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Sunday, 17 June 2012

Prestige, Priorities and Pianos.

Imagine: a posh, exclusive hotel - the perfect setting for just about any kind of event - with extensive and flawlessly kept grounds, an award winning restaurant, golf courses, conference facilities... and a piano! 

In a corner of the dining room is a double-overstrung Ibach baby grand piano. It is not ancient, but if there were an 'MOT' Test for pianos, this one would fail. It needs re-stringing and a lot of careful rebuilding work before it could once again give worthy credit to the Ibach name.

In spite of its condition the piano plays fairly well, and though tuned rather infrequently, when it is tuned the tone proves the old rule that a 'quality' piano can sound good and play acceptably, even when it is in a bad state of repair. 

I was told that, at quite a considerable cost, the lid had recently been re-polished! Sure enough, the lid was beautifully French polished and looked as good as new. But am I alone in thinking the money was spent on the wrong part of the piano?

The guests pay good money to sit and eat in the 'award-winning' restaurant. Whether the top of the piano looks nice, is of no consequence to someone who cringes at the unharmonious sounds coming from the piano! I know I fuss about these things but a top restaurant is about good food - the clean plates and cutlery are taken for granted. Pianos made to look nice without a thought of what they sound like, is the same as serving poor food on clean plates. 

In such an exclusive hotel, where the best of everything is on offer, it is sad that a tired, old piano is considered good enough to entertain the guests as they enjoy award-winning food in such prestigious surroundings. 

Ah well, they might have got the piano wrong but at least they got the super-luxurious paper towels in the toilets right! 

To achieve an air of real class and prestige, surely the choice of piano ought to be a  little higher on the priority list!
© Steve Burden


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