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George P. Bent Crown Orchestral Piano

Exceptional George P. Bent Crown Orchestral Piano with tonal effects. Refinished cabinet and restored action.

The owner of the Geo. P. Bent Crown orchestral piano elaborates on its tonal possibilities:

The sound of the piano as full and round. Speaking as an organist, it comes close to the Open Diapason or Principal sound of the organ. The right pedal is the normal sustain. The far left pedal is the usual soft pedal found on vertical pianos: it softens the sound by reducing the striking throw of the hammers. The second pedal from the right is a lock down which, when depressed, does not allow the hammers to hit the strings. This provides the opportunity for fully weighted silent practice sessions, especially useful for scales and exercises.

The second pedal from the left is a two position lock down which moves the effects strip between the hammers and the strings. In the first position the hammers hit the small metal bars wrapped in leather. This gives a sharper initial sound to the string as it is set in motion. The second position strikes the leather strap which allows the wrapped bars to hit the strings and bounce off slightly. This definitely gives a more metallic sound. Using this pedal with the second from the right gives two additional sounds. With the second from the right locked down, the first position of the second from the left sounds reminiscent of a harpsichord. The second position sounds much like a clavichord.

Here is this piano's distinguished history in the owner's words:

The Geo P Bent Crown Orchestral piano came into my life in 1958. It was then residing in the hilltop residence of Loda Mae Davis, Dean of Students at University of Redlands, CA. Loda Mae and her friend, F. Eugene Miller, related that the piano had been played in her home by Marcel Dupré, then organiste titulaire at one of the major churches in Paris.  Dupré had designed the Casavant pipe organ in the Alumni Chapel at the unversity  and played there several times while on concert tour. Many other luminaries of the piano and organ played the instrument for casual social gatherings over the years.

When Loda Mae passed away in the 1970's Gene Miller inherited the piano and it was moved to his condo overlooking the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. At that location it was played by the following along with many others:
  • Fernando Germani, organist at St. Peter's in Rome
  • Pierre Cochereau, organiste titulaire at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris
  • Charles Shatto, organist at the Spreckels Pavilion in Balboa Park, San Diego, CA
  • David Craighead, head of the music department at the Eastman School of Music
  • Thomas Murray, head of the organ department at Yale University
  • Gaylord Carter, longtime theater, radio and television organist/pianist
  • André Watts, pianist of international reputation