MUSIC: For the Left Hand

The premiere was 25 years late. In West Berlin's ultramodern Conservatory Concert Hall one night last week, a large crowd gathered for the first performance of Piano Concerto No. 4, written by Russia's late great Sergei Prokofiev in 1931. At the keyboard was East Berlin's Pianist Siegfried Rapp, impeccable in white tie and tails. There was only one odd thing about the soloist: his right sleeve was empty and pinned to his coat.

Rapp is the latest of a grim little line of musical specialists: the one-armed pianists. Pieces for one hand used to be merely pleasant musical oddities, but...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!