Claim: Calamity struck at pianist Myron Kropp’s recital in Bangkok
Example: [Langbell, 1967]
The recital last evening in the chamber music room of the Erawan Hotel by U.S. Pianist Myron Kropp, the first appearance of
A hush fell over the room as Mr. Kropp appeared from the right of the stage, attired in black formal evening-wear with a small white poppy in his lapel. With sparse, sandy hair, a sallow complexion and a deceptively frail looking frame, the man who has
It might be appropriate to insert at this juncture that many pianists, including
As I have mentioned on several other occasions, the Baldwin Concert Grand, while basically a fine instrument, needs constant attention, particularly in a climate such as Bangkok. This is even more true when the instrument is as old as the one provided in the chamber music room of the Erawan Hotel. In this humidity, the felts which separate the white keys from the black tend to swell, causing an occasional key to stick, which apparently was the case last evening with the D in the second octave.
During the “raging storm” section of the D-Minor Toccata and Fugue,
Some who attended the performance later questioned whether the awkward key justified some of the language which was heard coming from the stage during softer passages of the fugue. However, one member of the audience, who had sent his children out of the
room by the midway point of the fugue, had a valid point when he commented over the music and extemporaneous remarks of
But such things do happen, and the person who began to laugh deserves to be severely reprimanded for this undignified behavior. Unfortunately, laughter is contagious, and by the time it had subsided and the audience had regained its composure
Why the concert grand piano’s G key in the third octave chose that particular time to begin sticking I hesitate to guess. However, it is certainly safe to say that
Possibly it was this jarring or the un-Bach-like hammering to which the sticking keyboard was being subjected. Something caused the right front leg of the piano to buckle slightly inward, leaving the entire instrument listing at approximately a
It was with a sigh of relief therefore, that the audience saw
My first reaction at seeing Mr. Kropp begin to chop at the left leg of the grand piano was that he was attempting to make it tilt at the same angle as the right leg and thereby correct the list. However, when the weakened legs finally collapsed altogether with a great crash and
The ushers, who had heard the snapping of piano wires and splintering of sounding board from the dining room, came rushing in and, with the help of the hotel manager, two Indian watchmen and a passing police corporal, finally succeeded in disarming
Origins: This humor piece is one of the
all-time champs in the “widest and most frequent dissemination of a fictional tale as a ‘true story'” category. It was written by Kenneth Langbell and first appeared in the English-language version of the Bangkok Post under the title “Wild Night at the Erawan” on
This article often appears with the title “A Humid Recital Stirs Bangkok” because it ran under that headline when it was published in U.S. newspapers back in 1967, and it is frequently attributed to Los Angeles Times music critic Martin Bernheimer because he first introduced the piece to American audiences. Although Bernheimer correctly cited its source, and his tongue-in-cheek introduction made it fairly clear that Bangkok Post humorist Kenneth Langbell had written it as a satirical
Last updated: 18 August 2005
A Word to Our Loyal Readers
Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.
- David Mikkelson
- Doreen Marchionni
- David Emery
- Bond Huberman
- Jordan Liles
- Alex Kasprak
- Dan Evon
- Dan MacGuill
- Bethania Palma
- Liz Donaldson
- Vinny Green
- Ryan Miller
- Chris Reilly
- Chad Ort
- Elyssa Young
Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.
We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.
Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.