Article Title

The Death of the Pianist


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.

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