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#408094 - 09/08/01 10:42 AM Famous Baldwin Story...  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 2,506
AndrewG Offline
2000 Post Club Member
AndrewG  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 2,506
Denver, Colorado
It really happened! Just wonder if anyone here can provide the date of this anecdote. I vaguely rememeber about 3 or 4 decades ago...


A Humid Recital Stirs Bangkok

Kenneth Langbell, The English Language Bangkok Post


THE RECITAL, last evening in the chamber music room of the Erawan Hotel by US Pianist Myron Kropp, the first appearance of Mr. Kropp in Bangkok, can only be described by this reviewer and those who witnessed Mr. Kropp's performance asone of the most interesting experiences in a very long time. A hush fell over the room as Mr. Kropp appeared from the right of the stage, attired in black formal evening-wear with a small white poppy in his lapel. With sparse, sandy hair, a sallow complexion and a deceptively frail looking frame, the man who has repopularized Johann Sebastian Bach approached the Baldwin Concert Grand, bowed to the audience and placed himself upon the stool.


It might be appropriate to insert at this juncture that many pianists, including Mr. Kropp, prefer a bench, maintaining that on a screw-type stool they sometimes findthemselves turning sideways during a particularly expressive strain. There was a slight delay, in fact, as Mr Kropp left the stage briefly, apparently in search of a bench, but returned when informed that there was none.


I HAVE mentioned on several other occasions, the Baldwin Concert Grand, while basically a fine instrument, needs constant attention, particularly in a climate such as Bangkok. This is even more true when the instrument is as old as theone provided in the chamber music room of the Erawan Hotel. In this humidity the felts which separate the white keys from the black tend to swell, causing an occasional key to stick,which apparently was the case last evening with the D in the second octave. During the "raging storm" section of the D-Minor Toccataand Fugue, Mr. Kropp must be complimented for putting up withthe awkward D. However, by the time the "storm" was past andhe had gotten into the Prelude and Fugue in D Major, in whichthe second octave D plays a major role, Mr. Kropp's patience was wearing thin.


Some who attended the performance later questioned whether the awkward key justified some of the language which was heard coming from the stage during softer passages of the fugue. However, one member of the audience, who had sent his childrenout of the room by the midway point of the fugue, had a validpoint when he commented over the music and extemporaneous remarks of Mr. Kropp that the workman who had greased the stool might have done better to use some of the grease on the second octave D. Indeed, Mr. Kropp's stool had more than enough grease and during one passage in which the music and lyrics were both particularly violent, Mr. Kropp was turned completely around. Whereas before his remarks had been aimed largely at the piano and were therefore somewhat muted, to his surprise and that of those in the chamber music room he found himself addressing himself directly to the audience.


BUT SUCH THINGS do happen, and the person who began to laugh deserves to be severely reprimanded for this undignified behavior. Unfortunately, laughter is contagious, and by thetime it had subsided and the audience had regained itscomposure Mr. Kropp appeared somewhat shaken. Nevertheless, he swiveled himself back into position facing the piano and,leaving the D Major Fugue unfinished, commenced on the Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor.


Why the concert grand piano's G key in the third octave chose that particular time to begin sticking I hesitate to guess. However, it is certainly safe to say that Mr. Kropp himself did nothing to help matters when he began using his feet to kick the lower portion of the piano instead of operating the pedals as is generally done. Possibly it was this jarring or the un-Bach-like hammering to which the sticking keyboard was being subjected. Something caused the right front leg of the piano to buckle slightly inward, leaving the entire instrument listing at approximately a 35-degree angle from that which is normal. A gasp went upfrom the audience, for if the piano had actually fallen several of Mr. Kropp's toes if not both his feet, would surely have been broken.


It was with a sigh of relief therefore, that the audience saw Mr. Kropp slowly rise from his stool and leave the stage. A few men in the back of the room began clapping and when Mr.Kropp reappeared a moment later it seemed he was responding to the ovation. Apparently, however, he had left to get a red-handled fire ax which was hung back stage in case of fire, for that was what was in his hand.


MY FIRST REACTION at seeing Mr. Kropp begin to chop at the left leg of the grand piano was that he was attempting to make it tilt at the same angle as the right leg and there by correct the list. However, when the weakened legs finally collapsed altogether with a great crash and Mr. Kropp continued to chop, it became obvious to all that he had no intention of going onwith the concert. The ushers, who had heard the snapping of piano wires and splintering of sounding board from the dining room, came rushing in and, with the help of the hotel manager, two Indian watchmen and a passing police corporal, finally succeeded in disarming Mr. Kropp and dragging him off the stage.

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#408095 - 09/08/01 05:58 PM Re: Famous Baldwin Story...  
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 433
Amy Offline
Full Member
Amy  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 433
Upstate New York
hahahahaha!!! what a funny story!


-Amy-
*Visit my page! http://www.expage.com/pianopalace
#408096 - 09/08/01 11:19 PM Re: Famous Baldwin Story...  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 722
magnezium Offline
500 Post Club Member
magnezium  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 722
Singapore
wonder what happened to Mr Kropp in the end... did he have to pay for damages etc?

#408097 - 09/09/01 07:06 AM Re: Famous Baldwin Story...  
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 643
ChemicalGrl Offline
500 Post Club Member
ChemicalGrl  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 643
Durham, North Carolina
Er ... sorry to say, but the story is one of those Urban Legends floating around the 'net. It was actually written as a humourous piece by Langbell, supposedly to poke fun at "pompous reviews."

Here's the URL:
http://www.snopes2.com/humor/nonsense/piano.htm


Regards,
Lyn F.
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#408098 - 09/09/01 10:23 AM Re: Famous Baldwin Story...  
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,926
netizen Offline
1000 Post Club Member
netizen  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,926
New York
LOL. That's a very funny story.

Speaking of legends, I'm reminded of the story (actually I was reminded of this story in the thread on memorization) about two old ladies who had gone to see Paderewski play a recital somewhere in rural America. After the recital, the one turns to other and says, "Such a wonderful piano player. " The other replies, "Yes, such a shame he can't read music. "


"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that
we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."-- Theodore Roosevelt

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