Start your season with a  page turn disaster

Start your season with a page turn disaster

Daily Comfort Zone

norman lebrecht

September 05, 2022

Words fail.

Music: Tchaikovsky, Meditation for violin and piano
Piano – Angela Todorova
Violinist – Eva Gigova
Page turner Yana Petrova


  • Emil says:

    Impressively done by all three. Got the sheet back in order, in complete silence, not missing a single note. Not sure the violinist even noticed something was up.

    • Tamino says:

      atrocious playing, shredding the piece even. Intonation so bad. And clearly they don’t know what these mythical letters “pp” mean? Anyone? What could it mean? “powerful playing”? “Pressure on the Pow”? 😛

  • Althea T-H says:

    The poor woman is clearly mortified. She is blushing painfully, afterwards.

    How is this kind?

    You could always remove this post, NL.

    • TNVol says:

      Nobody is making fun of Her/them.
      We have all been there. Chill out.

      • Maria says:

        Have we???

        • Garry Humphreys says:

          Well, I have! As an experienced page-turner I can tell you it’s more difficult than you think. Every pianist is different as to when they want the page turning (a nod is helpful); in this case there were no remaining pages to anchor the music to the music stand; but I did think she was a bit vigorous, hence the collapse. These things happen – but they dealt with it very well. (And, after all, the players were not exactly sight-reading!)

          (My greatest challenge, incidentally, was Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time – have you seen the piano part? Fortunately, my pianist was a nodder!)

    • The View from America says:

      We’ll all impressed by the save. Besides, it will give them a story they can tell for the rest of their lives.

  • Serge says:

    Where is the disaster here?

  • RW2013 says:

    Made my day:)

  • Just saying says:

    To be honest, the violin playing was the bigger disaster.

  • Stuart L. says:

    Not such a disaster – Ms Todorova coped admirably well.

  • Dave says:

    Brilliant, super cool pianist. Brava.

  • Geiger says:

    Worst nightmare coming to life.

  • Herbie G says:

    I remember an outstanding recital – I think it was by the Pauk, Kirshbaum, Frankel trio – about 45 years ago. They were playing Brahms’ C major Piano Trio and some way into the last movement Pauk tried to turn a page in his music and the whole lot fell to the floor. Without turning a hair, he continued playing without it for the remaining few minutes of the work.

    When the tumultuous applause died down, Pauk said, ‘And now we will play you what Brahms actually wrote!’. We got an encore of the whole last movement. Real professionalism.

  • Hanna says:

    I’m glad they’re laughing about it – good sport!

  • M Le Balai says:

    She has my sympathy! I’ve page turned many times in my younger days and it can be incredibly stressful. I’ve had something similar happen with the page of an (ancient) score coming apart mid performance (a Brahms violin sonata with the lovely Tasmin Little and Roger Vignoles at the piano) and I recall many horrors of page turning in contemporary music where I’ve completely lost track of where we are in the score; the poor pianist nodding frantically….!! Never again!

  • Max Raimi says:

    I will never turn pages again. It makes me far more nervous than performing. You can’t possibly look good, but boy, can you look bad!

  • christopher storey says:

    As both a page turner and a pianist , I agree with most of the comments made above. However , on one of the few occasions I tried to avoid pages being turned, by copying and sellotaping the score of Frauenliebe into a long line which I could slide across , the left hand end went into the bulb of an uplighter positioned to the left of the keyboard , and during the fourth song caught fire !

  • Gretchen says:

    Not criticizing this particular performance, this is an exciting new feature for pianos, disappearing the printed music when its not played to whatever level the setting is on from 1 to 10 like chess computers. Another setting for fearless risk takers might activate a paper shredder, potentially boosting piano music sales.

  • Mathieu says:

    I was a page turner once, a long time ago. This is highly relatable content, as I’ve committed my share of blunders. Kudos on the page turner in the above video for keeping it cool and staying perfectly calm. A true professional, as is the pianist.

    Three cheers for the page turners, the unsung heroes of many a concert.

  • Tamino says:

    It was God’s way of asking them to stop, the violinists intonation was just not bearable. But no such success.

    • Frustrated Lurker says:

      You’ve already spewed your invective. Please get over yourself. This post has offered NL’s followers a rare chance to send light and love to performers who are clearly very young and trying to just get through it. It’s nice to see warmth and support coming from a community where that is not the norm.

  • Viennois says:

    I can barely watch concerts with page turners, because the thrill of whether they turn at the right time or something like this happens is too much for me.

  • Kathryn Lundahl says:

    There’s a lot to be said for using a three ring binder for sheet music! Much less risky, or you can avoid this scenario by using an IPAD. All three ladies showed professionalism. Kudos to the pianist for not losing her focus! 🙂

  • Roger says:

    Why criticize?
    They were there to give.
    And they did.
    Thank you!

  • Freewheeler says:

    I have been agitating for years to have all pianos fitted with a mechanism to prevent this from happening. And now this! I guess I was right all along, eh, naysayers?

  • Barbara Rosen says:

    But it all worked out!

  • Dan says:

    This gives me serious anxiety.
    Once I lost a pencil in there, took me one hour to get it out.

  • Vaquero357 says:

    Man, I hate it when that happens…. Nice save by the page-turner, though I was a bit worried as she lowered the keyboard cover quite close to the pianist’s hands.

    BUT all’s well that ends well!

  • SVM says:

    The page-turner and the pianist responded impressively to the crisis (although I wonder whether the pianist might have preferred for the page-turner to have given up sooner, given that the crisis occurred near the end of the piece, and the pianist seemed to know the piece well enough to continue from memory), but the setup seemed a little suboptimal. Specifically:

    1. why was the stand at such a sharp angle of elevation? (maybe the angle could not be adjusted?)

    2. was the gsm (grams per square metre) of the paper used for the music high enough? (ordinary printer paper is too low in that regard, resulting in sheet music that flops or blows off too easily; better to use 100gsm paper if possible)

  • Maria says:

    At least the pianist showed she knew the piece and wasnt sight-reading! Turning pages is an important art to be learnt. Left hand on the bottom left corner as you turn from the top right when the pianist nods, or inside string player in an orchestra, probably two bars in advance, and the pages separated to avoid multiple turns! Taught that at music college in Colchester. Now with so many playing from iPads, won’t need them so often so even more important to learn the dying art.

  • Phillip says:

    I was once playing Gounod’s Petite Symphony for winds. My part was photo copied and the pages taped together. I turned a page and accordion like, they all slipped to the floor.

  • W. Theus says:

    Accompanying choir in Jesu Joy etc. Years ago. Turner flipped two pages. Music was same as it would have been with correct turn. For about three bars. I went left and choir went right. Chaos. Turner and I both knew what had happened. Once we got through finger wrestling with each other we turned it back and I was back with choir. Sounded a bit like Charles Ives for around 10 seconds