What is it you love about the piano?
Is it the intricacies of the inner workings of this amazing instrument itself? Is it the aesthetic beauty of a finely crafted instrument, so pleasing to the eye? Maybe it's the sheer joy of listening to (and creating) the glorious music that emerges from the body and soul of a piano being played by someone who truly loves it?
If you love any or all of these things about the piano, then GRAND OBSESSION is a book for you!
This memoir, by long-time Piano World forums member Perri Knize, is available now at Amazon.com and Barns & Noble as well as many fine booksellers throughout the country. By special arrangement with the author and publisher, Piano World has obtained permission to excerpt selections from the book (see below). Stay tuned for new installments!
We can all be thankful that Perri's background as a reporter, author, and pianist came together when her "obsession" to find the perfect piano with the perfect sound drove her to write this extraordinary book based on her experiences.
Her adventures reach far beyond the scope of the average piano buyer. In fact, she goes places even those of us "in the business" have never been. Luckily for all of us, she takes us along for the ride.
From the Pacific Northwest to Piano Row in New York, from basement workshops to the Alps of Austria, Perri follows wherever her questions lead her. The more riddles she solves, the more new questions pop into her head, and off she goes again to chase down the answers.
Along the way she meets some of the most interesting and talented characters in the piano business. From each of them she gathers a few more pieces of the puzzle she is trying desperately to solve.
What is it that makes her "Marlene" (yes, she named her piano, and no, that isn't as odd as you might think) sound and play the way she does when everything is right? And more importantly, what caused Marlene to lose her voice, and how will she ever get it back?
Perri will stop at nothing to find these answers, and that is part of the charm and fun of this book.
For example, not content with the explanation of where her soundboard came from, or how it was made, Perri travels to Europe, hikes into the very forest where the trees used to build her piano's soundboard were cut, learns about how to select trees for tonewood, and then goes on to watch the craftsmen who actually created the soundboard and built the belly of her piano practice their art.
Even if you have no interest in the piano at all, this book is a good read based on the sheer fun of following Perri on her adventures. And if you do have any interest in the piano (as I suspect you do or you wouldn't have read this far), this book is a must have!
In it you will learn about the emotional effect music has on us all, and the camaraderie musicians of all stripes share. You will also learn more than you could have imagined about what goes into making and caring for a piano, and about the many people behind the scenes that contribute to the finished product.
But most of all, you will learn why music in general, and the piano in particular, captures our hearts and minds and transports us to another place. Thank you, Perri Knize.
Enjoy the book. I certainly did.
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(Grand Obsession Author Perri Knize is a long-time member of our piano forums).
Grand Obsession thread on our Piano Forums