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MMD > Archives > February 2000 > 2000.02.20 > 06Prev  Next


Frank Lloyd Wright and his Cecilian Piano Player
By Karl Ellison

I'm currently reading "My Father, Frank Lloyd Wright" (Dover Books)
that contains accounts of FLW's son John L. Wright's memories of dad.
Two paragraphs mention mechanical music at "Taliesin", FLW's house in
Green Spring, Wisconsin - a Welsh word that literally translates into
"shining brow" :-

  "One day, without previous warning, at least to me, a Cecilian Piano
Player was rolled into our house.  Papa pushed it up the keyboard of
his Steinway concert grand and pumped Beethoven by the roll.  His eyes
closed, and his hands swayed over the throttles, I think he imagined he
was Beethoven.  He looked like Beethoven, and, with the help of the
Cecilian, he played like him.  As he went at this thing, his motions
suggested revenge for the days when he was compelled to pump his
father's organ till he collapsed.  It seemed to me that he was now
hell-bent on pumping this thing till it collapsed.  It did!

  "The complicated procedure began.  Instead of sitting on the bench
playing the Beethoven, he now sat on the floor and played with the
parts.  This went on for days.  He finally tinkered it together, but
it was never the same."

Karl Ellison


(Message sent Sun 20 Feb 2000, 16:16:16 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Cecilian, Frank, his, Lloyd, Piano, Player, Wright

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