This piano looked so interesting in the pictures that I just HAD to get to play it. So, I took the metro south towards the Bella Sky Hotel, preparing to use all my charm on the reception staff.
And…success!!! I scored!!! We set up a date with the piano for Sunday morning.
The fabulous piano is a German Blüthner grand pimped by the famous Danish designer Poul Henningsen (1894-1967) in the 30s. (As a curiosity for fellow Finns, our design icon Alvar Aalto owned one of these pianos.)
The piano actually plays and sounds great. The looks? I think the design looks surprisingly modern, kind of timeless, though I’d still prefer the traditional looks for my living room
For this video, I also improvised a homage to another famous Dane, the great late Victor Borge.
Next city on my journey was Copenhagen, where I stayed for several days.
Copenhagen is in my mind always connected to jazz, maybe it could be called “the jazz capital” of Scandinavia. With this in mind, I began searching for jazz clubs and other places for pianos, and with some online searching and asking around, found quite many.
However, I found many challenges along the way. The first place I visited, had a grand piano, BUT, it was bolted shut and modified into a fancy table for DJ-equipment. O tempora o mores!!!
Another interesting looking place, the Library Bar, was closed for renovation at the moment.
Other challenges included opening time conflicts with my schedule, and places not allowing me to make the recording for variety of reasons.
But, despite these setbacks I found two extremely interesting places and pianos, and here is the first one.
Cafe Intime, founded in 1922, used to be the first gay bar in the city. Now, it has a diverse audience, kind of a family feel among the regulars, and very open-minded attitude towards visitors, not to mention one of the friendliest staffs I’ve ever seen! There is a cassically nice interior and atmosphere, and the grand piano in the corner is an integral part of it.
The piano is Hindsberg, a Danish piano manufacturer active from mid-1800s to mid-1900s. The regulars call this piano Miss Hindsberg, so it is definitely part of the family
There is also live piano music quite often, jazz, swing, and classic danish songs, with the whole bar singing along. Great stuff, good times!
My favourite thing in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin where I have lived for 8 months now is definitely the Landwehrkanal, a canal running through Berlin parallel to the Spree river.
Landwehrkanal brings some needed stillness of nature to this busy part of Kreuzberg (and the northern tip of Neukölln). On a fine day you can see many people hanging out at the banks of the canal, others jogging, biking or walking their dogs. Couple of times during the week there is also a Turkish Market with vast selection of things, foodstuff, apparel, jewelry, fabrics, etc…
Along the channel there is also a swing music themed cafe called Hepcat’s Corner, where there are often swing dance events as well as Sunday brunches and silent movies with piano accompaniment. That means, of course, that there is a piano there.
I went there one fine day to record the measure number 12 of my piece.