By Lois Marie Harrod
From Fall 2017
Ms. Piano? Pianoforte Soft and loud? I’d say soft and strong. How so? Gentleness requires fortitude. Still, they are difficult simultaneously. Ah, yes, the problem with harpsichords and battered . . . Women? I was going to say drums, the way little boys beat them until the heads give. Oh, you do mean women. No harpsichords, it’s not hard to destroy a harpsichord. How about pianos? Well, certainly there have been those who battered pianos. Beethoven and Liszt? To name a few. The old piano battered by the Beatles coffee stains and cigarette burns and now untunable is valued at 150 thousand pounds. Untunable? Well, it hasn’t been used since l980, and worse than being battered it has not been tuned or played. So an unused piano is worse off than a used woman? We are talking pianos, I believe, the modern piano, Despite the batterers and bangers she’s a tough instrument. I bet you hate those charity stunts when they bang a piano for fun. Happened to my sister. On the other hand Edith Steiner-Kraus saved herself with a battered piano. You remember, don’t you? No, sorry, I don’t. No. Well, when she arrived at Terezin she discovered her name was on the list for Auschwitz, but she began practicing on a legless piano and, offered to give a concert, thereby avoiding transportation. Fortunately, as Socrates recommended, she had several recitals worth of Bach and Schubert in her head. So art can save us? Pianos, no, but women, yes, if they know enough by heart.