TRIPLE MOZART RONDO: 6 hands on 3 white pianos play the Turkish March
Stand by for “Tales of Hoffman?”
Friday, July 6, my third day back in my native city, was a day of new beginnings. And continued spiritual and musical ascent.
In the morning, I trodded on foot to Bajloniјеva Pijaca (a farmer’s market in my neighborhood). I returned from the outing refreshed and rejuvenated (for reasons why and the full story, see… BELGRADE REJUVENATES).
In the afternoon, I joined my nephews, Stasa and Bora, both gifted pianists, on a “hunt for a white music angel” – the piano for my Belgrade flat which would add the ethereal dimension to a beautiful Paris salon-like apartment.
EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF IMPOVERISHED MINER’S SON DRIVE AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Bora Nestorov is a professor of music who excels at teaching piano to young people. Stasa Jovanovic is a professor of railroad engineering. Yet he is also a gifted pianist. And you know who yours truly is – a free spirit impossible to slot into any profession or calling.
My two nephews and I comprised an unlikely trio of piano musketeers when we jumped into Stasa’s car on Friday afternoon, and headed south of Belgrade on the busy Ibar Highway that ultimately ends on Montenegro’s Adriatic coast.
Obviously first, because I had not lived in Belgrade for nearly 50 years. But also because I knew them both when they were babies. In fact, I used to live with Stasa’s father and mother in the same neighborhood where I am now, and occasionally babysit for his parents – to my horror!
You can just imagine what looking a screaming baby did for a self-image of a young male student eager for female company, not infants. 🙂
On our way down to Lazarevac, a small town about 50 km (30 miles) south of Belgrade, Bora told an extraordinary life story the man we were about to meet.
Mića (pronounced Micha), the young man in the purple shirt in the top right photo, has been a piano tuner for both Bora and Stasa for over 10 years. He was born to a dirt-poor coal mining family in Lazarevac. Chances of his becoming a successful businessman ranged from slim to none. The entire town lived off coal mining. “Lived,” may be an overstatement. “Existed” would be more appropriate. Barely.
Over the course of the last 15 years, Mića, who is only in his early 30s now, advanced from an apprentice to a piano tuner in his mid-teens, to running his own business as not just a registered tuner but also a piano dealer. And all that out of his own house which he built on the tiny plot where his poverty-stricken parents were struggling to raise their family.
Take a look at the exterior of Mića’s piano showroom. And then check out his collection several dozens pianos inside.
For me, the experience was like being in a candy store, and being allowed to sample the delights from any jars I wanted. Bora, the music professional, was extremely helpful as he knew these piano brands I had never heard of.
In the end, after about an hour of playing almost all the instruments you see in these pictures, and some others in the adjoining different showroom, my choice came down to two – a white Hoffman baby grand and a walnut-colored Petrof upright (Czech-made).
“So what do say?” Bora demanded a decision.
“Well, my heart tells me that I should get the white one (Hoffman),” I said, “but my brain tells me to go for the brown one,”
The reason my left brain was signaling brown was purely practical. I don’t crowded rooms. And I think my flat has too much furniture as it is, beautiful as the antique salon piece my landlady collected are, So an upright would fit in better into the room decor.
So I went back and played both of them again. In the end, the heart won. I chose the white one. Here’s a mockup of what it might look like in my living room.
“TALES OF HOFFMAN” FOLLOWED ME FROM ARIZONA TO SERBIA
I did not tell anyone that at the time, but there was another spiritual reason I chose the white music angel. It was its brand name – HOFFMAN. I felt my spirit guides were had already picked it before I left Arizona. For reasons yet to be revealed. But I always obey them even if I don’t understand why at first.
How did they do it?
The day I left Arizona, July 2, I woke up with music from the Jacques Offenbach’s opéra fantastique – The Tales of Hoffmann – in my Third Ear. Specifically, the Barcarolle “Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour” – “Beautiful night, oh night of love” – which opens the third act.
I sat down to play it by ear, and later printed the sheet music for it. It was my last musical act in Arizona. I wanted the sheet music so I could play it in the original key.
When I was about 12 or 13, I played the piano score of this piece at a concert in a duet with a pal of mine who was a violinist. And I had forgotten all about it until July 2.
GRAND FINALE: TRIPLE MOZART RONDO with 6 hands on 3 white pianos play the Turkish March
Meanwhile, back to the Lazarevac piano showroom, after Mića and I made arrangements for the delivery of my white angel on Monday, Bora suggested he take some photos of the Thee Musketeers each sitting at the three white pianos at the end of the showroom.
“Why just pose, why don’t we play,” Bora suggested.
And so, spontaneously, I started playing Mozart’s Rondo aka “Turkish March.” Without any practice whatsoever, Bora and Stasa joined in, And now you can see and hear the first 15 seconds of that musical impromptu.
Uncle and his two nephews stage an impromptu “concert” at a piano showroom in Lazarevac, Serbia while choosing a new piano for Bob – July 6, 2018 – a video clip by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – pianists Bob (left), Bora Nestorov (center) and Stasa Jovanovic (right)
Then, on a spur of the moment, at Bora’s suggestion, we all agreed to meet again, including Bora’s wife Dubravka, the opera singer, at my flat after the piano is delivered on Monday, and consecrate it and my flat with beautiful music. Bora and Dubravka promised to perform some beautiful Rachmaninoff songs. And Stasa and I will just improvise, as we usually do.
Here’s a version of Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, for example.
UPDATE JULY 9, 2018
INAUGURAL BELGRADE MINI CONCERT
Meet my new baby – the baby grand Hoffman.
My new piano arrived at my apartment this afternoon. And I let my nephew Stasa have the honors of choosing what the first sounds should be. He chose two Chopin waltzes – in C# minor and Grand Valse Brilante.
naugural Belgrade Mini Concert – “consecrating” my new piano with Chopin’s Waltz in C# minor and Grand Valse Brilante – – a film by Bob Djurdjevic – camera by Mića Vasiljević – July 9, 2018
Here also some still shots from this wonderful rainy afternoon.
UPDATE JULY 24, 2018
FIRST SOUNDS OF MY NEWLY TUNED HOFMANN: Mozart “Rondo alla Turca” (Turkish March)
My tuner Mića Vasiljević came back today to tune my new white Hofmann piano, which he also delivered to me on July 9, and adjust some left pedal and keyboard issues I have noticed in the last two weeks.
And here it is now, the first sounds out of my “new and improved” instrument. To me, it sounds MUCH BETTER. And it plays better, too. So from now on, you can only blame me for any faux pas. 🙂
SOME STILL SHOTS FROM THE RECORDING
UPDATE, PART 2
Testing Fast Repetition, Left Pedal
ROSSINI: WILLIAM TELL; VON SUPPE: LIGHT CAVALRY; CHOPIN: ETUDE
ROSSINI: WILLIAM TELL; VON SUPPE: LIGHT CAVALRY; CHOPIN: ETUDE – Testing Fast Repetition, Left Pedal – music and film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – July 24, 201 -Testing Fast Repetition, Left Pedal – music and film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – July 24, 2018