(Readers are encouraged to begin with Part I:
Subsequent tunings would align strings that had strayed slightly. This went on for several weeks as the piano tuning had be be done slowly when restoring to concert pitch and to also even out the strings that had been abandoned for so long.
When I improvised at the keyboard, I found myself struggling with the inertia of my own neglect. And somehow I my guilt and ineptness struck out at the piano for not performing as it had twenty years ago... it seemed slow and sluggish (or was that me?)
But as I searched to find my way over the keys beneath my fingers, the piano seemed to be replying "Where were you all this time? What you are asking me to do is unfair... I haven't struck these hammers to the keys in so many years... do you think I can be instantly repaired as though those silent years never happened?"
It has not been an easy road to recovery for this wonderful piano that was such a wonderful friend and source of inspiration through its inimitable sonorities.
But the journey back may have been even more tortuous for myself. My encounters have been fitful with slight instances of breakthroughs when truly new ideas erupt in a multitude of accidents that somehow assumed shape and substance. But do these musical ideas stick in the mind? In the past this was simply a process of sitting down with my friend, fingers poised on the keys... and the adventure resumed often from the previous endpoint. Now I seem to be trying to rebuild pathways to the continuous improvisation and discovery. In the past there was never a thought that this musicing would lead to anything outside itself.
Some have suggested I should record these transient episodes with this piano, as though that would serve to replace musical ideas when memory fails me. But this is a more organic process and such recording would never replace the texture and substance of thought and physical connection with my Steinway friend. We both have enormous chasms to bridge within ourselves. It may be true that the reconstruction required may beyond my reach and the rich of my friend who exists only to map the sonorities in exquisite detail in the expectancy of Time unfolding.
And yet there have been such wonderful moments of sonority that touches and resonates somewhere is the deep recesses of consciousness, lingering on the brink of that vast inner domain we call the unconscious. But the unconscious mind is just a construction, an invention to explain the ineffable domain that we are constantly surfing and mining.
But my Steinway seems to be forgiving me... its resonances coaxing me in new directions. It is a new process and new era.