Bösendorfer pianos are amongst the elite of the finest musical instruments. They come from Austria.
To me, however, they also contains the voices of so many destroyed people! I wondered why Jews were hated and killed, so for decades I have made myself a scholar of the tragedy that befell the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire at the turn of the 19th Centry culminating in a highly organized mass genocide!
Sadly, during the Talaat Pasha and his triumvirate-organized campaign of ethnic cleansing/displacement & genocide against the Armenian Christians, these pianos ended up as unwanted spoils.
It was at the time the lights went out for decades in the Ottomon Empire. Turkey was under naval blockade by the allies. Now the “Young Turks” and their Empire-wide Telegraph-connected network of gestapo-like “Appointed Secretaries, expelled and herded the educated Armenian merchant and farming Armenians out of towns and villages.
The Armenians left behind factories, homes and farms for which they were given carefully documented receipts. Wealthy Armenians even paid for cavalry guards and wagons to be repatriated to new designated areas for them.
It was a farce. The Armenians tredged mostly on foot. Their possessions were strapped precariously to horse-drawn wagons. Miles from home, the Cavalry first took the prettiest girls and best carryable possessions. The Circassian, Kurdish and Arab gendarmes recruited from jails were now in charge and took their spoils.
The massive and glorious Bösendorfer pianos were often piled up high and set on fire for warmth of the guards at night!
Married women were sold in batches to Arabs trading bands for harems and brothels and young girls as servants. Remaining married women without their bands were gutted and the intestine run through looking for swallowed rings. Clothes were burnt to retrieve bracelets, necklaces and gold coins!
Studying that genocide was the way I learned of these venerable music instruments of a society I never had even imagined from by own cardboard-in-windows bare-thread childhood!
So the name Bösendorfer has always meant so much for me in its richness and as a reminder of the darkness of much of the 20th Century.