Music: Bravura in the Coop

In his bachelor pad in Germany, Pianist Michael Ponti sometimes practices for ten hours at a stretch. In Frankfurt, an upstairs neighbor registered disapproval of the noise by dropping bowling balls on the floor, and finally sought other quarters. In Wiesbaden, the ten chickens who lived in an oversized coop behind the house suffered in silence until one day they simply quit laying eggs. Ponti then had all ten killed and ate them, after which he moved his piano into the coop. "It's a fine studio," says Ponti, "and the acoustics are simply marvelous."

Neither the neighbor nor the chickens were very...

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