10. Replacement in Buksnes Church: Steinway & Sons model D, 2018
Buksnes Church was first out in Lofoten with its own concert grand piano in 2007. The instrument was built during a period when the Steinway & Sons factorywas experimenting with mechanics to make the sound more powerful. Despite the fact that they succeeded with the sound, this was at the expense of the type of play which became heavier, and less responsive in the estimate than usual. Several pianists commented to this, including our own Leif Ove Andsnes. Gradually there was a desire to change the instrument.
The Steinway & Sons factory no longer produces instruments in this way.
The organist in Buksnes Church, Andrey Pirotzkov (who is a pianist) never became completely familiar with the instrument. He therefore used other grand pianos several times when he was to perform concert repertoire for piano. In consultation with Knut Kirkesæther, it was therefore decided to put the instrument up for sale. The intention was to replace this with the larger model, Steinway & Sons model D.
Lofoten’s sole in red mahogany
The festival’s piano technician – Thomas Hübsch at the Berlin Philharmonic – said he was willing to find a similarly renovated grand piano that the Meieriet Art Center had bought in 2017. But when Buksnes Church put the instrument up for sale, an instrument dealer in Bergen got in touch. He had just been commissioned to sell a 1987 Steinway & Sons Model D for a private individual. The price was about the same as what Thomas Hübsch suggested the Berlin Philharmonic would have.
At the request of the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival, Leif Ove Andsnes – who lives in Bergen – was asked to try the instrument. Built in deep red mahogany, the instrument itself was a beautiful sight. In addition, Leif Ove stated simply: “no new grand piano is being built with a quality like this”.
The former instrument in Buksnes Church was sold for NOK 500,000,- and the congregation in Vestvågøy entered into an agreement for the instrument in Bergen with a nominal value of NOK 700,000,-. Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival contributed with an interest-free loan of the remaining 200,000, – in exchange for having the right to use the instrument during the festivals. The new concert grand piano arrived at Buksnes Church 1. October, and was inaugurated in February the following year. Organist Andrey was brilliantly pleased.
Already a coveted grand piano
In connection with his concert in Lofoten in the winter of 2020, Leif Ove Andsnes specifically asked to play in Buksnes Church. Thomas Hübsch traveled from Berlin for the occasion, and worked non-stop for 9 hours to adjust the mechanics of the grand piano before Andsnes arrived. In connection with such concerts, there is close contact between artist and technician. At this level, high demands are placed on both the mechanics and the sound, and Hübsch had several work sessions to make Andsnes happy. He was, and our foremost classical musician delivered a brilliant solo concert in Buksnes church on Sunday 26. January 2020.