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Petrified Pianist

September 01, 1996

Mark Swed's article on pianist Richard Buhlig ("Finally, You Can Look Them Up," Aug. 18) took me back 50 years!

The cycle of the 32 Beethoven sonatas Buhlig performed at the Wilshire-Ebell Theatre in the '40s remains the most beautiful piano playing I have ever heard.

I studied with two of Buhlig's students and was a friend of a third. They told me that the reason he stopped concertizing was stage fright. He simply could not overcome it.

In all my life I have never seen anyone come out from the wings with more fear on his face. One night his face was bright red and it remained so for many minutes until he was well into his performance.

BARRY M. WALLY

Huntington Beach

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