Andor Foldes is now seventy-two, but he recalls how praise made all the difference forhim early in his career. His first recollection of an affirming word was at age seven whenhis father kissed him and thanked him for helping in the garden. He remembers it over sixdecades later, as though it were yesterday. But the account of another kiss that changedhis life says a great deal about our inner need for purpose. At age sixteen, living inBudapest, Foldes was already a skilled pianist. But he was at his personal all-time lowbecause of a conflict with his piano teacher. In the midst of that very troubled year,however, one of the most renowned pianists of the day came to the city to perform. Emilvon Sauer was not only famous because of his abilities at the piano, but he could alsoclaim the notoriety of being the last surviving pupil of Franz Liszt. Sauer requested thatyoung Foldes play for him. Foldes obliged the master with some of the most difficult worksof Bach, Beethoven, and Schumann. When he finished, Sauer walked over to him and kissedhim on the forehead.


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