Rubinstein, who was generally sparing in his praise of other pianists, worshipped Rachmaninoff. Between takes, he told us of a dinner with Rachmaninoff at his home in Southern California sometime around 1940. Rubinstein’s latest recording of the Grieg Piano Concerto had just been released and he was especially pleased with it. Knowing that it was Rachmaninoff’s favourite piano concerto, he couldn’t resist playing the recording during dessert…. When the Grieg finally came to an end, Rachmaninoff remained seated at the dinner table for what seemed like an eternity. Eventually, he roused himself from his introspection. “Arthur,” he said. Rubinstein leaned forward expectantly. “Yes, Sergei.” Rachmaninoff thought a moment more. “Arthur, piano out of tune.”

[Indivisible by Four, by Arnold Steinhart]

In Memphis, Tennessee, ducks were splashing around in the lobby’s fountain as we checked into the Peabody Hotel. Every afternoon at five, red carpet is laid out from the fountain to the elevator, and accompanied by solemn march music, the mallards, four female and one male, climb out of the fountain, down steps onto the carpet, and waddle into the elevator, escorted by a uniformed employee.

[Indivisible by Four, by Arnold Steinhart]


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