Friday, July 15, 2011

Water Music in Gent

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.

Grand piano on river 1

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.

Grand piano on river 2

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.

Grand piano on river 3

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.

Grand piano on river 4

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?)


Anonymous said...

Oh -- what a wonderful surprise!

Veronica said...

water music - George Frideric Handel perhaps?

swenglishexpat said...

LadyFi - Yes, more of those please!

Veronica - No, not quite. I know the piece well and like it too. They would have had to stuff the boat with quite a few more musicians to be able to get all the necessary instruments on board! ;-)