Dr. Schweitzer of Lambarene

Dr. Schweitzer of Lambarene

Dr. Schweitzer of Lambarene

Dr. Schweitzer of Lambarene

Excerpt

At the end of dinner each evening at his jungle Hos- pital in Lambaréné, French Equatorial Africa, Dr. Albert Schweit- zer would fold his napkin, announce the number of the hymn to be sung, get up and walk over to the upright piano on the other side of the room. He would arrange the hymn carefully on the music stand, study it for a moment, then start to play.

I doubt whether I shall ever forget my shock and disbelief when, the first evening of my visit, I saw him approach the upright. Earlier in the day, while exploring the Hospital on my own, I had wandered into the dining room where Dr. Schweitzer and his staff of fifteen eat each day. The first thing that caught my eye was the piano. It must have been at least fifty years old. The keyboard was badly stained; large double screws fastened the ivory to each note. I tried to play but drew back almost instantly. The volume pedal was stuck and the reverberations of the harsh sounds hung in the air. One or more strings were missing on at least a dozen keys. The felt covering the hammers was worn thin and produced pinging effects.

Before coming to Lambaréné, I had heard that under equa- torial conditions of extreme heat and moisture one doesn't even try to keep a piano in tune; you make your peace with the inevi- table and do the best you can.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.