Frank Benner
piano technician


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piano stories

The Secret



The grand piano was dangling in the air and its silhouette was drawn like a burned chopstick against the snowy mountaintops.

In between the black-lacquered wood and the cables that were holding the instrument in its grip, a grey blanket was shoved in.
The yellow crane was towering above the house like a stiff giant and started slowly to lower its burden.
Just above the balcony, the piano was kept floating and moved softly to and fro.
The cables made a light creaking sound, the electric lifting equipment made a humming noise and the sun was burning.
Down in the shadow of the houses, the undercarriage of the crane filled up the full width of the sloping street.
A square crossbeam was wedged against the rear-wheels.
When the piano was hanging completely still
the people started talking again, children and dogs ran around, sturdy women put down their baskets filled with vegetables and craned their necks.

There were three movers.
One was operating the crane and the other two went into the house with the heavy legs of the grand piano tucked under their arms.
The porch was kept open.
One little wheel was scratching the unfinished oak door.

When one of the men returned to get the shoe for the grand, the sidewalk was crowded with children.
The doors of the balcony flew open and suddenly the second man was standing in between the blue flowers.
He looked out over slated roofs, rolling meadows, over terraces bordered with grey stones; here and there he saw a skinny cow, down the valley he saw the small silver line of the river.
"I am going down", said the operator.

The man with the shoe came onto the balcony: arms wide the men stood waiting, they were reaching high to get hold of the grand and slowly were letting it descend on the shoe.
The crane pulled up its arm with the heavy hook, leaving the piano behind on the balcony like an unmanageable load.
From the inside someone pushed open the balcony doors even further.
White curtains were flapping outside in the draft.
The men in their cornflower blue coats were bending over on two sides of the instrument and over two parallel planks of wood they pushed it unsteadily inside.
Downstairs the children cheered.

The doors closed.

First chapter of the novel “Het Geheim” by Anna Enquist published: De Arbeiderspers Amsterdam.

This translation was made by Catelijne Benner, there are however English translations available of books by Anna Enquist





The pianist


Raoul Dufy

(...)
Using one hand Erika Kohut just played on the piano of sense; using the other she played the piano of passions.
First the passions have been celebrated, now the sense, that drives her home, quickly over dark alleys, has a turn.
But others too have achieved the work of the passions in her place.
The teacher has looked at it and given it a number appropriate to her possibilities.

Almost she was drawn away in one of those passions, if someone had caught her at it.

Erika is running between the lines of trees, where the dying is already wandering around because of the mistletoe. Many branches already said goodbye to their spot in the trees and have fallen into the grass.
Erika is leaving her watchtower to return to the warm nest.
On the outside nothing of the confusion is showing. Inside there is a whirlwind blowing when she sees the young male bodies wander around the Prater, she could almost be their mother if you look at her age!
Everything that has happened before that age is irrevocable over and can never be repeated.
Who knows what the future will bring.

New accomplishments in the medical science can make the woman keep her female functions until her old age.

Erika is fasting her zip.
That way she protects herself against touches. Accidental touches too. But in her hurt inner self the storm grazes her still juicy meadows. (...)


Part from “The Pianist” A novel by Elfriede Jelinek about music, a woman and love.
published: van Gennep Amsterdam.

Catelijne Benner made this translation; there are however English translations available of books by Elfriede Jelinek.




Life or Piano? and
Dust on the Piano