What Pieces Should Be Played on the East River Piano?

Sunday, June 01, 2014 - 06:00 PM

The East River Piano at High Tide The East River Piano at High Tide (Flickr/David Nelson)

The mysterious piano that was first spotted on the Manhattan shoreline of the East River a week ago appears to be harmonizing with its surroundings swimmingly.

A small group of curiosity-seekers stopped by the spot beneath the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday to take pictures and marvel and the strange beauty of the sight. There was little use in trying to play the waterlogged instrument – a Mason & Hamlin – as the strings and actions appeared damaged beyond repair. Several keys were either missing or cracked.

Brian Wise/WQXR

Still, some could not wait for low tide to try the instrument out themselves. One woman shot what appears to be a music video and posted it to YouTube.

This man also tickled the ivories:

This got us to wonder: If the piano could be salvaged, and left in its current location, which piece would you want to hear on it? Take our poll or leave a comment below.


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Comments [35]

Anything at Bargemusic -- hello! it's in the East River.

Jun. 07 2014 08:39 PM
M C Battle from Edison N.J.

"My heart will go on" by celine Dion. The theme song to the movie "The Titanic"

Jun. 06 2014 12:54 AM
Fred from Brooklyn

Take Me to the River, Al Green.

Jun. 04 2014 09:16 AM
Jared from Greenwich CT

Technically speaking I didn't answer the question, as the answer is for a potentially salvaged piano. To my ears then I think Faure's 13 Barcarolles would be quite nice and appropriate, perhaps in the late afternoon.. Of course the innumerable lovely Impressionistic pieces are easy choices, not to mention water related movements within the music of Liszt or Chopin.

And back to John Cage, his 'Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano' would do the trick. Instead of the carefully placed bolts, screws, plastic etc. placed on and between the strings, one could instead use driftwood and sea glass or shells to create a more nautical atmosphere!

Jun. 04 2014 04:15 AM
Stewart Backfield from NJ

Swanee River

Jun. 03 2014 10:55 PM
jme from LIC

ASLEEP IN THE DEEP...(many brave hearts are asleep in the deep...)

Jun. 03 2014 09:08 PM
Jared from Greenwich CT

Considering the shape that this aqua-beauty is in, I would have to say John Cage's "4:33", which as I'm sure everyone knows is for a "player" or "players", be it at a piano or an entire ensemble-who for the duration of 4 minutes and 33 seconds sit with their instruments, doing nothing at all. Only the surrounding sounds matter; birds chirping, cars honking in the distance outside of the concert hall, and so on.. The east river and Brooklyn bridge offer 24/7 urban tone poems, even if most are just pigeons or the chatter of commuters, cars, boats..

The beyond innovative maverick Henry Cowell would have enjoyed such a piano even more so!

Think it's time I write a Concerto for Piano, barnacles and orchestra

Jun. 03 2014 07:35 PM
Cay Lambert from AL

"I WILL SURVIVE!" seems appropriate.

Jun. 03 2014 04:20 PM
Calvin Lakes

Sorry! I should have said HERE it is, I think, the piano in question being PLAYED!


Jun. 03 2014 03:40 PM
Calvin Lakes


Jun. 03 2014 03:30 PM
Carla from long island

Michael Nyman's "The Sacrifice".

Jun. 03 2014 02:00 PM
David from Flushing

"Shall we gather at the river" American hymn tune written by a one time Brooklyn person.

Jun. 03 2014 08:57 AM
Barry Owen Furrer

Theme from "A River Runs Through It."

Jun. 03 2014 07:48 AM
Chris from New Zealand

It isn't one of Annea Lockwood's Piano Transplants is it? http://www.annealockwood.com/compositions/pianotransplants.htm

Jun. 03 2014 06:09 AM
Emily Motherwell

Timo Andres' At the River. Perfect! http://www.andres.com/works/at-the-river/

Jun. 02 2014 11:40 PM

Reminds me of the movie "The Piano" where it sits on the edge of the ocean.....

Jun. 02 2014 08:06 PM
Linda from CA

Shubert's Trout quintet

Jun. 02 2014 06:14 PM
John Flory from New Jersey

Ferde Grofé's 'Hudson River Suite' (OK, wrong side of the island but ...)

Jun. 02 2014 04:43 PM
DaveG from New York City

Have some Wagnerian water nymphs throw some gold rings at it...maybe that'll strike a cord, so to speak. Then have Brunnhilda do her Immolation Scene at the end of Goetterdaemerung and just blow it up like Valhalla...all perhaps a little too Teutonic.

Jun. 02 2014 02:27 PM
Greg from Sacramento

Piano reductions of Handel's Water Music and Debussy's La Mer are surely high on the list, so here is a more obscure one, a keyboard version of Telemann's Suite in C major, TV 55, "Wassermusik," also known as "Hamburger Ebb und Fluth". Very flowing, bubbly and Baroque.

Jun. 02 2014 01:56 PM
George Diehl from Cleveland, Ohio

"The Brooklyn Bridge" by Sammy Kahn and Julie Styne

Jun. 02 2014 01:53 PM
George Diehl from Cleveland, Ohio

"The Brooklyn Bridge" by Sammy Kahn and Julie Styne

Jun. 02 2014 01:52 PM

You could wait for a violin, viola, cello and double bass to wash up and play the "Trout Quintet"

Jun. 02 2014 01:23 PM
s finkelstein from Newark, NJ

Rusalka - "Song to the Moon"

Jun. 02 2014 01:12 PM
The Truth from LES

Tragic. It's a sign of civilization's decline that pianos wind up amid the trash washing up on the East River shoreline.

Jun. 02 2014 12:16 PM
Jo Martin from Baltimore

"Amazing Grace" (I was lost [or tossed] but now I'm found...")

Jun. 02 2014 12:10 PM
Gene Side from Denver, CO

Of course the Smetinas Muldai

Jun. 02 2014 12:06 PM
Robert Owen from Hicksville, New York

How about versions for piano of Handel's "Water Music" or Debussy's "La mer"?

Jun. 02 2014 11:45 AM

What? You left Schubert's "Auf Dem Wasser Zu Zingen" off the list? How could you? (rough translation, "To Be Sung Upon the Water")

Jun. 02 2014 11:41 AM
Gev Sweeney from The Jersey Shore

Oooh, just thought of this: how about The Blue Danube, or the Prelude to Das Rheingold?

Jun. 02 2014 11:21 AM
Robert St.Onge from Cochiti Lake,NM

"Cry me a river" should do it!

Jun. 02 2014 11:17 AM
Gev Sweeney from The Jersey Shore

"Old Man River" wouldn't be inappropriate ...

Jun. 02 2014 11:14 AM


Jun. 02 2014 10:05 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

Debussy' "The Sunken Cathedral"

Jun. 02 2014 09:06 AM
Barry Owen Furrer

"Ebb Tide"

Jun. 02 2014 05:39 AM

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