Short video of Dave playing a snippet of "Summer Night's Breeze" on a 140 year old piano owned by a famous pianist, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, in Paso Robles, CA, October 31, 2018. We stumbled onto the piano after stopping for coffee on a road trip and learning about the famous resident of the town.
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— Paso Robles Paderewski Piano

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On a recent trip back from Santa Barbara we stopped at our favorite coffeeshop in Paso Robles (Spearhead coffee) and then wandered into the nearby Historical society building in the center of the town square.  I was suprised to learn about a famous pianist who lived there, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, first arriving in 1914.  He was like a rock star of his era, had his own railroad car with a grand piano in it and a bevy of women fans.  He gave 100 concerts in 120 days they say.  Anyways, on a lark, I asked if one of his pianos was still around, and the staff person said “Oh yeah, just go across the street to the Paso Robles Inn and ask at the front desk– the ballroom did not burn down in the fire”.  So we walked across the park, asked at the front desk, and they said “oh sure it's out in back”.  The ballroom is a separate building, and the door was unlocked and no one was inside.  The 1881 Weber grand piano (made of rosewood) is right there in the foyer, and the small sign says don’t spill your food on the keyboard but didn’t say anything about not playing it.  I found it in tune, remarkably.  The action is light, and does feel old, but is servicable.  There are lots of placards around giving the rich history of the piano and the man.  Was tickled to play on it.  I would highly recommend it to anybody.  Was the last thing I expected to do on that day (long drive up California and some kind of pollen or dust was bothering me). 

-Dave, 10/31/18

Summer Night’s Breeze (1990)

A characteristic of this piece is the thumb sliding down off a black key to the next lower white key, usually in a four or five-note group. This slide-finger motif is found in the rapid, blurry opening chords of the piece (too quickly for your ear to discern), and represents the warm evening wind. But this slide-fingering can be heard more distinctly in the very last section where the tempo is slow, leading through a progression of interesting chords, gradually accelerating to a crescendo to restate the introductory chords of the piece. Exploring this slide-finger movement generated this piece. Composition began spring 1990 and finished in time for an Autumn recital that year.

A full length rendition of the piece is in another video, larger (200 MB) and smaller (50 MB), in recital at the Lafayette Library in October 10, 2014. However, the audio quality is not great since the microphone was on the camera a large distance away. Video by Bob Park.