MUSIC: For the Sake of It

Without a glance at the audience, the stocky little pianist padded straight to the concert grand in the center of the stage. He sat down, arranged his tails, struck a softly impatient chord. When the chatter and applause diminished to a cathedral quiet, he began to play. People in the front rows heard him snort and grunt over sforzandos, in rollicking passages saw his blue eyes twinkle like Santa Claus's. When his program was over, he nodded his big, square head appreciatively, and trundled off stage.

Artur Schnabel never plays encores. In fact, ever since he turned 40, he says, "it...

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