Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Romance on Three Legs


Image courtesy of Google image search

So, after a couple really stupid posts, which hopefully hasn't dropped my readership too much, I have something really awesome to talk about! A couple weeks ago Miss Jenni kindly told me about an incredible book. I'm not quite done yet, but as long as the second half is as good as the first, you'd all better read it! Especially if you play piano!!! It's called A Romance on Three Legs, by Katie Haffner, and is simply amazing. The subtitle is "Glenn Gould's obsessive quest for the perfect piano". It begins with someone going through things that belonged to Glenn Gould, an incredible, yet totally eccentric and idiosyncratic Canadian pianist who died around 1982 at age 50. That in itself is bizarrely fascinating to me! The first chapter begins in Toronto, with Gould's childhood and the start of his performing career, giving you a background to this strange genius. The second chapter does the same for Verne Edquist, a blind young man that eventually would become Glenn Gould's own tuner. The third chapter is about the evolution of the Steinway company, a huge, and incredibly amazing piano manufacturer from New York.

Needless to say, reading this incredible book, I was desperate to play piano, and unfortunately, my Grandparents only have a cheap digital piano. So on Saturday afternoon, when my Mum and I were downtown, we went to a piano store, just for fun. It was wonderful!!! I played quite a number of pianos, including a Steinway upright from 1917 or so, and several large Heintzmann grands. Each one completely different. I had so much fun playing, and feeling, and experiencing, and even though the showroom is shabby, and right next door was a dirty car dealership, I didn't care. I retreated into my little world of music, while my Mum stood by and watched. It was amazing. Then the owner of the shop came out, and we had a grand chat, for probably an hour, and he told us all the intricacies of pianos, some I knew, some I didn't, and told us about the piano tuning/repairing business--a fascinating one--and discussed the depth and feeling of each piano, their uniqueness, and finesse. The artistry which goes into, and eventually comes out of each instrument is absolutely phenomenal!

It was...magical. I had my own little 'Romance on Three Legs'. :)

And then I retreated back into my bubble of quietness for the day.

Good night!
~Sheila Christine

2 comments:

Maria said...

How fun! It would be fun to do that with violins sometime... I might have to visit a violin shop sometime...

-Maria

Joshua R B Michael said...

Hi Sheila (I found your site through you old one).
If you liked this book you might want to read the book. "There's Music in these Walls" (It's about the RCMT) I got it for my Grade 12 Grad. It's very interesting.

I never really liked the New Heintzman - I did a recital with a pianist on one and she said it was horrible to play [this one was made in Korea] (maybe it was the piano technician's fault) If you ever come to Vancouver, You must go to the Steinway Showcase Salon at Tom Lee and to Show Case piano's to try Fazioli. (http://www.fazioli.com/eng/index.php). You should check out Bosendorfer too. (I am not sure if Vancouver sell's these - they a rich tone). Our electric roland piano has this sound for a grand.

We used to have a full upright Steinway when we lived in India (my mom was a piano teacher - she studied with the Trinity College of London). You could also do a flute trip and meet the VSO Members etc..

I will get this book the next time I go out to the VPL (If you are book lover you would love this Library too - 7 floors!)

Blessings to you,
Joshua