Thad Carhart never realized there was a gap in his life until he happened upon Desforges Pianos, a demure little shopfront in his Pairs neighborhood that seemed to want to hide rather than advertise its wares. Like Alice in Wonderland, he found his attempts to gain entry rebuffed at every turn. An accidental introduction finally opened the door to the quartier’s oddest hangout, where locals — from university professors to pipefitters — gather on Friday evenings to discuss music, love, and life over a glass of wine.
Luc, the atelier’s master, proves an excellent guide to the history of this most gloriously impractical of instruments. A bewildering variety passes through his restorer’s hands: delicate ancient pianofortes, one perhaps the onetime possession of Beethoven. Great hulking beasts of thunderous voice. And the modest piano “with the heart of a lion” that was to become Thad’s own.
What emerges is a warm and intuitive portrait of the secret Paris — one closed to all but a knowing few. The Piano Shop on the Left Bank is the perfect book for music lovers, or for anyone who longs to recapture a lost passion.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Piano Shop on the Left Bank|
|Release Date: 06-12-2001|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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The Piano Shop on the Left Bank
Along a narrow street in the paris neighborhood where i live sits a little
store front with a simple sign stenciled on the window: “Desforges Pianos:
outillage, fournitures.” On a small, red felt-covered shelf in the window
are displayed the tools and instruments of piano repair: tightening
wrenches, tuning pins, piano wire, several swatches of felt, and various
small pieces of hardware from the innards of a piano. Behind the shelf the
interior of the shop is hidden by a curtain of heavy white gauze. The
entire façade has a sleepy, nineteenth-century charm about it, the window
frame and the narrow door painted a dark green.
Not so many years ago, when our children were in kindergarten, this shop
lay along their route to school, and I passed it on foot several times on
the days when it was my turn to take them to school and to pick them up.
On the way to their classes in the morning there was never time to stop.
The way back was another matter. After exchanging a few words with other
parents, I would often take an extra ten minutes to retrace my steps,
savoring the sense of promise and early morning calm that at this hour
The quiet street was still out of the way and narrow enough to be paved
with the cobblestones that on larger avenues in the city have been covered
with asphalt. In the early morning a fresh stream of water invariably ran
high in the gutters, the daily tide set forth by the street sweepers who,
rain or shine, open special valves set into the curb and then channel the
flow of jetsam with rolled-up scraps of carpet as they swish it along with