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Estonia Pianos
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Joined: May 2021
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I came across an archived registration of a Dutch television play from 1960 titled The Bar Pianist, a translated version of Go fall in love by Ted Allan. The bar pianist in question is played by Dutch composer / song writer Cor Lemaire, and the piano he’s playing in there intrigues me to no end.

At least, I’ve never seen such a low upright piano. It looks more like a digital piano than an acoustic one, but, yeah, those weren’t around in 1960.
I’ve seen some unusual acoustic piano’s before (especially in the Music Museum in Prague), but never anything like this.

Does anyone know if this was maybe a compact piano model specifically designed for performers who both played the piano and sang, so that they could face their audience without singing over their shoulder, or having to peek over the top of an upright?


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It looks like a Minipiano, made by Hardman, Eavestaff, and several other manufacturers under license. One of the first spinets.


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I was wondering if it's a Charles Walter except it's unlikely, to have ended up in Holland and the cabinet looks different.Did Charles Walter even exist at that time.Small uprights were quite popular after the war (at least for a while) even among European makers.I do not see that you can see enough of the piano to decide on the brand though.


My piano's voice is my voice to God and the great unknown universe, and to those I love.In other words a hymn.That is all, but that is enough.Life goes on, despite pain and fear.Music is beautiful,life is beautiful.


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Thanks! I’ll look those brands up 😊

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Definitely not a Charles Walter. They only make studio uprights, although they make some of them in a smaller case that they call consoles.


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That piano looks and sounds great! But if I count right, it looks like it has 80 keys though, in between Hardman (85 keys) and Eavestaff (73 keys) - is this right?


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I have tuned a couple of the Hardmans, and they had 88 keys. They were not great pianos. I suspect that the sound in the movie is not from that piano.


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Looks like an Eavestaff Minipiano to me.


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Originally Posted by cygnusdei
That piano looks and sounds great!

I presume that the movie soundtrack is of a bigger, better piano.

Regards,


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It's dubbed quite convincingly in that case. The actor must know how to play - maybe he could have recorded the soundtrack piano parts himself while using his original footage and audio as a guide?
Perhaps the original live audio from the spinet sounded about as good as the real voice of the guy playing Darth Vader: YouTube video of Darth Vader with and without James Earl Jones vocal overdub


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If it was dubbing, they would have to dub everything (both music and voice) though, because otherwise the voice mic would pick up the live piano - unless the piano was an ATX3? 😄 They could have used a grand piano, too, and avoided dubbing - if any.


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Thanks for the replies! 🙂

I’ve also wondered about the sound of the piano, because the small(-ish) uprights I’ve heard sound a bit on the tinny side, I suppose because of the short bass strings.

But this one is indeed quite good. However, I don’t think it is dubbed either, though it’s hard to prove either way. I would think that it would indeed be evident. The actor is definitely the one heard playing, it matches his style of accompaniment. He was a well-known musician in his time, and wrote some songs that are still well-remembered (if you’re Dutch and over a certain age wink ).

I know it’s just a gut feeling, but the whole programme feels quite “live” (as in “not elaborately produced”), which would supposedly also have been beyond the budget for a regular television production.

On a side note, I was led to that video of “the Barpianist” by an interview with his son Paul below, from ~ 1998. It contains some fragments of other performances by him.
Near the end (starting at 29:00 minutes) pianist Bert van der Brink and singer Donald Jones perform three Carl Sandburg poems (“Summer stars”, “A snatch of Sliphorn Jazz”, “Jazz Fantasia”) from a longer series that Cor Lemaire set to music.

It’s discussed in the video how he was given a bundle of Carl Sandburg poems by an American soldier while interred in a Japanese PoW camp during WW2, and was so struck by them that he eventually wrote those songs in the 1950’s.

They discuss the possibility of publishing and recording all of them.
I would definitely love to hear more but couldn’t find anything, so I asked Paul Lemaire about them. He answered that he’s working on some copyright-related issues that he hopes to resolve soon, so maybe we can then finally hear them ❤️



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