey safely to Devon, and was being unloaded at the home of festival founder Penny Adie, when it slipped, toppled sideways down a bank and landed upside down in splinters among the spring daffodils, with echoes of a slapstick movie. Mrs Adie captured the scene with her camera as the horrified delivery men literally tore their hair in anguish. It was "a Laurel and Hardy moment," she said at the time. "It made a noise like 10 honky-tonk pianos being hit by mallets."
The new piano should arrive tomorrow, delivered by the firm direct from the factory in Austria, in time for this year's festival, which starts on October 13. Mrs Adie called the firm's generosity staggering. "This is the most elite piano in the world - the generosity of Bosendorfer is colossal. Never in the company's history has it given a piano of this value to any individual or organisation." The destroyed piano was a saleroom bargain at £26,000, but even if the festival could have afforded a new one, it might have faced a long wait: only 400 are built in most years, often to order: owners have included José Carreras, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, and a Tsar of Russia.
The 10-day Two Moors festival was founded in 2001 to boost the local economy in the aftermath of the last foot-and-mouth crisis. Now, with the Countess of Wessex as patron, it attracts up to 5,000 people to venues including Culbone, one of the smallest churches in Britain. The new piano will be played first by Tom Poster, who comes to the festival fresh from winning the Scottish international piano competition.
Now read how a grand piano hit a high note.
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