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Date: Wednesday, 15 Oct 97 14:18:08 CST
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From: Dawn A Patterson 
Subject: when frustration sets in...

>Is this an urban legend?
> (This review by Kenneth Langbell appeared in the English Language Bangkok
>Post. It was made available by Martin Bernheimer of the Los Angeles Times.)
>      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 as one 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 find themselves 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.
>AS 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 the one 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 Toccata and
>Fugue, Mr.  Kropp must be complimented for putting up with the
>awkward D. However, by the time the "storm" was past and he
>had gotten into the Prelude and Fugue in D Major, in which the
>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 children out of the room
>by the midway point of the fugue, had a valid point 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 the time it had
>subsided and the audience had regained its composure 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 up from 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 thereby 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 on with 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.

* > > > > > > > > > > >*< < < < < < < < < < < *
*                William Reber                *
*             Professor of Music              *
*        Director, Lyric Opera Theatre        *
*  School of Music, Arizona State University  *
*                  Box 870405                 *
*             Tempe, AZ 85287-0405            *
*        http://www.asu.edu/cfa/music/        *
*        E-mail:  William.Reber@ASU.Edu       *
* Phone: (602) 965-7168   Fax: (602) 965-2659 *
* > > > > > > > > > > >*< < < < < < < < < < < *
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