Now that the Olympics and the Paralympics are over there is time to consider the proposal of Harold C. Schonberg, New York Times music critic, for a "musical Olympiad."
When he is not listening to Bach, Mr. Schonberg is an occasional student of The Guinness (he spells it Guiness) Book of Records, in which he found that on May 1, 1955 Heinz Arntz "played the piano non-stop, except for refreshment intervals, for 423 hours (17 days, 15 hours)." He suggests that piano-playing endurance events be part of the musical Olympiad.
He would have an event for speed, too. Despite its name, Chopin's Minute Waltz, he notes, "takes well over 90 seconds to play." He would find out if anyone can really play it in a minute, without cheating, which would mean "clear articulation and no pedal, from a sitting start."
Another event would determine the world's championship at holding high C, in which Birgit Nilsson and Franco Corelli probably would be favorites. For conductors, there would be competitions in baton hurling, invective and score bluffing.
Who says a good music critic has to be dull?