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Pianist Fan Of Rare Double Keyboard

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Gyorgy Sandor, professor of piano at the University, believes the double-keyboard piano may make a comeback. The internationally famous concert pianist regrets that the doublé keyboard ever passed f rom popularity. As matters stand, the only doublé keyboard believed to be in existence is in the University's School of Music. Sandor can recall when he played concerts on doublé keyboard pianos in the 1930s. He was called on for so many concerts on the instrument, he finally gave it up because of scheduling difficulties. However, when he was on concert tour in Los Angeles last winter, he found one in a ore and made sure the University got possession of it. It was tha first time Sandor had seen a doublé keyboard in 25 years. "The piano is the most importan';, the most expressive instrument of the day," Sandor says. "A doublé keyboard araplifies the possibilities of a normal piano. Sonorities absolutejy impossible before can be c tained on it." Sandor wishes some modernday piano manufacturer would see fit to solve the mechnical difficulties of the earlier doublé keyboards and produce the instrument. The pianist believes there are several reasons for doublé keyboards not being in use today. "They were produced before th; mechanical problems were solved," he says. "For instance, when you push the pedal to doublé, you must use much pressure to push the keys." Then there are what Sandor terms "certain psychological drawbacks." He says, "Big name pianists don't want to take out a year to learn to play the instrument." When Sandor plays the doublé keyboard, it sounds as if he had tour hands. With the second keyboard running above the regular piano keyboard, a pianist can reach a span of well over two octaves by using both hands simultaneously. A coupling device operated by a pedal similar to those on organs and harpsichords automatically doubles every note strúck with its upper octave. A 'dëvtce friables a pianist to ula chromatic glissando. Invented in 1921, the doubli keyboard piano was "put on thJ map" in the 1930s. Between 6(1 and 80 of the pianos were man! üfactured. Sandor says the Universitjl paid "peanuts" for the instruí ment he obtained for it. In doll lars, this was $2,500. He uses the U-M piano foil instruction with doctoral stu] dents. The U-M doublé keyboard was built by Bosendorger Co. irj Austria. Emanuel Moor, organJ ist and composer, is given credn it for inventing the unusual inj strument. Sandor wishes he had been able to take the doublé keyboard for demonstrations during his recent concert tour of Soutta American countries. As it was, Sandor was hailed by both audiences and critics in the cities where he played. El Espectator, newspaper in Bogotá, Colombia, said, "We were able to hear music in lts total dimensión. There should be more artists of the intellectual sincerity of this distinguished performer." La Prensa, newspaper ir Peru, reported, "The ciarity and beauty of his tone, his immaculaie technique, the nobility of his style, his expressiveness and vitality, the profound melancholy displayed in the Adagio and the imposing vigor of the Allegro made the audience burst out with thunderous applause. Few concerts like this one of Bartok possess such wealth of inspiration, such pow erful originality and such unmistakable beauty." Such sentiments were echoed after his concerts in Buenos ! Aires and elsewhere. Sandor e n j o y s his South American tours because the ; audiences show "old fashioned enthusiasm," often lining up backstage after performances. The South American cities also have a more flexible rriethod for scheduling performances. If they want to hear more of a scheduled performer, they will try to arrange an additional concert within days. By the same token, they have been known to cancel concerts if not enough tickets were sold. "We plan things more in this country," San dor says. "It would be ideal if we could have more flexibility in this country and they would have more planning down there." Sandor says that in this country, it is almost as if music were being rationed and "there is not enough room to build a following." Chosen by composer Bela Bartok to be his pupil when Sandor was 18, Sandor has played all of Bartok's concertos on tour and has recorded them. In 1946, he gave the world premiere of Barok's third piano concerto .with the Philadelphia Orchestta. While in Paris, he completed recording the complete piano jtjforks of Bartok, a task not previpusly undertaken by anyone. These records won the Grand sBxix du Disque 1964, a prize "gíven for the best recording of the year. . Candor now has recorded the complete piano works of Sergei Prokofiev, the more than 200 pieces mostly completely unknown, and they will be released early in September. Born in Hungary, Sandor was graduated from the Liszt Ferenc Conservatory in Budapest in 1933. Having studied composition with Zoltan Kodaly, he made his European debut in 1931. From 1931 to 1938, he performed extensively throughout Europe. Making his American debut at Carnegie Hall in 1939, he has appeared as soloist with the world's major symphony orchestras. A naturalized American citizen since 1943, Sandor has lectured at the University of Mexico and University of Bogotá and was head of the piano department of the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, Calif., from 1953 to 1961. From 1955 to 1961, he was artist-inresidence at Southern Methodist University at Dallas, Texas. In 1961, he carne to the U-M, where he is in charge of doctoral program in piano performance.