Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Imperfect Concert Piano Creates Something Beautiful

On January 24, 1975, the world-renowned pianist Keith Jarrett played in front of a live audience in the Cologne opera house. The album for the concert recording was released in the autumn of 1975 to critical acclaim, and went on to become the best-selling solo album in jazz history, and the all-time best-selling piano album.

But all of this didn't come easy. Jarrett had originally requested the use of a Bösendorfer 290 Imperial concert grand piano for the performance. But there was some confusion by the opera house staff and instead they found another Bösendorfer piano backstage—a much smaller baby grand used for rehearsals—and placed it on the stage. According Vera Brandes, the concert's organizer, the substitute piano was "was completely out of tune, the black notes in the middle didn't work, the pedals stuck. It was unplayable." "Keith played a few notes," recalls Brandes. "Then [Jarrett's producer] played a few notes. They didn't say anything. They circled the instrument several times and then tried a few keys. Then after a long silence, [the producer] came to me and said, 'If you don't get another piano, Keith can't play tonight.'"

Despite the obstacles, Jarrett decided to go ahead with the concert. The minute he played the first note, everybody knew it was magic. The audience hushed into awed silence. That night's performance began with a simple chiming series of notes, then quickly gained complexity. Standing up, sitting down, moaning, writhing, Jarrett didn't hold back in any way as he pummeled the unplayable piano to produce something unique. One music critic noted, "Mr. Jarrett turned the banal and familiar into something gorgeous and mysterious."

Related Sermon Illustrations

Japanese Word for 'Golden Repair'

There is a Japanese word, kintsukuroi, that means "golden repair." It is the art of restoring broken pottery with gold so the fractures are literally illuminated—a kind of physical ...

[Read More]

Guitarist Makes 'Frankenstein' from Broken Guitars

John Entwistle, former bass guitarist with the rock band The Who, once made a guitar composed from the parts of five broken guitars. He called it "Frankenstein." One day ...

[Read More]