Miraculous Mandarin

Bela Bartok's The Miraculous Mandarin was not well received at its debut performance (in Cologne in 1926). Indeed, a small riot ensued during which stink bombs were thrown and the music was drowned out by insults and cat calls. Konrad Adenauer (then the mayor of Cologne) even demanded the resignation of the conductor, Eugen Szenkar. Through the commotion, however, Bartok made his way to Szenkar's dressing room to register a complaint of his own: "Eugen, on page thirty-four, the second clarinet is marked mezzo forte [moderately loud]," he declared. "I couldn't hear it -- would you please make it forte?"
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