1565. Hitting the right note
© Bruce Goodman 17 July 2019

Xiu Cheung was a fabulous concert pianist. She had appeared on the world stage at the age of fourteen and had never looked back. At first it was Chopin and Liszt. By the time she was in her mid-twenties she had married her manager and was in demand throughout the world to play well-nigh impossible piano concertos with every significant orchestra on the planet.

The utter apex of her art was reached in Strasbourg. She played Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto. It was an unbelievable success.

Never had this concerto been tackled with such energy, such grace, such delicacy, such boldness, such… There was not a human emotion that Xiu Cheung didn’t wring from the music. The finale was as if a ten-tonne bulldozer had crashed onto the stage in a spectacle of utter destruction. The standing ovation lasted more than twenty minutes. From where did Xiu Cheung derive such energy? Such desire? How could anyone be driven to such passion?

Of course, it helped that her manager-husband was sitting dead as a doornail in the Green Room with Xiu Cheung’s nail scissors plunged deep in his chest.

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