Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Fugues and Chess

Many are the musical prodigies who come before the public, though but few of them reach the great heights of musicianship of which they, in their youth, give promise. Handel, Mozart, and Liszt fulfilled the expectations aroused by their youthful feats.
Among those whose fame was not so great was Walter Parratt, who was knighted by Queen Victoria. He played the organ in a Yorkshire church when only seven years old. At ten he performed all of Bach's forty-eight preludes and fugues without the music before him, and in later life he accomplished the extraordinary feat of playing, blindfolded, three games of chess and one  of Bach's fugues at the same time, manipulating the keys of the organ and calling out his moves on the chess-board simultaneously.
From Anecdotes of Great Composers W. Francis Gates 1897

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