Today, I stumbled upon a You Tube video that intertwined the ravages of the A-bomb, with a remarkable visit to Japan made by Martha Argerich. (It’s titled The Piano That Loved Chopin: Akiko’s Piano)
The short but riveting film centers upon a vintage upright piano (made in the USA) that survived a fiery World War II scourge that annihilated its devoted young player, but carried her legacy forward into the Millennium. Argerich, who’d been scheduled to perform with the Hiroshima Symphony in March, 2015, was invited to sample the war torn piano that had been rebuilt to great lengths by a dedicated Japanese technician.
A stately Baldwin-made Ellington, embedded with scars of shrapnel and glass, it was resurrected in the hands of Argerich who plied the depths of its wide, resonating dynamic palette, skimming across the keys with seamless grace. After an inspection of its case, with a lid open view of the hammer assembly, she was wooed back, mesmerized by a reservoir of tonal beauty.
Attached are two videos that memorialize the piano and Akiko.
(Click “CC,” closed caption for an English translation)
One additional war-related story is welled from my Blog archive.
It’s about an Oklahoma Piano tuner (and WW II vet) whom I befriended in the Central Valley and ran with on various assignments.
His memoir about a Japanese song that I helped him identify many decades after his encounter with a choir of young children outside Tokyo, is a treasure. (Circa” The Day of Peace Treaty signing with Japan)