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Heini had been sleeping on the sofa for a month and practising for eight hours a day in her sitting room, and though Leonie accepted the need for this, she found herself wondering, as she crept round him with her duster, about the friends and relatives of earlier piano virtuosos. Was there, somewhere in an attic in Budapest, an old lady whose mother had run screaming into the street to escape yet another of Liszt’s brilliant arpeggios? Did the sale of cotton ear plugs sore in some French pharmacy as the inhabitants of the rue de Rivoli adjusted to Chopin’s practice hours? What did those Viennese landladies really feel when Beethoven left another piano for dead?

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