My Steinway

I’ve written here before about the joy I derive from the Steinway grand piano that dominates the high-ceilinged room in my house that I have dubbed the piano room. The room is two stories high with the eastern wall divided into four floor-to-ceiling windows which flood the room with sunlight each morning. Because of all the glass and the resulting crisp sound, the room is ideal for a piano.

The background on the pleasure I take from the piano is that I have always loved music. As a child, I all but wore out the 78 rpm records I had of symphonies, concertos, and operas. After my father went to prison for embezzlement, we were too poor to own a piano, so I taught myself to play on the pianos at school and went on to major in music at the University of California, Berkeley. I scrounged enough money from part-time jobs to buy an old upright to play my harmony and counterpoint assignments on before I handed them in. I went on to earn a BA in music.

Many years later, my oldest daughter, Susan, and I subscribed to the ballet season performances every year at the Kennedy Center. We’d always arrive early and go to the lounge for a cocktail before the performance. There was always a Steinway grand piano in the lounge, but we were early enough that the player had not yet arrived. I’ve never been able to resist a piano, so I asked permission to play the Steinway.

One season there, the piano in the lounge was the most beautiful instrument I had ever played. I couldn’t wait to get there and had to be dragged away. But the next year, a new Steinway was in place. I tried it and immediately decided that it was inferior to its processor. The same was true every season after that.

More next time.

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