"Pianul Călător"
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Logbook

March 3rd, 2011

Dear Horia,

From the darkness of the Radio studio in which I find myself and await leaving on tour alongside you , I have tried to imagine what the launch at the Cesianu Palace, of which you were speaking the other day, in like. I understand that it is a special place few people have seen until now and I assume, that is hope, that I have been the topic of much conversation over there. Write me. I am very curios.
The Travelling Piano


April 1st, 2011

My dear friend,

I am very sorry that it has taken me so long to respond, and look, it is already midnight and the tour begins today. The day of the event you ask me of was an extremely hectic one, during which I did my very best to make our story known to as many people as possible. The launch at Cesianu Palace was indeed a special moment. Cesianu-Racovita House is a splendid place, a true palace situated in the midst of Bucharest, a space which has surely bore witness to many special events over the last century. There was a big crowd, the atmosphere was exceedingly warm and the ones who helped me in making sure everything turned out well were my colleagues from the radio. When the speeches were done I played on a colleague of yours, not such a close friend of mine it's true, a part of the recital program I shall play fully for the first time this evening, in Sibiu.
I think the day of March 30th, 2011, to be a new beginning for both of us. It is true that you will have to wait two more weeks before you return, after so many years, on the concert stages. Although I have not stayed hidden in a Radio studio for all the years you have, out of the concerts of the last years - which have many times given me much pleasure and satisfaction - I have missed the ones where there were just the two of us on stage.
You know what I am speaking of, do you not? I am thinking about those moments when solely my imagination and inspiration are the limit. Well, those times are returning. I cannot wait for us to set off once more. You will leave Radio Romania and we shall travel to wonderful places together. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of spectators will hear us and, on April 21st, you will stop at your new home, Traube Hall in Medias, a place where you will be spoiled for many years to come by pianists whom you will accompany on their musical journeys and by spectators ravenous for the beautiful. I must rest now, tomorrow I begin my travel. I shall write to you from Sibiu, the first stop on my journey.
Horia


April 1st, 2011

Dear Horia,

I understand that you will not have much time to write to me, however these lines are very important to me. In this manner I will be able to imagine what it is like in Sibiu, or wherever else you may travel to. Especially since the tour begins very close to the place I will eventually settle. I wait for you and imagine what the first year of pilgrimage when we will play together will sound like. Good luck!
The Travelling Piano


April 1st, 2011

Dear Horia,

I cannot keep quiet and I reply before the concert. I have remained in Bucharest and am as nervous as you thinking about the tour's opening concert tomorrow. From the studio in which I find myself I have heard Alexandru, Alexandru Tomescu, who was warming up before going on the Radio Hall stage in Bucharest. I think it to be an interesting coincidence. Judging by my general musical culture what he is doing now is a tour de force - playing both violin concerts and the Prokofiev orchestra on the same evening. What you are doing is also a tour de force. Sometimes I am happy that in my privileged isolation I can think only about music. I recall my moments of glory in which I felt as strong on stage as each of you now feel. I long to once more meet the audience which you will see tonight as well, that audience whose reaction can be felt instantaneously. I await your recount.
The Travelling Piano


April 1st, 2011

My dear friend,

I write to you from Fagaras, I am on my way to Brasov where, as you know, tomorrow I shall hold the second recital of the tour. Although the debut emotions have passed, Brasov is a special place for me, because every time I have played in front of my hometown audience, I have a very special feeling.
Yesterday's concert was very well received by the audience. I was curious to see how they would react to the first part of the recital, a more complex and pretentious music than in the second part. All was well in the end, I even heard reactions of astonishment after I finished playing Orage and Valle d'Obermann, most likely due to the technical difficulties and the spectacularity of the two pieces. At the end of the concert everyone in the audience rose to their feet and I heard a few people shout Bravo!
After the concert I went out with some friends and my sister, Andreiana, and we celebrated the success. Before that however I bought two bottles of water which I drank all in a breath. Liszt managed to dehydrate me pretty well last night! However now I know how to dose the energy for such a long recital.
It is interesting that you heard Alexandru warm up. I actually thought about him and the fact that we were both about to begin at the same time, some hundreds of kilometers apart. I leave you now, I am hurrying home, there is still much work left to do, much to prepare for tomorrow's recital. I fondly await the day we start our travel together.
Horia


April 3rd, 2011

My dear friend,

The second recital of the tour has come to an end, the one in Brasov. I felt even better than in Sibiu... It may be because I was home, because the emotions inherent to the debut transformed into another kind of emotions...At one point while I was playing, I was almost overwhelmed by the thought that over 150 years before, in the same hall, the Master to whom I was dedicating this tour - Franz Liszt - was making the music coming out of his hands charm the listeners of a Transylvanian burg, already accustomed with the sounds of professional musicians. I played in the Reduta Hall, a concert hall built especially for the Brasov Philharmonic Society, which has been around since the late 18th century. In fact I even took a picture of the plaque which bears witness to the fact that great personalities - Liszt, Enescu, Eminescu - climbed the steps which lead to the hall and charmed those who witnessed such magic moments.
The audience was delightful and delighted if I am to judge by their reaction. My daughter Sandra, eight years of age, listened to the recital with much attention, contrary to her habit of falling asleep after the first notes and waking up during the applauses. At the end of the recital the entire audience rose to its feet. Impressive and touching!
Although, I have to confess, your much younger colleague, who arrived in Brasov not many years ago from somewhere in the south, proved to be much tried by the difficult concerts he has held in the last period, I have attempted and managed to convince him to help me. Too bad the descant notes began to lose some their tuning accuracy at one point. Now I shall go and rest. Tomorrow is a very hard day: the road to Cluj and the recital there in front of a demanding audience. Keep your fingers crossed!
Horia


April 4th, 2011

Dear Horia,
You keep writing about my younger brothers from different concert halls all over the country who disappoint you or not. Do you think I will be able to handle the tour de force we have planned together? For now you are rediscovering the dimension of a solo pianist with delight. Will I have similar experiences with regard to my destiny as a concert piano? It may be that the isolation I find myself in makes me wonder too much. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you today. I believe these must be the most difficult 24 hours of the tour, but I am certain you will overcome them.
The travelling Piano


April 5th, 2011

I write to you from Baia Mare. The stop in Cluj was very brief, we left home in the morning, immediately after going live on the air at Radio Impuls in Cluj, for an interview. The third recital was without a doubt the best so far, from every point of view. I played on a good piano, tuned right before the concert, the large audience reacted excellently. At the end I received applause as in the former communist congresses, from everyone simultaneously. When the recital was over I was congratulated by dozens of people and of the critics in Cluj whom I know since my debut there, in 1985, said I was "a poet of the piano". Don't worry! Our recitals will be very well received and I am sure we will both do our duty well! I salute you!
Horia


April 7th, 2011

Dear Horia,

It's been a while since I last wrote. Has anything else special happened since you've been in Baia Mare? Nothing new around here, except I heard that more and more people are now aware of the travelling piano idea and are turning me into a character. Someone told me I would ride in a brand new car, a very lovely one, and that I would go to no less than five different concert halls. I wonder how many other pianos have had such experiences. I know I sound confident but I am starting to feel important. It may also be because I've been sitting here without hearing my own sound for so long. You should know I have a very beautiful sound. Will I miss these places I have lived in for such a long time? A piano is not as used to travelling and pilgrimage as a pianist, is it? By the way, how is your relationship with the pilgrimage Years, after 4 of the 12 recitals are now over? You should be very comfortable with each other. I have never played this suite of works. I am truly curious and even more curious to know how you will feel playing in five different halls, on five consecutive evenings, on the same piano.
The Travelling Piano


April 9th, 2011

My dear friend,

I write to you from Brasov, where I have stopped for less than 24 hours. I have spent in Baia Mare, as always, moving moments, both on stage and off it. I was welcomed with great warmth, I have seen old friends, and I have played in front of an audience which impressed me with its enthusiasm. At the beginning of the recital I had to stand and salute the audience once more as it would not stop applauding. The program I play has become more and more friendly to me, each time I discover or experiment new things. I am beginning to understand the great spirit of improvisation of Liszt.
It won't be long until we meet again. It's only natural to be nervous, I share your feelings. Indeed, many people have already heard of you and you will, most certainly, become even more renowned when we leave on our journey and more people hear your beautiful sound.
I am off for Targu Mures, take care!
Horia


April 10th, 2011

Dear Horia,

I got your address form my studio colleague, "The Travelling Piano". I admit that since this talk of the pilgrimage of pianos has begun, I have been hoping to be chosen. I too am in need of grand reparations, but this is less important than the fact that I am bored. It has been a long time since anyone has played on me and I did have a period of glory, you know, even if I am Bluthner and not Steinway, as "The Travelling Piano". I know he is your friend, but you should know he has grown prideful since he was repaired and especially since he learned he is leaving the studio and returning to the stage. Or it may just be my opinion... If you should have time please tell me if you know me to be the second travelling piano. And maybe when you come to Bucharest you will come study in our studio as well and we can talk some more. Perhaps you can send me a sign that you have received my message.
The Melancholy Piano


April 10th, 2011

My dear Bluthner,

I hope that soon we can discuss your future. I am not at Targu Mures, but after Tuesday's recital in Iasi, I will come meet you. It is only natural that "The Travelling Piano" should be a bit nervous and impatient and thusly behaving a bit stranger than usual. However I am sure that he is not doing it on willfully but merely out of pride that he has been chosen to be the first with this destiny. I know that you and your brothers are fine instruments, with a deep bass and a sparkling descant. Your moment of glory will come as well; you only need to have a bit more patience.
Horia


April 22nd 2011

Dear Horia,

Now that your first solo tour has ended I cannot tell you how much I look forward to our tour next year. Whether it will take place or not is hard to say, because without doubt it does not depend solely on me.
However, in the darkness of the studio, where I will spend this year's holidays as well, I thought of writing you a few thoughts which have been inspired by the years spent in the presence of classical music and also by the times I heard you play on the travelling piano, my friend who is so happy to have changed his residence.
Discipline and freedom are two opposite, but essential, aspects of the artistic act and I believe you should be aware of this. The art of interpretation means vulnerability, anxiety, complexes, but also humor. It is about permanent oscillation between affiliation and independence that accompany us throughout our artistic life. In your performances I discovered an authentic lack of aesthetic inhibitions, a superb attraction toward experimenting, toward risk and surprise, which are so unexpected when approaching Liszt. From a musical point of view you are capricious and unpredictable, excessive and hesitant. You are not numbed by certitude. Don't give up...
The Melancholy Piano


April 22nd 2011

Dearest friend,

Our journey has come to an end. I am home, recharging my batteries for the next period, which I hope will be just as interesting. Retrospectively, I cannot but think with admiration and gratitude about all the people who have contributed to the first Travelling Piano: those who coordinated the project with such precision and commitment, those who supported it with good will and also those - and they aren't few - who put it into effect.
It was good, very good. I feel as if I've won a battle, first of all with myself. It is a feeling that gives me hope, lots of energy but it also confirms the hunch I had that from now on my responsibilities will be greater.
I can't wait to see you again. I hope Traube Hall will be a place where you will feel good over the next period of time. As you've seen at our last recital, the audience in Medias is very warm and avid for quality music: it certainly needed your presence.
Farewell,
Horia


April 22nd 2011

Dear Horia,

I am tired and happy. Tired because I have travelled more in five days than I have since I was built and happy because together with you we spoke to people through music and people understood us.
I am nostalgic and optimistic. Nostalgic because I have just completed a tour I shall remember with fondness and optimistic because I trust that here, in Medias, other valuable pianists will come to perform with me. I have met my new home for next few years. All is well and everyone was glad to have me there. I hope you will visit me in the three years I shall reside here.
I am alone and miss you. I don't know how to say goodbye and you know what... I won't. I await your visit. Farewell, until our next recital together and good luck in your new projects!
The Travelling Piano


April 21st 2011

My dear Melancholy Piano,

I am writing to you from Medias, the city I arrived in this morning and which will adopt me for three years. If I were to describe in one word how everything was I would say it was INCREDIBLE! I would, however, like to tell you more: I travelled with Horia and the team that made sure I was in perfect condition (the tuner, the six men transporting me, the driver) for almost 1000 km through four cities: Hunedoara, Deva, Alba Iulia and Dumbraveni. We played for hundreds of people who received us with great warmth and enthusiasm. My sound was heard in a castle (the Huniazi Castle in Hunedoara), in culture houses (in Deva and Alba Iulia) and in one of the most beautiful churches in our country (the Armenian Church from Dumbraveni).
In Hunedoara a few youngsters wanted to touch my ivories and Horia let them. I vibrated with joy. In Deva we were applauded and cheered and received bouquets. I felt like a star. Horia was called back to the stage four times. I felt my ivories burn with emotion. In Alba Iulia there were so many young people that I felt myself growing young as well. Horia signed scores of autographs. I let myself be photographed by the young music lovers. And yesterday, in Dumbraveni, I had an experience I will never forget. It was the place my sound was heard all the way into the street. The Church has such good acoustics that the people who did not have seats inside sat on the stairs and listened to Liszt in Horia Mihail's interpretation... from the outside. After all this I think you can understand why I wrote before that it was incredible.
I am now preparing for the final rehearsal. Horia should be arriving to rehearse with me for the last recital of the Travelling Piano I tour. I am becoming an artist. I will miss Horia; I will miss the enthusiasm of the people and the trips we have taken. It was exhausting, you were right. Horia is very tired and has not had any time to write to you. Going on a tour which has a concert planned every day, with no break, proved to be very tiring, but we both believe it was worth it. It was good!
I guarantee that the Travelling Piano II tour, when the traveler will be you, will turn out at least equally well. Stop being jealous! You're next.
I will write to you tomorrow to let you know how we were received in Medias. So long for now!
The Travelling Piano


April 22nd 2011

My dear Travelling Piano,
After thinking long and hard about whether or not I should write to you, I finally decided to conquer my envy, act in a civilized manner and ask you how your journey is. Here, in the studio you've left behind it grows ever more silent now that the Holidays are approaching. I've begun to miss you. I've been wondering about the places you're going to and how the concerts have been, how people look at you, if they know your story, if they've heard of Liszt's story from which the Travelling Piano idea originated? I wonder if next year, when I will be the piano travelling all over the country, there will be the same enthusiasm or as many echoes? I await your reply, for I am sure the effort of holding a concert a day is remarkable and the pianist no longer has the energy to write me as well. So I await news from you.
Best wishes,
The Melancholy Piano


April 18th 2011

My dear friend,
I had a wonderful time with you at Corvin Castle, despite the suffering we went through due to the cold. At one point I actually thought I might not finish Mazzepa because my muscles were so frozen. However, you helped me through it with your powerful and warm sound and we managed to get through that most difficult moment together.
Today we play again. I am at the hotel in Batiz and in a few minutes I will be leaving for Deva. After your tuning we will warm up together. Farewell and good luck!
Horia


April 18th 2011

Dear Horia,

It is Monday morning and I am yet again alone in the car. But no matter, yesterday we played together after such a long time and it was incredible! Don't you think? I don't know if you've noticed since you were so focused on my ivories, but the audience felt the music with us and what applauses they gave us at the end! I felt like a star. Well... you were the star... but I was too under your frozen fingertips. Yes, it was terribly cold in Corvin Castle. We both suffered because of it, but the warmth with which we were received by the audience made me forget about everything.
Now, while you are visiting the castle, I am preparing for the road. Today we start for Deva, the second stop of the tour we've started together. It's a shame I can't look out the window and see the surroundings... But you'll tell me everything.
Please write to me. I need you to tell me what it was like when we played together. Even if we spend more time together now I still want you to write to me. I need your encouragement and advice. I can't wait to perform together with you again this evening! I'm starting to like it.

The Travelling Piano


April 17th 2011

My dearest friend,

I am sure that you will arrive safely in Hunedoara. The team accompanying you is made up of trustworthy men, the car transporting you is new, very good and beautiful (by the way, did you notice it bears our Travelling Piano logo?) and the good driver will make sure that you don't suffer from the bumps in the road.
See you in a few hours! We will have a wonderful concert!
Horia


April 17th 2011

Dear Horia,

It's Sunday morning and my ivories are throbbing. I am in the car waiting for the driver so that we can leave. If only you knew what I went through yesterday... I will sum it up for you so that I don't worry you: I was taken from the darkness of the radio studio (at last!) and loaded into the car that will take me across the country, until I reach Hunedoara.
You know that I am a solid guy; I weigh close to 500 kg... It took 6 strong and skilled men, a skid (that's what they called a board on wheels) and many cables to move me from my spot. First they locked me away and Mr. Puiu took the key and said he would give it to you at the first stop. Then, shock! They took my legs! I hope they don't forget them somewhere, or I don't know how I'm going to perform! Mr. Puiu said that in this way I will travel without getting hurt and, as if that weren't enough, they placed me on my long side. In fact that's how I am sitting now and how I will travel the whole way. After this I was wrapped from top to bottom and from left to right with some blankets, lest I should get scratched, hit or dirty. You should have seen how careful Romeo was with me... In fact he led the whole process: he decided what kind of blankets to cover me with, he told the others when to pull the cables and he also tied the knots. He bundled me up real tight! After 20 minutes I looked like a present with a knot.
The hardest part followed: as I lay there on my side, covered in blankets and tied to the skid, I had to be taken down some stairs, you know the saying "...easy with the piano on the stairs..." well that was pretty much our case. Romeo was in front shouting "Guys, hold him tight, don't drop him! Now easy to the left, now a little to the right. Careful around the corner!" And the guys were very careful indeed. I was very cautiously brought down and then loaded onto... a van. Yes, a van. You know I'm massive and I would not have fit in any other car anyway. Well, it didn't end here. Romeo, who was careful not to get me injured, anchored me in place. That is to say, he tied me up with four more cables in the car as well.
We will climb The Black Hill, you know what the serpentines there are like, there really was need for maximum protection. It all ended in about an hour. I've been here by myself since yesterday at 17:00. I admit that I am feeling a bit claustrophobic. The studio I waited in was dark but I had lots of space there. Here it's just me, in a closed up space and continuously thinking about our forthcoming concert this evening. I am overwhelmed by emotions, but if grandpa Erard managed it in the year 1846, then I can do it now! I will not let you down, I promise!

The Travelling Piano


April 15th 2011

Dear Horia,

People have begun to trot about me, preparing me for the journey, we met yesterday and my enthusiasm knows no bounds. I will eavesdrop at everything that is happening tonight because it must be pretty exciting. Television, radio, press, already half the tour is over but today's recital is essential, at least for me, as it is the last one you hold by yourself... I know it wasn't actually this way because Radio Hall pulsing with life in front of one pianist represents a completely special and unique experience.
And yet, in my little selfish way I am glad you are done because tomorrow I start a new life, an exciting one, in which the most important thing will be the action. I think being a pianist is good since you do not have to answer to anyone. I am aware that without you I am in fact a mute character, although one without which you cannot speak to the audience. But in reality I do not matter, I am a convenient partner... And I do not say this with sadness. I merely envy you.
I had a feeling you wrote to me because you are nervous! It is important! It's very good that you are since, otherwise what you are doing makes no sense and all that you are doing would not matter. All the unforseeableness in everyone's lives, all the ambiguities, only perceptible to some, true... are the only ones that give meaning. You know I am also nervous, although I do not show it, but not always and not in the company of any pianist. That's it, I cannot pretend. I am just a piano. It's true that not any kind of piano.
Do you know which piece in your program I really like? Les cloches de Genève! Though I think it is grand to play it in an empty room, one in which there are only the piano, and his friend, the pianist.
I will remain in Medias, but who knows, you may reach Switzerland with Liszt. They have enough pianos, they don't need me. I have been told that in order to advertise the Gstaad Festival they had placed an actual piano, grant you a decommissioned one, in an intersection, in the middle of a traffic circle...
I will be loaded into the car tomorrow... I can hardly wait.
The Travelling Piano


April 13th 2011

I have already arrived in Bucharest after an important success in Iasi last night. I was nervous; the audience there is very educated and pretentious. Furthermore there were also a few friends among the spectators, very good musicians. I spent little time in Iasi. Unfortunately I could not re-edit the long walks on the streets of Copou... maybe next time. The recital went well, the best so far. The piano on the Philharmonic stage was very helpful and I managed to improvise, to find new nuances, new effects, creating in the end a story that can be easily understood by the audience. It is very interesting that I found connections between the Years of Pilgrimage and Schumann's music. For example, the last phrase of Les cloches de Genève sounds very similar to something Robert would have written as a close of the storyteller, as is the case in Kinderszenen. A few more hours and we will meet again! I salute you! I am very anxious!
Horia


April 12th 2011

Dear Horia,

It won't be long until we see each other again. I am looking over the schedule and notice that after the Iasi recital you have practically reached the middle of the journey. In Bucharest everyone who passes me by is anxious to know when I leave and I can hardly wait to feel that real atmosphere of the enthusiastic audience which I have almost forgotten. At this time you are probably experiencing that very same atmosphere live in the Iasi philharmonic hall, which I hope has received you warmly. I am certain that in Bucharest you will have the most interesting experience because in a hall the size of Radio Hall and with all the audience listening by radio it is something else entirely. I nostalgically recall those times. I have grown tedious! I keep complaining after you and those who came up with this idea have given me the opportunity to become a unique piano. I'd best imagine myself listening to you perform, on the Iasi Philharmonic Steinway, an entirely Liszt recital, as I know not many can do. And you can do it! It is an intelligent and romantic program, a program that speaks to the audience. And after all... we play, you and I, but what we really want is to actually speak to those in the audience, without using words. At the end of this tour you will know that you have succeeded, with my help.
The Travelling Piano


April 12th 2011

My dear friend,

I am now in Iasi preparing for the final recital before we meet once again. How are you? How have you been? I played in Targu Mures two days ago. Although at first the audience seemed colder than in other places (it could be the effect of the Baia Mare listeners ? ), at the end of the recital I received frantic applauses. I felt very good, especially since I met many dear friends there. I have to run to the studio now! I salute you! P.S. A studio colleague of yours wrote to me, Bluthner, it seems he is sad that he will stay where he is for the time being. Please encourage him! He needs our support. I am sure that he, like you, will travel soon.
Horia


April 12th 2011

Dear Horia,

I once performed Liszt's Years of Pilgrimage. I do not recall which pianist played it but I know it was a work that needed to be played in a certain key, otherwise it could become boring. I think that it is comforting that you have 12 recitals at your disposal to discover it. I particularly remember that it is the kind of work you can approach differently every time you play it. When my turn comes, in the Travelling Piano II, you will not play Liszt. But so much wonderful music has been written for the piano that I am not worried. Judging by the time on the studio watch in a few moments the first part of the Iasi recital will end. Good luck and farewell.
The Melancholy Piano


April 12th 2011

My dear friend,

I am under the impression that your melancholic feelings have been replaced by the enthusiasm caused by the idea that during the Travelling Piano 2012 it will be your turn to be the main lead. I am very happy! What you said abut approaching music in a different way every time is true for all music, not just for Liszt. Even if some composers are stricter than others and more careful with the directions they give in their scores, we find the joy of discovering those small interpretable parts each time, those little divergences from the norm which in fact create the ambiguity. It would be truly dull and tedious to play the same way every time... although, come to think of it, there are renowned musicians in this world who have not yet understood that music is reborn each time it is played, they practice and rehearse each gesture or intent over and over again. You will see for yourself what I am speaking of next year. We should already start thinking about the pieces we will perform. Do you have any suggestions?
Horia