A wonderful spontaneous recording by Hyperion Knight on the Alexander Piano.
Knight performed a bit of Gershwin and other songs as well.
Gershwin’s Embraceable you by Hyperion Knight on the Alexander piano in a wonderful informal recording session. 3 pieces in 2 hours!
This incredible instrument, known as the “Alexander Piano”, was hand-built by Adrian Mann of Alexander Pianos in Dunedin, New Zealand. When asked why he wanted to build such a large instrument, Adrian replied that he wanted to hear what a long bass string sounded like.
It occurred to me that long bass strings sounded better. … knocked a waratah (metal fence post) into the ground at both ends and with a big piece of timber with a hole and tuning pin in it I strung up an enormous bass string. After finding a safe tension I tuned it to the lowest A on a piano by moving rocks along the wire.I discovered the most interesting sound and from this point I was determined to build a piano to have the longest string sounding like this. I later did more experimenting. Fifteen year old me said “Mum I’m going to build a piano!”
And so he did. With the help of his friend with a large farm and consultation of books such as the 1916 “A Treatise on the Art of Piano Forte Construction“, Mann forged ahead with construction until completion.
Knowledge was everywhere if you looked hard enough and pulling pianos apart was a crucial part of learning. Making the parts was another kind of learning I was better at. it was more hands on! Cutting, planing, chiseling, machining, grinding and welding.
Here’s Mann debuting the Alexander Piano in 2017.
via The Awesomer