Yesterday was a sight to behold. My Haddorff, 1951, a stunning new acquisition, with an old world timbre (though it still needs a thorough maiden tuning in its new abode), was wheeled on a dolly, wrapped in blankets through the streets of Northwest Fresno. Traffic yielded, and two drivers jumped out with cameras. Two business people on a lunch break nudged the beauty over a minor bump. Otherwise it was a smooth ride made possible by Ginnadiy Mikerin, former owner of the Visalia Piano Gallery, who performed Olympiad “wheelies” with the dolly. His truck broke down, and we had to make do. Surely, he had the skills to coast along to my townhouse, zig zagging on his makeshift skate board sans piano.
The Haddorff, located practically around the corner from my home was artfully transferred with a few mesmerizing dolly maneuvers to home sweet home– Charlie Chaplin or Laurel and Hardy might have lowered “Haddy” out the window, making this quick transport along Shaw Avenue a piece of cake by comparison, though nonetheless an eye catcher.
At the one and only street crossing on Shaw and Arthur, Haddy weathered a few additional bumps, and regained a smooth ride onto the paved entry way to my townhouse, and from there, it was just a few weaves around rolled up rugs, before she was maneuvered into the space formerly occupied by the Casio PX110 Keyboard. The digital was promptly banished to the upper floor set beside my Aerobic Rider.
On the main tier, Haddy was joined by two Steinways, an upright (1098 model) and grand (circa 1917), keeping her dignity reserved for special playing times in and out of lessons. She would not be shared for it was her destiny to be an instrument for personal introspection and contemplation.
But onto the official welcoming ceremony as Haddy reveals how mellowed wine and music-making are wedded. (It has for me a more intimate, velvety tone)
What I will do here, is play the same first two pages of the Mozart Drawing Room sonata on all three of my pianos to reveal the contrast in “color” that each instrument offers.
This journey among three instruments may at least enlighten about the character of various pianos and reveal why a player may favor one over another.
Please listen past the preliminary warbling of the Haddorff which is in a raw state. Its tuning will be refined after it has two weeks to settle in.
About the Haddorff Piano Company:
“Charles Haddorff was born in Sweden in 1864, and had studied European methods of manufacture and learned to play piano before he emigrated to the America. By 1898 he had become a piano factory superintendent. Founded by Charles Haddorff in 1901 in Rockford, IL with financial backing from P.A. Peterson they embarked upon building high quality pianos. Haddorff designed new piano scales for his grand and upright pianos preceded by a study of the scientific studies of theoretical acousticians. He called his soundboard design, “HomoVibrating Soundboard,” that was constructed to allow greater freedom of vibration.The cast iron plate was of extra heavy construction and was made with a custom shoulder mating against the pin block. The company also built the Bush & Gerts, Bennet , Hartzell, Karl Zeck and the Clarendon brands of pianos. From start to finish (1901-1960) there were aproximately 160,000 pianos built. After Charles died the company was run by the Krakauer Brothers. The Krakauer firm then sold out to the Kimball Piano Co and soon folded completely.”
Before Haddy came home, it was residing a few blocks away in a different ambiance. The tuner checked it over and was impressed. He did a rushed overview pitch raise to test the durability of pins, strings. It’s always a good idea to have the opinion of a technician before purchasing a piano.