Grand pianos are rather expensive. You need to keep them safe, at the right temperature, at the right humidity, stable and also polished to a really high glossy standard. When in Gent the other weekend we came upon this strange boat with a remarkable cargo.
It was moored at a riverside restaurant, so we assumed it was for entertaining the dinner guests later that evening. We carried on walking down the narrow streets and lanes and were just crossing a bridge when we heard piano music being swept in our direction by the wind. No, it was not “Blowing in the Wind”, but some classical piece. So we looked upstream and saw this surprising scene.
A man was using his whole body weight in order to steer this, as it turned out to be, Bangladeshi wooden boat. A pianist was assisted by a helper to both keep the sheet music on the stand and to turn the pages at appropriate moments. A woman was sitting next to a man getting ready to jump ashore to moor the vessel.
The pianist was very good and a crowd was gathering on the river bank and on the bridge. Everybody seemed astonished, but all the faces lit up and people were smiling and chatting about this rare musical event.
The pianist kept on playing while the boat was being moored. But was the woman just decoration? No, all of a sudden she stood up and started singing.
I do not know who they were, why they were performing in this unusual way, and I did not recognise the music, but it was a nice surprise and very enjoyable. A grand piano and a soprano thrown in for good measure, not bad for a stroll in the old town of Gent. (I wonder how much the insurance was for this musical adventure?)