Tuesday, January 26, 2010

E. Robert Schmitz - An Unfinished Recital

E. Robert Schmitz was a distinguished 20th century pianist, having been born in Paris, and known widely for his playing of Debussy. He performed extensively, with New York his favorite place to perform in.
In one recital, which included a Beethoven sonata, Schmitz got to a certain point pretty well into the composition, when his memory failed him, resulting in a screeching cessation of the music. It is said that he turned beet-red with anger; anger of such a huge dimension that he decided to start the sonata over again, which he did. A calamity was the result; specifically, when the pianist reached the same place where he had stopped in his first playing of the sonata, he again could not get past that fatal measure. This time, he was so upset with himself that he leaped from the bench and stomped off the stage, not to return.
I would imagine that the audience involved must have felt almost as uncomfortable as the unfortunate pianist.

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