Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Most Expensive Piano In The World... Ever!

I was wondering how much the most expensive piano in the world was and my brother Josh said it was probably a million pounds, like the one that John Lennon had owned. So I checked and here is a list of some of the most expensive pianos...

$400,000.00 Fazioli Brunei. The most expensive piano being made right now in the world is the Fazioli Brunei. It has a sequoia burr case which is decorated with flowers made of mother of pearl and semi-precious stones in many colours.  This piano retails at around $400,000.

$662,500.00 Marilyn Monroe's piano. In 2006 the singer Mariah Carey bought Marilyn Monroe's white baby grand piano. Mariah said she bought the piano because she could identify closely with Marilyn Monroe.

$1,200,000.00 Alma-Tadema Steinway. The Alma-Tadema was the 54,538th piano built  by Steinway & Sons. It was sold in 1997 at a Christie's auction for $1.2 million to the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

$1,200,000.00 The Kuhn Bösendorfer Piano. Together with the Bösendorfer company, Jon Kuhn designed a piano decorated with 100,000 hand-cut diamonds.

$2,100,000.00 John Lennon's Steinway Model Z. This is the upright piano that John Lennon used when he wrote Imagine and many other Beatles songs. He bought it in 1970. In 2000 George Michael bought it and now lends it to museums so that people can see it.

$3,220,000.00 Heintzman Piano. A nine-foot piano made by Heintzman Piano in Beijing was purchased at auction by a private bidder for a record $3.22 million. It would be interesting to play this piano I think!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Some More Photos.

Here are some more photos by Mr Fahri Öz. These were taken in St. Mary's Church in Saffron Walden. Mr Peter De Vile is showing me the organ, he is a piano technician and knows everything about making pianos and organs sound great. It is huge and makes a great sound. It was first built in 1824 by John Vincent and cost £800, which was probably really expensive then. It was rebuilt in 1885 by T. C. Lewis. Since then it has been re-built several times and the second phase of the latest rebuild has been recently completed. It has five keyboard divisions, Solo, Swell, Great, Choir and Bombarde. The most dramatic feature is a strong fanfare trumpet en chamade - the Trompeta Real.

A New Piano!

Tomorrow I will go with my mum and dad to look at some pianos at a place called RAC Pianos near Harlow. I hope they have a nice piano there. I have tried a few different ones so far, they are:

Yamaha C3MA
Boston PE192
Kawai RX3

I really like the Boston because it has a very mellow sound, the Yamaha and Kawaii are both much brighter. But a man in the shop where we went before said that you can have the piano adjusted to change the brightness by changing the string tension. The only problem is that the Boston is very expensive ) :

Anyway we will go to RAC Pianos tomorrow and take a look to see what they have. It will be a lot of fun!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Practising at St. Mary's Church, Saffron Walden

This is a movie of me practicing at St. Mary's Church in Saffron Walden before the concert. The movie was made by a very nice man called Mr Fahri Öz. I met him when he was visiting the church and he said I played very nicely and that he was interested in music. I hope you like the movie, I think it is great! Thank you Fahri.

You can watch the movie here.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Pig Piano

I like this piano, I think it is a Swineway.

My next concert in Chatteris

Today I went to visit St. Peter & St. Paul's Church in Chatteris where I will be playing my next concert on September 1st. A nice lady called Katherine Childs has invited me to play there so I went to take a look at the church and try out the piano. Chatteris is in Cambridgeshire in the Fens (which were marshy and flooded before they were drained and made into fields) and the church is really beautiful.

It has some colourful stained glass windows and an amazing organ with huge pipes. I had a quick try out of the organ while I was in the church, but actually I was not so good... it looks like it is difficult but fun to play, there are a lot of different effects and sounds. The big pedal in the middle is the 'swell' pedal which makes the sound louder or softer. There are two keyboards and lots of pedals, plus more than about twenty different stops.

I tried out the piano in the church too, it is a Kawai and it sounds and feels very good to play. I have to start practising now! Here is a photo of me with Katherine Childs, who is an expert cup of tea maker!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Vivaldi Four Seasons (Spring) for four pianos.

Four of the best pianists playing four Steinways. I really like the way the pianos fit together and everyone looks so busy, turning pages and playing... I like the way it sounds too. Yuja Wangs page turner is a bit slow, maybe she was daydreaming?

A Piano Designed By Audi!

This piano is really cool. Its designed by Audi and the piano makers Bosendorfer. I am not sure if you can buy it anywhere, but I would like to try it just to see how it sounds...
There is more about it here.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Concert

Yesterday I gave a small recital in St. Mary's church in Saffron Walden. I think it went well and Mr David Watson, the Mayor of Saffron Walden, came to watch which was really good. I played Estampes by Debussy, Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven and The Lark by Balakirev. Then my brother Josh and our friend Ekaterina Rahr-Bohr and I played The Swan by Saint-Saens. There were a lot of people in the church which was a good thing as it is really big. Here is a photo of Josh, the Mayor, me and Katie. The piano really needs help, I only just managed to play some of the pieces on it, especially the third movement of Moonlight Sonata. I hope it gets fixed soon!

This is St. Mary's church, it is very beautiful and really big!

My next concert will be in Chatteris at the start of September.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Marx Brothers Playing Piano

I like this clip from a Marx Brothers movie. Actually I have never seen the whole movie, only this bit on YouTube. I think they are so skilful to do that!

Free Downloadable Music Scores

This is a really good site for music scores. It is completely free but you can also make a donation if you like. IMSLP stands for International Music Score Library and there are thousands of music scores on the site. Here is the link.

My Favourite Noodles

Today I ate noodles for breakfast. My favourite instant noodles in UK are Mr Noodles, Traditional Kimchi flavour. You can also get Chicken flavour, but I like Traditional best, in a red bowl. Other noodles I like are Nissin (just about any, but I can't buy them near where I live), and Wagamama Yaki Udon (number 42). They taste best with chilli on top.

In Jakarta I like the noodles that are sold on the street, they are sooooo tasty. Noodles are sold by street vendors who have small kitchens that they can move around on wheels. They bring a table and there is often a kind of tent roof over the top to keep the sun off. These stalls are called 'Kaki Lima', Im not really sure what it means, but it translates to something like 'five feet'. ? There is a special Kaki Lima that my mum and I like to go to and they have ice cold Coke which goes really well with the noodles!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Looking at Steinways

Today I went to the Steinway showroom in Marylebone Lane in London. I don't think my mum and dad can actually afford a Steinway, but they also sell Boston and Essex. I tried some Boston pianos and they were really good. The touch was in-between light and heavy and the sound was mellow. While we were in the store we met Julius Drake, he is a famous concert pianist. I think he was going to buy a new concert grand and he was really nice, he listened to me play the Boston. (He didn't even say I was rubbish). Oh, and we met a nice lady who was looking at the pianos with her grand daughter who was a black belt in Karate, I think...

After we had tried the Bostons we went to Chappells in Wardour Street. I tried a Yamaha C3XA and it was OK, but it didn't feel quite the same as the Boston.

Here is a link to the Steinway store.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Grade 5 Cello Exam!

Today I accompanied my sister Sisi, at her Grade 5 cello exam. I think it went OK. She played Standchen by Schubert, Robots March by Gordon Jacob and Minuet by Boccherini. The examiner was a bit surprised that I was accompanying. My mum made me wear a black shirt and trousers so I looked super smart, I was a bit embarrassed. Sisi is the one wearing the hat.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Play Me I'm Yours!

Right now in London there are fifty golden pianos which have been put outside for anyone to play. I really like this event. It is part of The Festival of London and it is great fun to play outside (as long as it doesn't rain too much). I played some of the pianos a couple of weeks ago, my favourite one was near St. Pauls Cathedral near the Millennium Bridge. Here is a link to the Play Me I'm Yours website.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Concert at St. Marys Church

Next week on July 18th, I will perform at St. Marys church in Saffron Walden. It is a small lunchtime concert in a very beautiful local church. I am going to play some Beethoven, Debussy and Balakirev. It should be fun, but I tried the piano in the church today and some of the keys are not coming up quite as quickly as they should. I hope it will be fixed before the concert. Oh and the Olympic Torch came through Saffron Walden today, there were really lots of people watching.

I went around some schools last week and put posters up for the concert, I hope someone will come and watch... This is the poster...

Friday, 6 July 2012

Recording at Southbank

Last Saturday I went to Southbank in London. I had been asked to record Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 1 Adagio for an audio guide that will be used at Southbank. I travelled there with my mum, dad and my sister. We had breakfast at a restaurant next to Southbank, so I had a croissant and hot chocolate... Yum!

We met William Fong, my piano teacher from school, at the Artists Entrance and went to the Queen Elizabeth Hall. It was strange to be on the empty stage with no-one in the seats. The sound recorder was a guy called David, he was really nice and had a microphone on a long pole, kind of like a fishing rod which he held so it was really close to the strings. I played the piece through twice, then just some of the parts where the notes didn't quite sound the first time, then I played it one final time. It sounded OK I think. The piano was really good, it was a Steinway concert grand.


My First Blog

Hi, this is my first post on my new blog. My name is George and I love to play piano. This blog is going to be about the music that I play and the things I like.