From an e-mail from Neely Bruce, music professor:
When the newly renovated Wesleyan Memorial Chapel opened “for business” again (three years ago) the Music Department intended to move one of its nine-foot grand pianos into the space. For logistical reasons this proved impossible. For three years we were able to spare a perfectly good little Mason and Hamlin for use in the chapel, a nice piano to be sure but not really appropriate to such a magnificent public space. I am happy to report that the M&H is safely back in the department and we have a wonderful NEW seven-foot piano in the chapel.
This instrument is an August Foerster — a make not that well known in the US but legendary in Europe, particularly Eastern Europe. It was the favorite piano of Serge Prokofiev, Emil Gilels, and most of the major Russian pianists of the first half of the twentieth century. Through the good agency of Wilhelm Gertz, piano dealer and technician extrodinaire, we have been able to purchase this instrument at a substantial savings.
This piano is extraordinarily beautiful, and quite different from the Steinway sound you may associate with a grand piano. It is more clear, more agile, and more evenly balanced (the strings are much of the secret). It is probably the best piano on campus now. [See http://www.august-foerster.de for more information, or Google ‘”August Foerster” piano.’]
To introduce this wonderful piano to the community I am going to play a short recital at NOON a week from today, that is, Monday 25 September. There will be other publicity about this event, but I wanted you to know a bit more about it. After all, the chapel piano is not just a concert instrument — it is used for weddings, funerals and memorials, campus worship, etc., etc. Many of you will appreciate that our community has this new resource. And some of you may want to play it in a future concert. Come on the 25th and check it out!
WHO: Neely Bruce, pianist
THE PROGRAM: An improvisation in classical style; Variations on “Come un agnello” by MOZART; Two Friendly Fugues (dedicated to a Wesleyan alumna and a member of the Wesleyan administration, and based on their names, metamorphosed into fugue subjects — their names are a surprise, so come and find out who they are) by BRUCE; and the Sonata in B minor of CHOPIN.
Name: A piano recital on the NEW AUGUST FOERSTER piano
Date: Monday, September 25th
Venue: Memorial Chapel