Archive for the 'berlin' Category

Berlin

During my two years in Berlin (1935/6) I went to most of Edwin Fischer’s concerts, some of them with his Chamber music Orchestra. During one of these a dozen storm troopers burst onto the stage with the words “There are some Jews in this Orchestra: Throw them out; we want to hear German music.” In the end of ten minutes of discussion the Nazis withdrew with “We’re sorry, we were sent to the wrong hall.” It was good to see that the entire audience was against them.

At another concert with the same Orchestra we noticed the piano was barely audible and at the end, when the usual acclaim was at its height, Fischer walked up to the piano to give his customary encore and the first thing he did was to lower the lid of the open Steinway and then sit down on the piano stool to gasps of “Good. I thought he was telling us to go home.” He then played Schubert’s A flat Impromptu to softly and beautifully he had the entire audience completely in his grip. Some were openly weeping and there were many handkerchiefs visible. It was an amazing occasion. In the artist’s room afterwards we, his students, saw him dancing about saying “I knew that would get them” and then to us “Didn’t you notice how soft that Steinway was. I chose it specially with a view to the Schubert at the end after the very loud Bach”. I can applaud such showmanship!

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