Tag Archives: Imagine

Imagine

22 Jan

Just the other day I was walking on West 57th Street near Carnegie Hall and I passed Steinway Hall.

Or, I should say that I passed Steinway Hall – did a quick double take – then backtracked to stare into their window.

For those of you desiring a bit of history, info and trivia:

Steinway & Sons is a premier piano manufacturing company; their handmade pianos are regarded by many to be the finest in the world.

Papa Steinway (Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg) started making pianos in his German kitchen in 1836. He and his family emigrated to the United States 1n 1850.

According to Wikipedia:

In 1853, H.E. Steinweg founded Steinway & Sons. His first workshop was in a small loft at the back of 85 Varick Street in the Manhattan district of New York City. The first piano produced by Steinway & Sons was given the number 483 because H.E. Steinweg had built 482 pianos in Germany. Number 483 was sold to a New York family for $500, and is now displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Cool, very cool! I want to go see that first American Steinway piano #483 at The Met!!

More from our friends at Wikipedia:

Steinway Hall  is the name given to buildings housing concert halls, showrooms and sales departments for Steinway pianos. In 1864 William Steinway (the son of H. E. Steinway, who is credited with establishing Steinway’s remarkable success in marketing) built a set of elegant new showrooms housing more than 100 pianos on East 14th Street in Manhattan, New York City. In 1866, William Steinway oversaw the construction of the first Steinway Hall to the rear of the showrooms.

The Steinway Hall seated more than 2,000 and quickly became an important part of New York City’s cultural life, housing the New York Philharmonic for the next 25 years until Carnegie Hall opened in 1891.

Concertgoers had to pass through the piano showrooms; this had a remarkable effect on sales, increasing demand for new pianos by four hundred in 1867 alone.”

Brilliant marketing!!

From the plaque on the 57th Street building, in part:

Steinway Hall was constructed in 1924-25… After Carnegie Hall opened in 1891, West 57th Street gradually became one of the nation’s leading cultural music centers. Steinway & Sons followed this trend, relocating to this area from East 14th Street… Steinway & Sons continues to be the city’s only remaining piano maker.”

It’s interesting to me that neither the entry in Wikipedia or the historic information on the Steinway & Sons website mention the move to West 57th Street. I wonder why??

Well, a bit of interesting Steinway/WWII trivia, again from our friends at Wikipedia:

During World War II the Steinway factory in New York City received orders from the Allied Armies to build wooden gliders to convey troops behind enemy lines. Few normal pianos could be made, but some 3,000 special models were built by Steinway, the Victory Vertical or G.I. Piano. It was a small piano, able to be lifted by four men, painted olive drab, gray or blue, designed to be carried aboard ships or dropped by parachute from an airplane, in order to bring music to the soldiers.”

Amazing, to think of pianos being parachuted out of planes, during the war!

Anyway, back to what draw my attention in the showroom window:

The John Lennon “Imagine” Series Limited Edition piano.

The sign in the window reads:

To commemorate the 70th birthday of a true creative genius – legendary musician and songwriter John Lennon – Steinway & Sons proudly introduced the “Imagine” Series Limited Edition piano. Modeled after the white Steinway that John presented to Yoko Ono on her birthday in 1971, this piano incorporates John’s drawings, signature, music and lyrics. Each piano bears a medallion indicating its uniqueness. “Imagine” was composed on a Steinway piano, and today the connection lives on through a piano that is a tribute to the man, the music and the message.”

“Excellent!” I thought. But then I thought, “John Lennon was born in 1940. He was 40 years old when he was murdered in 1980.”

I guess this sign and this piano have been here in the Steinway widow for a couple of years.

Brilliant marketing!!

Well, it made me stop and look! And who knows? If I had oodles of money (and space), maybe I’d be tempted to buy one of these Limited Edition pianos.

BUT, on the Steinway & Sons website pertaining to this series, the page is blank.

Have they have sold out of the series? Either way, they seriously need to update their website.

Anyway – before this post’s grand finale – here is one more bit of trivia about John’s white Steinway piano, again from Wikipedia:

The world’s most expensive upright piano was built by Steinway’s factory in Hamburg, Germany, in 1970. The piano was bought by John Lennon for $1,500; Lennon composed and recorded “Imagine” and other tunes on it. In 2000, it was sold at auction by a private British collector. Pop musician George Michael made the winning bid of £1.67 million.”

I don’t know what that was in 2000 conversion rates, but in today’s market, 1.67 million pounds (GBP) converts to about 2.60 million dollars (USD)!

Ponder that while you listen to this:

“Imagine” – By John Lennon, 1971

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say 
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say 
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

xoxo,

SAllan

 

 

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