MarIa CIzMIC an audience sits in the dark facing a grand piano on a brightly lit stage. The piano's lid angles upward, the keyboard waits for someone's fingers, and the bench sits empty. The audience quiets. a pianist walks on stage and sits at the keyboard, letting the hands lightly rest as the right foot lifts to touch the damper pedal in a small gesture of readiness. While the audience waits, another player walks to the crook of the piano, as a singer might. But this player moves too close to the piano, touches its curved edge, and reaches inside. The player's hands disappear as a strange assortment of sounds emanates from the instrument. remaining mostly still and silent on the piano bench, the first player does not touch the keys but only moves the right foot down two inches to raise the piano's dampers and enable a performance of Henry Cowell's The Banshee (1925). I have occupied a number of the roles described here: I have sat in audiences, watching and listening to The Banshee; I have sat on the piano bench and held down the damper pedal for teachers and friends as they play the piece;
American Music – University of Illinois Press
Published: Nov 24, 2010
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