Photo by Andrew Crowley
topics of my choice.
‘International’ suggests more than merely many geographical nations; it carries a sense of breadth, of diversity, of exchange – indeed of interaction. But ‘Piano’ – how ironic a name! Unlike the ageless voice or ancient pipes and strings, the modern piano is a product of the industrial revolution. It came to life amidst noise. Its iron frame, holding the tune of tons of pressurised strings, was impossible to create before the age of the modern factories’ sweat and clatter. Yet despite the circumstances of its birth, and its sheer power in decibels and in the empire of its vast repertoire, our instrument’s secret is its uncanny ability to whisper with mysterious clarity – from stage to the brush of the last velvet seat in the hall.
‘Piano’ is apt. The pianist is a magician and the piano a box of tricks. It pretends to sing when it’s really striking; the pedal allows notes to sustain even after hands are lifted; it’s tuned out of tune so as to sound in tune – well-behaved if not well-tempered. Black and white, loud and soft, on and off ... but no. Its lovers know that the deception and trickery work. We hear colours, nuances, an orchestra, a voice; many voices ... we are seduced.