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When Jan Paderewski was to leave his native Poland to play his first recital in London, he asked an influential compatriot to give him a letter of introduction to a leading figure in Britain’s musical world, who might be of assistance should anything go amiss. The letter was handed to him in a sealed envelope. He hoped that everything would proceed smoothly and he would not have to use it. He did not; his debut was a success and no snags developed.

Some years later, while going through his papers, he came upon the letter and opened it. It read: “This will introduce Jan Paderewski, who plays the piano, for which he demonstrates no conspicuous talent.”

Bits and Pieces, January 9, 1992, pp. 1 & 2.

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