Fun_People Archive
27 Oct
Mr. Piano Man

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Sun, 27 Oct 96 12:56:31 -0800
To: Fun_People
Subject: Mr. Piano Man

Forwarded-by: "Cochell, Jim" <>

Mr. Piano Man

A slightly abridged (but otherwise unchanged) article by Kenneth
Langbell, which appeared in the Bangkok Post on Saturday 27 May, 1967:

   The recital last evening in the Chamber Music Room of the Erawan
Hotel by US pianist Myron Kropp can only be described by this reviewer
as one of the most interesting experiences in a very long time.  Mr
Kropp had chosen the title "An Evening with Bach"; the evening opened
with the Toccata and Fugue in D minor.  As I have mentioned on several
other occasions, the Baldwin concert grand needs constant attention; in
this humidity the felts tend to swell, causing the occasional key to
stick, which apparently was the case last evening with the D in the
second octave.
   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, commented that the workman who greased the stool might have
done better to use some of the grease on the second octave D key.
Indeed, Mr Kropp's stool had more than enough grease, and during one
passage in which the music was particularly violent he was turned
completely around.  Whereas before his remarks had been largely aimed
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.
   By the time the audience had regained its composure, Mr Kropp
appeared to be somewhat shaken. Nevertheless he swivelled himself back
into position and, leaving the D major fugue unfinished, commenced on
the Fantasia and Fugue in G minor. Why the G key in the third octave
chose that particular time to begin sticking I hesitate to guess.
However Mr Kropp himself did nothing to help matters when he began
using his feet to kick the lower portion of the piano instead of
operate the pedals.  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
forward, leaving the entire instrument listing at approximately a
35-degree angle.  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 the red-handled fire axe which was hung
backstage in case of fire, for when he returned that was what he had
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.  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.

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