A letter from a reader about Barron '77 and his pianos

July 22, 2007:

I really enjoyed James Barron 77's article (Perspective, June 6). I'm glad to know that K0862 has such a happy home. One question: What happened to Mrs. Sperling's piano?

St. Louis, Mo.

Editor's note: Here is Barron's response: "I'm lucky. I have Mrs. Sperling's piano again. It stayed at my parents' house when I went to Princeton – and when I graduated and moved to New York. My parents said I could have Mrs. Sperling's piano when I got apartment that was big enough for it. Years later, when I found such a place, they changed their minds. They had just moved to a new house and wanted Mrs. Sperling's piano there. Finally, about five years ago, they downsized and sent along Mrs. Sperling's piano. It's at our weekend house, and I'm still under its spell.

"But it's not the piano mentioned on the dedication page of Piano: The Making of a Steinway Concert Grand. That's the piano that's in our Manhattan apartment, a 1927 Steinway B that came with my wife. It was bought by her grandfather, an ear, nose, and throat surgeon who got one of his patients to try all the pianos in Steinway's Manhattan showroom and choose one. That patient was the irascible virtuoso Moriz Rosenthal, the last living pupil of Franz Liszt and a teacher of the remarkable pianist and scholar Charles Rosen '48 *51."


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