This reminds me of a true story about the Austrian organist/
harpsichordist Susi Jeans (Lady Jeans).
She lived in a vast old rambling 18th-century house in the south of
England, Cleveland Lodge.
In the late 1960s she thought her gas bills were too expensive so she
A few days later a man from the British Gas Board arrived.
She made him sit down and played him the JSB E minor trio sonata on
She got her bills reduced.
On Feb 6, 2008, at 11:27 AM, Rodney Myrvaagnes wrote:
> I got my wife to type a Landowska anecdote from her childhood in
> largely Polish central CT.
> I recall reading a modified story of this incident by Wanda
> Landowska but I can't seem to locate it. It concerned how to
> determine whether one captured the right spirit of a dance. I
> thought readers might be interested in another viewpoint.
> My Uncle Henry worked as a fireman in Torrington, CT. Since
> firemens' hours are irregular and involve some weekdays off, many
> of the guys moonlighted by making occasional deliveries for the
> local furniture store.
> One day Henry got an order to deliver a chair to an address in
> Lakeville. When he got there, he recognized that the lady of the
> house was Polish. He said some words to her in her native language
> and they had a short conversation. She then asked him to get some
> coal for the stove from the cellar . Always happy to help a lady,
> Henry complied. When he returned the lady was playing some dance
> music on a strange instrument that was "sort of like a piano" but
> wasn't. Upon hearing it, he danced a little jig (that was the
> playful way Uncle Henry acted and was quite believeable). The lady
> was very excited to see this. Henry thought she was overreacting
> and wasn't sure what all the fuss was about.
> ******************* end of Barbara********
> I don't think Uncle Henry ever knew who the lady was, or what a
> harpsichord is. WL did tell the story differently. Maybe some
> lister can come up with it.
> Henry was, however, the grandfather of the then 6-year old girl who
> took stubbornly to the little fretted clavichord we brought to the
> Highland Lake cottage, repeating the one chord sequence she knew
> over and over until it came into tune. I thought this showed a
> latent musical talent but she never went anywhere with it. We both
> remember Henry being present on that occasion, but it was about 35
> years ago.
> Rodney Myrvaagnes
> Please send emails to
> rodneym (AT) alumni (DOT) tufts (DOT) edu
> with obvious corrections.
Professor of Music; University Organist; Director University Baroque
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