The lights dimmed, the stage door was cracked and then swung wide, and the pianist shuffled out, bent slightly forward, arms pumping. He was the sinker on a plumb line drawn by the gravity of the applause. As if its patter were the aural manifestation of that force, like the crackling of an electrical wire.
He offered a series of furtive bows, each little more than a nod, to different sections of the audience. He was as stiff as a bird, and nearly as devoid of expression. No fiddling with the height or distance of the piano bench, no tossing of his coattails; the heroic opening chords of the Hammerklavier rang out in the auditorium before the applause had a chance to die down.
Cover Page Footnote
The Death of the Pianist was originally published at
"The Death of the Pianist,"
Booth: Vol. 7
, Article 5.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.butler.edu/booth/vol7/iss1/5