The Cult of Haddy Haddorff, her dual personality, and lovesick owners

“Haddy”

Serious, but exalted in Bach..

Affording a dreamscape of beauty in Debussy

These are her remarkable polarities.

Depending on the weather, and internal environment, she can either raise you up, or let you down. But even with her intermittent note-lazy landscape, she will always sing heart songs.

I happen to be in the exceptional company of two singular owners of Haddorff pianos who form the Cult of Haddy. One of these infatuated lovers of the nightingale voice posts regularly at the Piano World forums as “Cinnamon Bear.” A flamboyant character by all accounts, he has a 1903 Haddorff upright that is personified in his self-produced radio dramas that he calls “Postcards.”

He sent me links to these that evoke the 50′s soap operas with those creaky doors and exotic sound effects. I’ll share Postcard 8 with Bach snippets and a Haddorff Christmas Carol.

But first, Cinnamon Bear (aka Andy Strong) does it up to the hilt in this opener, as he introduces one of his rescued Haddy’s that he claims Ragtime Composer Scott Joplin played and composed for. (The piano was Cinnamon’s for a mere $225!)

In this audio sample, he showcases the old world twangy Haddy, and the history of its Rockford, Illinois based manufacturer. Note the Swedish antecedents.

http://www.box.com/shared/49hgigxc69

And here’s a display of the internal workmanship:

Cinnamon Bear greeted me with this message after my Haddy console, (not a spinet, by the way) was safely nestled in my living room. (It followed a hand pushed street ride to my abode in Northwest Fresno)

“Congratulations on your recent acquisition! Haddorffs are, indeed, lovely, solid, dependable, well-built pianos. It looks like what you have is a spinet rather than a console? Does it have a drop action? Or, does the action rest on top of the keys? (Just curious…) I believe that by 1951, the Haddorff Piano Company was controlled by Kimball, though the pianos were still made to Haddorff specifications at the factory on Ethel Ave in Rockford, IL. Haddorffs have such a rich, full sound because of their unique soundboard design, and because of their large cast-iron plates that are mated to the pin-block in a special way (source: internet research, plus corroborated first-hand experience!… smile ).

“It seems like every Rockford native that I’ve talked to who is over 60 years old has a Haddorff story to tell! I would love to collect some of these stories, and hope that I have time to collect them before that window of opportunity closes.

“Did you happen to follow, or find, any of my series of “Haddorff Postcards” that I made last year? They were all posted in the Pianist Corner Member Recordings sub-forum.

“If not, you can follow the un-folding drama by listening to these links (in order is best– wink ):
Haddorff Postcard [No.1] with “Deep Purple”
Haddorff Postcard No.2 with “I Love Her”
Haddorff Postcard No.3 with “Yes, Sir! That’s My Baby”
Haddorff Postcard No.4 with “Mistress Murphy’s Chowder”
Haddorff Postcard No.5 with “All Alone”
Haddorff – (no postcard) with “He Wipes The Tear From Every Eye” played on the Haddorff
Haddorff Postcard No.6 with “Constantinople”
Haddorff Pictures (no postcard, yet)
Haddorff Postcard No.7 with a couple of Scriabin Preludes
Haddorff Postcard No. 8 with Bach Snippets http://www.box.com/shared/x9m09gddlf
Haddorff Postcard No.9–A Haddorff Christmas Carol http://www.box.com/shared/vkikog9by6

“Best wishes to you and your new find! Let me know how things turn out!

–Andy Strong
Rockford, IL, Home of the Haddorff Piano Co. from 1901-1960

“P.S., I also “brokered” the acquisition of a Haddorff console for a friend of mine whose daughter is going to start lessons soon. It is a relatively un-adorned model from the 20s or 30s era, but still a very handsome piano.”

***

The other member of the Haddy Haddorff cult is a new owner who commented at my blog site after I posted my first Haddy tribute.

“Don,” from the West Coast, sang Haddy’s praises:

“My Haddorff Vertichord arrived yesterday afternoon in relatively good tune. It plays great and has that natural reverb or resonance that I was looking for. It looks good too, although the reddish tint of the mahogany has faded except for on the keyboard cover which didn’t get exposed to 70 years of light. I am the 2nd owner. This piano was purchased new in Ohio and taken to Europe for 20 years and then back to California. There is only one key with some slight ivory damage and I will take your advice and have it repaired and tuned and regulated by one of our local local RPT’s. I would send a pic of “Haddy” (yes, I named the piano) from my I phone but I’m not sure how to post it unless I’m sending to an email address.

“BTW, there is a really nice looking Haddorff upright for sale locally on Sacramento Craigslist for $385.00 (!). I have $385, but I have no room for it. There is a great video on you tube of Deep Purple being played on a 1903 Haddorff upright that is exquisitely out of tune with just the “right” amount of sour (does that make sense?).” (He must have been talking about Cinnamon Bear’s rendition that comes straight from one of his Postcards, titled “Deep Purple.”)

***

As always, this cult welcomes new members, so if you own a Haddorff, please join us, and share your story.

***

About arioso7: Shirley Kirsten

International piano teacher by Skype, recording artist, composer, piano finder, freelance writer, film maker, story teller: Grad of the NYC HS of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, NYU (Master of Arts) Studies with Lillian Freundlich and Ena Bronstein; Master classes with Murray Perahia and Oxana Yablonskaya. Studios in BERKELEY and EL CERRITO, California; Member, Music Teachers Assoc. of California, MTAC; Distance learning and Skyped instruction with supplementary videos: SKYPE ID, shirleypiano1 Contact me at: shirley_kirsten@yahoo.com OR http://www.youtube.com/arioso7 or at FACEBOOK: Shirley Smith Kirsten, http://facebook.com /shirley.kirsten TWITTER: http://twitter.com/arioso7 Private fund-raising for non-profits as pianist--Public Speaking re: piano teaching and creative approaches
This entry was posted in Andy Strong Haddorff Postcards, Bach Prelude in C minor BWV847, Cinnamon Bear, Cinnamon Bear at Piano World, Debussy Arabesque no. 1, Haddorff, Haddorff piano, Haddorrff console piano, Haddorrff upright piano, Illinois, piano, Piano World, Rockford Illinois, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Cult of Haddy Haddorff, her dual personality, and lovesick owners

  1. Judith says:

    I was researching my upright grand Haddorff which I have owned for fifty years and which my mother bought from a second hand furniture collection in Eugene Oregon.. It is in perfect condition mechanically and as a piece of furniture, w/just a nick out of one of the ivories. It is burled dark wood, maybe walnut, with carving that looks like holly, and magnificent roaring lions for legs. I can’t play it very well, but have kept it as a work of art and an attraction for my friends who play the piano. It is so loud that you can hear it across the street with the door open so I store my winter blankets behind it to make it easier on those around me when I practice. I love it.
    Judith

  2. john says:

    I have a HADDORFF VERTICHORD PIANO that was made in November 1942, I found that out from the serial numbers, I paid $300 for it at an estate sale about 20 years ago. It needs to be tuned and maybe polished. I would love to know how much it is worth? If someone can email me any information about it and cost would be great. I tried to attach a picture of it but it will not let me do it. If someone can help me there to would be great so someone can give me an approximate value of it would be great!

    • This would be hard to assess not knowing the state of the hammers,shanks, inner assembly, soundboard. You need to get a registered technician to look at it, play it, detail it. I paid $700 for mine . and it’s a 1951. These older uprights and consoles tend to devalue with time..sadly.. there are a glut of them. Though the Chicago co. that manuf. Haddorff didn’t make that many. Still have a tech look at it.

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