Pianos in harmony with palace halls – ARTS


The pianos in Istanbul’s Dolmabahçe Palace, which hosted some 1 million people last year, draw great interest from local and foreign visitors for their magnificence and harmony with their surroundings.

National Palace guide Osman Nihat Bişgin said Dolmabahçe Palace was a Tanzimat (reform-era) palace, adding, “All features of the reform era are clearly seen in Dolmabahçe Palace. This process, which we call the Europeanization and westernization process, made western music enter Dolmabahçe Palace.”

He said the palace had a total of 12 pianos, and all of them had ornamentations suitable to the style and harmony of the palace.

Bişgin said the palace opened in 1856 and the pianos were brought there nearly at the same time. “The wives of sultans were taking piano education in the palace, particularly in the final years of the Ottomans. There are many pianos and none of them were inactive; all of them were being played,” he said.

He said most of the piano brands in the palace were Hertz, Pleyel, Gaveau and Erard, and that the number of grand pianos was less.

Speaking of a striking green piano in Zülvecheyn Hall on the upper floor of the palace, Bişgin said it was a classical Pleyel-brand palace piano.

“Since the magnificence and glory was dominant in the palace, the pianos draw our attention visually. Their sound is not very famous, but they are very important and famous visually,” he said.

Bişgin said Zülvecheyn Hall had gilded ornamentation on its white and beige ceiling, adding, “We see enormous harmony between the piano and the ceiling.”

He said the furniture in Dolmabahçe Palace was in its original place, and added, “We can say that the pianos belong to these halls. The pianos in the Zülvecheyn and Süfera halls were designed to add visual richness to halls like them. They are not generally played.”

Crystal piano and chair in the Glass Kiosk

As for the rare crystal piano in the Glass Kiosk, Bişgin said the following: “The Glass Kiosk is a big venue hidden behind the walls of the palace. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk greeted the public in this place. It is like a winter garden surrounded with glass. In harmony with this kiosk, there is a crystal piano. It is a Paris-made Gaveau piano. Its chair is crystal, too.”

Another piano in the palace is a plain black German-made Steinway. Bişgin said its sound was very strong and it was very valuable.

“It was produced as a Hamburg Steinway in 1912. Then the factory moved to the U.S. Accordingly, there were only five Steinway pianos made in Germany. This is one of them. Its estimated price is 200,000 euros. It also has the emblem of the sultan Abdulmecid,” Bişgin added.

Speaking of the piano, which was used during the acceptance of ambassadors in the Süfera Hall, Bişgin said, “Süfera is the plural of the word sefir [ambassador]. This hall was created to address foreigners. The furniture is gold-plated; the ceiling is the same. There is a boulle-work piano here to show the beauty of metal and gold. This piano is wonderful for decoration.”

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June 1 ~ Today in Music History


• 1893 ~ Allesandre Spontone, Composer

• 1653 ~ Georg Muffat, Composer

• 1755 ~ Frederico Fiorillo, Italian Violist and composer

• 1757 ~ Ignaz Playel, Austrian Composer and piano builder

• 1763 ~ Johann Caspar Vogler, Composer, died at the age of 67

• 1765 ~ Friedrich Ludwig Seidel, Composer

• 1769 ~ Joseph Antoni Frantiszek Elsner, Composer

• 1771 ~ Ferdinando Paer, Composer

• 1776 ~ John George Schetky, Composer

• 1804 ~ Mikhail Glinka, Russian composer; “The Father of Russian Music”
More information about Glinka

• 1810 ~ Johann Paul Wessely, Composer, died at the age of 47

• 1826 ~ Carl Bechstein, German piano inventor

• 1826 ~ Hermann Zopff, Composer

• 1848 ~ Otto Valdemar Malling, Composer

• 1886 ~ Ernst Kurth, Austrian/Swiss musicologist

• 1892 ~ Samuel L M Barlow, Composer

• 1893 ~ Opera “Falstaff” was produced in Berlin

• 1898 ~ Edgar “Cookie” Fairchild, Bandleader for the Jerry Colonna Show

• 1898 ~ Lieb Glantz, Composer

• 1903 ~ Percy William Whitlock, Composer

• 1905 ~ Dinora de Carvalho, Composer

• 1909 ~ Szymon Goldberg, Polish/American violinist and conductor

• 1909 ~ Giuseppe Martucci, Composer, died at the age of 53

• 1918 ~ Friedrich Richard Faltin, Composer, died at the age of 83

• 1918 ~ Jaroslav Novotny, Composer, died at the age of 32

• 1919 ~ Boris Lazarevich Klyuzner, Composer

• 1921 ~ Nelson Riddle, Grammy Award-winning orchestra leader and arranger of popular music for Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole

• 1926 ~ Vasily Mikhaylovich Metallov, Composer, died at the age of 64

• 1929 ~ Yehudi Wyner, Composer

• 1934 ~ Pat (Charles Eugene) Boone, Singer, married to Red Foley’s daughter, Shirley

• 1935 ~ Alberto Cametti, Composer, died at the age of 64

• 1941 ~ Edo de Waart, Dutch conductor

• 1942 ~ Ernest Pingoud, Composer, died at the age of 53

• 1943 ~ Ely van Tongeren, Dutch guitarist and singer

• 1943 ~ Richard Goode, Concert pianist. In 1980 he won the Avery Fisher Award

• 1945 ~ Frederica Von Stade, American mezzo-soprano

• 1945 ~ Linda Scott, Singer

• 1946 ~ Carol Neblett, American soprano with the NYC Opera

• 1947 ~ Ron Wood, Guitar with Rolling Stones after 1975

• 1949 ~ Mike Levine, Rock keyboardist/bassist

• 1950 ~ Graham Russell, Singer with Air Supply

• 1955 ~ F Melius Christiansen, Composer, died at the age of 84

• 1959 ~ Celebrating a solid year at the top of the album charts was “Johnny’s Greatest Hits” on Columbia Records. The LP stayed for several more years at or near the top of the album charts. It became the all-time album leader at 490 weeks.

• 1960 ~ “Finian’s Rainbow” closed at 46th St Theater NYC after 12 performances

• 1961 ~ There was a new sound in the air this day. FM multiplex stereo broadcasting was enjoyed for the first time by listeners to FM radio in Schenectady, NY, Los Angeles and Chicago. The FCC adopted the standard a year later.

• 1964 ~ Rutkowski Bronislaw, Composer, died at the age of 66

• 1966 ~ George Harrison was impressed by Ravi Shankar’s concert in London

• 1967 ~ The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was released. One of the first critically-acclaimed rock albums, “Sgt. Pepper’s” became the number one album in the world and was at the top of the U.S. album list for 15 weeks.

• 1968 ~ Simon and Garfunkel’s Mrs Robinson hit #1

• 1970 ~ Everything was Beautiful by Ray Stevens hit #1

• 1971 ~ “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” opened at Golden NYC for 31 performances

• 1972 ~ Dmitri Shostakovitch’s 15th Symphony premiered in West Berlin

• 1973 ~ George Harrison’s Living in the Material World went gold

• 1973 ~ Paul McCartney and Wings released Live and Let Die

• 1974 ~ Alanis Nadine Morisette, Singer

• 1974 ~ “My Girl Bill” by Jim Stafford hit #12

• 1975 ~ “Chicago” opened at 46th St Theater NYC for 947 performances

• 1980 ~ Barbra Streisand appeared at an ACLU Benefit in California

• 1988 ~ “Les Miserables” opened at Shubert Theatre, LA

• 1996 ~ Don Grolnick, Jazz musician, died at the age of 48