Sunday, February 27, 2011

True Stories (3)

The program announced a work for prepared piano, but no one in the audience had ever before heard a prepared piano produce the variety of sounds heard that evening: muted tones to be sure, but others tones sounded more plucked then struck, and lots of bangs and bumps and crashes and scratchs and even cries and sighs emerged and emerged with a growing and puzzling disconnect between cause and effect as the motions of the pianist at the keyboard oft seemed only randomly attached to the sounds coming out from beneath the lid. A very elaborate preparation, apparently; obviously something more than the run-of-the-mill preparations of screws and bolts and erasers and coins and weather stripping; a veritable Rube Goldberg design of a preparation, it must have been. The pianist eventually came to an end, took his applause with the composer at his side and both made their satisfied exit. A few moments later, when the enthusiastic applause had subsided, a stagehand came to the side of the piano, opened the lid, and then helped a boy of five or six years to climb out from inside the piano before scrambling as quickly as possibly offstage.

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