At New York’s Armory, piano music in a giant pool

Posted on: December 5, 2014

In Thursday’s (12/4) New York Times, William Grimes reports that on December 9 at New York’s Park Avenue Armory, in an installation “conceived by the Scottish conceptual artist Douglas Gordon, the French pianist Hélène Grimaud will perform a one-hour program of works inspired by water, as a controlled flood transforms the hall into a giant, glassy lake. In a slow creep, the water—all 122,000 gallons of it—will occupy nearly 33,000 square feet and, mirrorlike, turn the armory’s ceiling upside down, plunging it into what seems to be a bottomless, liquid-filled space…. Water creates humidity, which is kind to human skin but death to a piano… Engineers showed that if the water in the lake was cooled to a constant temperature of 50 to 55 degrees, with a surrounding air temperature of 70 to 76 degrees, the result would be zero humidity… Grimaud may make changes to her current recital program, a nine-work selection that begins with short pieces by Luciano Berio, Toru Takemitsu, Liszt and others, and concludes with Brahms’s Sonata No. 2. It seems inconceivable, though, that she will drop Debussy’s ‘Sunken Cathedral,’ a prelude that might as well have been commissioned for the occasion.”

Posted December 5, 2014