Last Breaths of a Piano at Watford General Hospital.

May 09, 2009

In early September last year (2008) I went to Watford General Hospital to interview Medical Director Graham Ramsay about hospital bugs and a new unit that was being built. While waiting for Mr Ramsay I sat in a room where a piano was being taken apart with a combination of electric gadgets and brute force.

I asked the man tak­ing it apart why he was do­ing this to what ap­peared to be a per­fectly play­able mu­sical in­stru­ment. There was nowhere to put it al­legedly and it was tak­ing up too much room where it was. I half con­sidered at­tempt­ing to res­cue it but found there was sadly no room in our place for the doomed in­stru­ment either.

As the man car­ried off an­other plank from the pi­ano on a trol­ley I grabbed my sound re­corder, ran up to the keys and bashed out around seven notes, not really in any or­der or melody. Be­fore I could try to play any­thing melodic the door creaked open and the man came in to take apart the rest of the in­stru­ment. It would prob­ably never play or be played again aside from a fi­nal dis­tor­ted crash when it was des­troyed.

When I came back from the in­ter­view the pi­ano was gone.

About nine months later (May 2009) I de­cided to do something with the re­cord­ing. I looped it through delays, a com­pressor and a graphic equal­iser (second re­cord­ing be­low).

As a fi­nal state­ment for an in­stru­ment that I am sure had an in­ter­est­ing and pro­duct­ive life it is not much but I hope it is bet­ter than noth­ing and will al­low the in­stru­ment to live on in some way. If any­one wishes to take the raw re­cord­ing and re­mix it in an­other way I would very much ap­pre­ci­ate it.

Pho­to­graphs above taken be­fore and just after the in­ter­view.

Last Breaths of a Piano at Watford General Hospital

by Filip Hnízdo Tracks: 2 Released: 2009

Last Breaths of a Piano at Watford General Hospital

Last breaths of a piano at Watford General Hospital

Tagged with: music