Euro Piano Magazine - October, 2006
By Jan GroBbach
The organisers of this year's Nordisk Pianotreff, which took place in Drammen (Norway) from 12th to 14th October, introduced a new concept into the programme. Participants could choose between a "classical" Pianotreff with a row of practical and theoretical courses or a three-day workshop devoted entirely to grand regulation.
Workshop trainer, Roger Jolly, had flown in specially from Canada to hold this unusual seminar - carried out for the first time in Europe. Seven new Petrof grand pianos were brought directly from the factory to the convention location - Union Scene (a former paper factory converted to a cultural centre). The instruments, which were all in "raw" condition, were first examined and evaluated by Roger Jolly and pianist, Einar Sten Nokleberg. It was now up to the participants, under the guidance of Roger Jolly and six group leaders to put the grands into optimal condition following a written plan.
As three days were available and the groups consisted of only three persons, every participant had the chance of doing intensive practical work. Roger Jolly's involvement as trainer was a stroke of luck. He is not only an experienced and competent specialist but also an effective teacher of his craft. Not a sign of ennui in his presence. The subtitle of the seminar was "Interactive Regulation and Voicing of the Grand Piano" and certainly Jolly emphasised the fact that virtually all regulating steps inter-act and influence each other.
It was especially exciting to follow the results of the work in direct comparison, not only between before and after but also between the seven instruments of identical construction. It was amazing to observe how the partly "stubborn" pianos were transformed step-by-step. Before treatment only one of the instruments met with Einar Sten Nokleberg's approval; at the end he confessed to having difficulty in choosing one instrument as his favorite. On the latter and a further piano with slightly different charcteristics he performed a number of pieces for the participants at the end of the convention, thus making audible the success following three day's work.
Starting a day later the classical Pianotreff programme got underway parallel to this seminar. This was a stimulating mixture of lectures and practical demonstrations.
Odd Aanstad, know for his presence at numerous European piano conventions, demonstrated the use of the computer programme "Pianalyzer" as an aid to timbre analysis when voicing. This programme, compact and easy to operate, is incorporated in the Reyburn Cybertuner.
Carl Johan Forss presented his three extensive text books for apprentice technicians. They are in Norwegian but the first two volumes have been translated into German. A german version of the third volume covering tuning is in preparation. Versions in English and further languages are planned so that this trilogy could become a standard work for European piano technicians in training.
Richrd Brekne, American resident of Norway, led a discussion on the merits and drawbacks of seating strings. His lecture is a follow-up to an article written for the PIG's Piano Technician's Journal and reproduced in this issue.
Daniela Knecht, head of the service dept. at W. Schimmel in Braunschweig, demonstrated maintenance work on a Schimmel grand that had not been used for a number of years. Evidence of wear and tear, despite the years of playing, was not so obvious so that the lecturer had to worsen the condition artificially...
Dr. Martin Kobza, representative of the main sponsor, Petrof, spoke about the construction, choice of materials and production methods of the new Petrof grand model "Passat 210".
Matthias Stockle from the Renner company explained how to choose the correct hammers and other parts for action re-building.
A pleasant break after the day's work was a coach journey to a neighbouring mountain; a unique spiral-shaped tunnel has been built into the rock. From the top there is a fantastic view of the fjord and the lights of Drammen in the dusk. Nils-Henrik Jansen, our host as president of the Norwegian association, had organised a number of crates of Norwegian beer, which considering the cost of alcoholic drinks in this otherwise enviable country, was no mean feat.