Thursday, September 07, 2006

We bought a piano this past weekend.

We'd had an upright back around when we were first married and living in Queens, 1979-84. Linda played a bit growing up; I'd never really played. My family did have a little organ my sister Lisa doodled around on and I'd sit there making noise pretty often, teaching myself a handful of single-note themes. The one I remmeber was a Bach riff that Jethro Tull purloined--I forget the original's name or the TUll construct now, but I can still play it.

Having one in-house, though, I figured I'd try to teach myself the rudiments but, of course, I was unwilling to really learn the basics, instead buying sheet music of things I knew and loved and figured wouldn't be absolutely impossible to bull my way through. So I got some Satie scores ("Sports et Divertissments" and a volume of vairous pieces, none of them the better known stuff, the Gymnopedies, etc.) and did get to the point where I could play some of the "simpler" ones (none of them are simple, of course, to play well) at about one quarter speed. Also got Barber's "Excursions", which proved well beyond my meager capabilities. Needless to say, I spent a great amount of time simply noodling around, figuring out Roscoe Mitchell lines, etc.

We kept the piano when we moved to E. 96th St. (a large apartment), but when we bought our co-op on W. 105th, a one-bedroom job, it had to go. Linda's pined for one since then and as we have both the space and, recently, the finances for one and, since a certain elderly relative with a passion for playing is due to arrive for a visit soon, plans were set into motion to procure one. We checked around and found a listing for an Altenburg Pianos in Elizabeth and drove down on Saturday. It's a lovely old establishment, begun in 1847 iirc, where a very pleasant 6th generation member of the Altenburg family showed us around. Turns out the manufacture their own line of pianos and we bought a new upright for $2,500. It was delivered a couple days ago. So, we once again have a piano.

I wasn't sure if I'd kept the Satie and Barber scores but indeed I had. Broke them out of storage for Linda, noodled a little myself. On the way to work this morning, I remembered I have some Cardew non-graphic sheet music as well that came along with one of his books. Hmmm....might have to check that out. Of course, int he intervening years between 1988, when we got rid of the last piano, and now, I've heard tons more piano music. I'm wondering if it's worthwhile to get the score, for instance, of Feldman's "For Bunita Marcus". That could be fun....Or maybe some Skempton.

It's nice to have a piano around again, I must say.


Received three items from Mattin yesterday, including his duo with Axel Doerner, jointly issued by Absurd and two other labels. Pretty brutal stuff. The others are a duo with Mattin and Lucio Capece and a solo Capece disc, each also very, very noisy.

Picked up the Ruscico DVD release of Tarkovsky's "Stalker"; looking forward to re-watching it (only seen it once before) this weekend.

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