Laurel and Hardy Piano movers

Unloading Bosendorfer 275 1Above left: Arriving for the Spring Festival Concerts: rolling the Bösendorfer Model 275 piano on to the Lift (78, 336 bytes).
Above right: the Bösendorfer hangs up on the Truck as the liftgate is lowered (62, 973 bytes).
Click on the images to see an enlarged views (78, 336 and 111, 063 bytes)

  • The members of the community must have imagined the grand prize of pianos was within their grasp, as the G & R lorry containing their Bösendorfer rolled up outside the concert hall at the Adies' home at Barkham, near South Molton. To the author of this article, who has observed several moves of the even larger "Bösendorfer Imperial" piano, the G&R movers rolled the piano out of the truck bed and onto the hydraulic elevating liftgate and then either 1. the liftgate failed or was lowered prematurely, or 2. the G&R movers failed to rotate the piano ninety (90) degrees so that the piano would be orthogonal to the truck and thereby not overhand the truck bed. As the piano was lowered it is obvious (in the image above right) the piano has been maneuvered into an unmanageable orientation.

    Mr. Adie commented "The lift on the back of the lorry was not the most stable of platforms and the nine foot instrument was too long to fit on the platform, so the men jolted it around a bit and thought it was free of the vehicle. But it wasn't, and it bounced on the drive, landing on its side. It kept going and because it was a bank with steps it flicked over and landed on its lid. There was one hell of a crash and all its notes went at once. It fell about thirteen feet in all."

    Unloading Bosendorfer 275 2Not content with simply smashing into the floor, the instrument bounced off the gravel and hurtled over a bank before clattering onto a set of granite steps.

    Brian Haigh recalled observing the piano tip and then relentlessly start its plunge off the liftgate: "I was just gutted, absolutely gobsmacked. I couldn't believe it had gone over. I couldn't talk for five minutes."

    Mrs Adie said: "I only took before and after shots because I was too dumbstruck to capture the moment when it fell. A Bösendorfer is to a pianist what a Stradivarius is to a string player, and we are all numb with shock."


    Above left: Just after the fall: Mr.Haigh's expression sum it all up well enough. The Bösendorfer piano upside down on stone wall and grass embankment (84, 755 bytes).
    Above right: Rigging the Bösendorfer to be lifted by Renault Front End Loader wheeled tractor (72, 520 bytes).
    Click on the images to see an enlarged views (78, 336 and 111, 063 bytes) Brian Haigh offered a public apology to the Adies and explained to the media how the experience left him lost for words: "In all my life I have never felt the way that I felt when it hit the ground. I was really disappointed. I haven't got words for it. I've been doing this job a long, long time. It's the worst thing that's ever happened to me." He also commented "I've had better days but nobody was hurt and I do like to look on the bright side. If someone had been hurt I'd be absolutely gutted." "At the end of the day it's an occupational hazard."

    Right: Mr. Brian Haigh of G & R Removals regaining some sense of humor after the accident (42, 345 bytes).
    Click on image to see enlarged view (42, 345 bytes).

    The piano was loaded onto the G & R lorry with the help of a local farmer with his Front End Loader, and returned to London for safekeeping and inspection while the matter is sorted out.Unloading Bosendorfer 275 3 Meanwhile the event was simply so uncommonly tragic and well illustrated to be overlooked by the news media, and in slow news week the comic tragedy played itself out to the world readers by means of numerous publications, web based news sites and bloggers.

    A company spokesman for G & R played down the amount of damage sustained to the Bosendorfer. The spokesman said: "The company has been in business for 40 years. We move 300 pianos a year and it was the most unfortunate accident. The piano is still playable, and can be fixed. It is totally repairable, and had a small amount of damage."

  • As an editorial aside, the author of this web site would tend to agree with the G & R spokesman that the damage can most likely be repaired. That said however, such impacts can strain and produce stresses that may now be microscopic but that may later grow to change the appearance and sound of the instrument. In the author's experience comprehensive diagnosing and repair work of these pianos can only be properly conducted by the L. Bösendorfer Klavierfabrik GmbH factory in Wein, Austria. And this effort will most likely come at some notable expense of time and money. In advance of the repairs, a settlement may entail the negotiation of some bonded guarantee on the order of years that anticipates a remedy for damage that may appear in time as a result of the original insult.
  • Mr. Brian HaighThe Adies made themselves available for interviews with the British press. Mrs. Penny Adie explained to the press how the Bosendorfer "a favourite of top pianists worldwide, the Rolls Royce of pianos" and likened the brand to violins created by Italian maestro Antonio Stradivari. She also explained how "We had been raising money for over two years to get this piano, it was the most ghastly moment, seeing all one's hopes and dreams being smashed down the stone steps."

    Mr. Adie added: 'The lid was smashed and there was cosmetic damage, but a half a ton of piano landing like that must have had a catastrophic effect on its workings' and "I don't think there's any way we can trust it now. It's not the cosmetic damage that you can see, it's what the hell it's done to it inside."

    The Adies said the piano was only insured for £26, 000 (about $52, 000 US), this was the bargain price they had scored at auction rather than the piano's estimated new value of £45, 000 ($89, 600 US).

    The moving company management had no comment about the incident citing insurance officials are evaluating the case.

    With the matter of the Model 275 being sorted out by the experts and insurers, fate took a more positive turn when the Steinway & Sons company generously offered the use of a Concert Grand to solve the immediate problem of what to use for the Spring Concert Series commencing 25 April. The replacement is being brought down on Thursday 19 April by Piano Logistics who have also kindly donated their time.

    The festival web site posted a message:

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