Reader’s Selects Book Discussion

Piano: The Making of a Steinway Concert Grand
by James Barron

Meeting: March 20, 2007

Barron chronicles how an immigrant family created an American cultural institution. The book follows the construction process of a Steinway concert grand piano named K0862 from inception to performance. The book examines the history of the Steinway Company from its humble beginnings in Germany to its current icon status in the United States. Most fascinating were Barron’s descriptions of the craftsmen who built the K0862 in the Queens factory, using techniques that for the most part haven’t changed since mid the 1800s.

Prior to the meeting I was concerned that the book would not generate much discussion because there was no controversy or conflict that would generate strong opinions. But I was wrong, the meeting turned out to be one of our better discussions with everyone participating. People were reminiscing about pianos they owned and taking lessons etc. One couple had a personal interest in the book because their nephew Robert was quoted in it. Robert Taub is a professional pianist of some renown and was one of the first people to play the featured piano K0862. The Taubs were not able to attend the meeting but left the group a compact disc of Robert playing a Steinway and hearing the music was a perfect way to conclude our discussion.

Chris Garland

Our Next Meeting is May 15, Melville Branch @7:30
We will be discussing The ghost map : the story of London’s most terrifying epidemic– and how it changed science, cities, and the modern world / Steven Johnson

Call the Melville Branch to reserve a copy. 421-4535

*A note from the author James Barron

Dear Mr. Garland
It was so nice to come in this morning and, thanks to a Google alert, to find your blog report on the discussion about “Piano” waiting in my e-mail in box. And it was nice chatting with you on the phone.

Attached (I hope) is a PDF of the postcards promoting my appearances with Robert Taub next week at Steinway (109 West 57th Street in Manhattan). Please feel free to print and post them and/or forward them to people who might be interested in attending.

I don’t know whether his aunt or uncle mentioned it, but he and I were college classmates. I didn’t expect things to turn out this way, but of all the pianists who tried out K0862 for me, he really was the one for whom K0862 sounded as if it had been made.

As I mentioned on the phone, everyone is welcome next week, but anyone who wants to attend should call to reserve a place (212-246-1100)

Thanks so much,
James Barron


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