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On Sunday 5th May 2013 I cycled up to Littlehall Woods just outside Canterbury to help move the piano into place for the first performance of the piano in the woods project. Six of us managed to get it out of the cabin and onto a tiny trolley, then onto a bigger trolley before setting off along the forest path. When we reached the clearing we found the moss covered remains of a bench. This was hammered into the ground to make a piano stool.
Dave reminded me that the tuner had estimated the piano was made in the early 20th century and had probably lived through two world wars. This thought stuck with me as I started playing. It seemed disrespectful to impose my improvising vocabulary onto this instrument that had been around so much longer than me. So I listened to it’s frail sound and some sentimental chords led into a passage in 10ths exploring the unevenly tuned lower register. I wouldn’t normally play something so potentially maudlin or nostalgic but the piano seemed to ask for it.
Nathan Thomas, a set on Flickr.
Aurelija Pakeltyte, a set on Flickr.
Photo by Aurelija Pakeltyte