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MMD > Archives > January 1999 > 1999.01.16 > 11Prev  Next

Rachmaninoff's Favorite Piano - "Old 199"
By Albert Petrak

To All:  The discussion and comments on pianos and their owners (John
Tuttle's remarks in today's MMD) prompt me to share this vignette with
all of you.

In one of the installments of a syndicated classical record show,
hosted by Skitch Henderson (heard on NPR stations and commercial
facilities, as well),  he stated that he had purchased from the famous
Steinway basement the piano that was most preferred by Rachmaninoff...
"old 199."

I began to fantasize about that instrument being fitted with Wayne
Stahnke's computer, and so wrote to him [Skitch].  The letter was
forwarded by his management, but after several months, I realized that
he had simply ignored my eloquent pleas.

So more recently I wrote again, this time via E-mail, the letter again
forwarded to his East coast hideaway (poor fellow has no computer
accessibility, apparently).  Again, it has been ignored.

I pointed out to him the advantages:  (1)  You possess the very piano
on which the great Rachmaninoff played, and with this addition, you
will be able to reproduce his roll recordings in your living room (or
wherever the piano is).  (2) You will be able to ultimately enjoy the
actual performances of the fabled "Golden Age" pianists, as the roll
conversions are made available, and (3) you will be able to record your
own playing, or that of your musician friends.  I thought the prospect
irresistible.  He clearly thinks I'm some kind of kook, or con man, and
again no reply.

Of course, there would be the essential ingredient of securing Wayne's
services in the matter of fitting his supreme achievement to that
historic instrument, and that would have to be ascertained.  Too bad
we can't exercise some kind of musical "eminent domain," eh?


Albert M. Petrak

 [ Editor's note:
 [ Actually, there's nothing unique about Wayne's recording piano: it's
 [ a Boesendorfer 290 concert grand piano fitted with the same player
 [ system which is installed in all the Boesendorfer SE grand pianos.
 [ The big concern is the modifications necessary to install the player
 [ system in the piano; typically that means cutting a big slot in the
 [ piano case below the key frame.  Skitch Henderson may not like that
 [ proposition for "old 199"!
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Sat 16 Jan 1999, 14:44:09 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  199, Favorite, Old, Piano, Rachmaninoff's

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