Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Peter and the Wolf and Nat (King) Cole?? Yes, Indeed!

For many years, my two brothers and I would get together yearly in the Berkshires for a few days, and catch up with one another.
One fine summer day, the three of us were walking down the main street of Great Barrington, and we went into a restaurant (French food, as I recall), which was not open at the time (it was morning).
My youngest brother had known that I was working on the daunting piano reduction of Peter and the Wolf, written by the composer himself, and knew that he would be the narrator when it finally was to be performed. He had arranged with the owner of this restaurant for me to rehearse with my brother, as we had not had the opportunity to do so as yet. The piano was, of course, available, as the restaurant was still closed, and the owner graciously threw the piano room open to us.
It was a small grand, not in very good tune, even though it was in use every evening during dinner hours.
As I sat down at the piano, I noticed a small plaque on the wall to my left, and was captivated (let alone surprised) by the words inscribed - this had been the piano of the legendary popular singer and pianist, Nat Cole (remember Nat "King" Cole and his trio, at the beginning of his career?) , who had a summer home in the Berkshires, and who gave this piano to the restaurant (Cole must have LOVED the food there!)
The rehearsal went well, in spite of the possibility that this particular piano had never been attacked by classical music, only by the legendary Nat Cole, and whoever now played pop music at this restaurant each evening.



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