This hour: the piano. But not just as a musical instrument. The piano as a spiritual healer, as a symptom in a grand delusion, as a man’s obsession, and as a beloved friend, put out to pasture.
The Glass Piano
by Kate Bland and Deborah Levy with Emily Watson (BBC Radio 3, 2011)
Once upon a time, there was a Russian princess. The Princess was named Alexandra Amelie and she had a curious relationship with a glass piano. The story of Alexandra is part history lesson, part magical tale, part psychological study. It came to us as an entry in our 2011 documentary competition, and it’s safe to say, we had never heard anything like it.
Ted the Tuner
by Julianne Hazlewood (Re:sound Premiere, 2011)
Inside the grand shell of a piano is a complicated and delicate system – hundreds of working parts that require the care of a doctor with highly specialized skills. Ted Sambell has been doctoring pianos for over 70 years with a love that’s eclipsed everything else in his life.
by Julia Krolik and Owen Fernly (Re:sound premiere, 2011)
The piano of Centennial Accident spent many years being loved and played in the Grad Club – A bar for grad students on the campus of Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. But, due to a broken leg, the piano was taken out of use. In the last three years of its life, it was brought back to nature to live out its final days outdoors, decomposing over time.
by Keven T. Allen (Weekend America, 2007)
Marie's Crisis is a famous piano bar in the West Village of New York City. Pianist Jim Allen learned the piano from his father, who felt that the instrument should be played only to celebrate God’s glory. For Jim, the bar is its own unlikely kind of church - as healing for him as it is for the people who gather around the piano to sing and listen.
This episode of Re:sound was produced by Katie Mingle.
Listen to more from BBC Radio 3.
Learn more about Julianne Hazlewood, the producer of Ted the Tuner, at her website.
Check out other interesting projects by experimental musicians Julia Krolik and Owen Fernly (aka, Decomposing Pianos).
Hear and see other work by Kevin Allen at his website.
Re:sound's music is provided by Reckless Records.
Hauschka, "Long Walk," Versions of the Prepared Piano, (Karaoke Kalk, 2007)
Goldmund, "Will," Two Point Descrimination, (Western Vinyl, 2007)
Gonzales, "Bermuda Triangle," Solo Piano, (Universal Import, 2005)
Chihei Hatakeyama, Bonfire on the Field, Minima Moralia, (Kranky, 2006)
Hauschka, "Subconscious," Salon des Amateurs," (Fat Cat, 2011)
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