For me, it was critical that the words “illness” or “polio” never come up. I didn’t want anyone to be watching for a disability to manifest itself; and I wanted any response to my playing to be unbiased. On the other hand, I had to get help with my luggage, even the lightest of hand luggage, or I would be unable to play at all. At each stage of the journey, this was not only a constant worry but also an embarrassment.
Once I was home in Malibu, I received two packets in the mail: one from Martha with clippings of the Vienna reviews and one from Bichurin with all the European reviews, translated by his staff. They were magnificent.
I was stunned. In review after review, the glowing comments were far beyond anything I could have hoped for. An Amsterdam review called me “a young pianist of stature.” The Vienna headline read, “Sie Kam, Spielte, Faszinierte” (“She Came, She Played, She Fascinated.”) A Zurich reviewer commented, “If we’re any judge at all, a new star has appeared in the pianistic heavens.” Even the Stockholm reviews, which I had been told two months before were “all bad,” said simply that I was like so many other American pianists: all technique and no soul. Once I had seen the other reviews, the Stockholm comments read almost like a bitter joke.