May I have the envelope, please? Thank you.

And the 20 competitors who will advance to the quarterfinals of this year's Gina Bachauer International Piano competition are:- Joachim Arnold, 22, West Germany, a student of Bachauer judge Kaarl-Heinz Kaemmerling's.

- Andrew Iverson, 26, Salt Lake City, since 1981 a student of Gladys Gladstone's.

- Vanessa Latarche, 29, England, currently studying with Alexander Kelly.

- Eckart Heiligers, 24, West Germany, another Kaemmerling student.

- Jean Saulnier, 29, Canada, a student of James Tocco's.

- Liu Yi-Fan, 26, China, now studying with Edward Aldwell.

- Ori Steinberg, 25, Israel, a former Martin Canin student.

- James E.K. Parker, 25, Canada, an Adele Marcus student.

- Alan Chow, 31, Arkansas, since 1981 a student of Menahem Pressler's.

- Krzystof Jablonski, 22, Poland, formerly a student of Andrzey Jasinski's.

- Daejin Kim, 27, Korea, since 1982 a student of Canin's.

- Kevin Kenner, 25, Maryland, a Leon Fleisher and former Reid Nibley student.

- Alfredo Perl, 23, Chile, currently studying in England with Mario Curcio.

- Kong Xiang-dong, 19, China, since February a student of Bachauer director Paul Pollei's.

- Shinnosuke Tashiro, 27, Japan, a student of Teruji Karashima's.

- Anthony Padilla, 22, Washington, a former Jorge Bolet student, currently with Donald Walker.

- Thomas Tirino, 26, New York, a former Sascha Gorodnitzki and Gyorgy Sandor student.

- Helene Jeanney, 24, France, currently studying with Gyorgy Sebok.

- Jason Li, 20, Canada, since 1983 a student of Boris Lysenko's.

- Arnon Erez, 23, Israel, a student of Bachauer juror Arie Vardi's and Michael Bogoslavsky's.

Wait a minute. That can't be the envelope. Where are Marc Ponthus and Olivier Cazal? Don't tell me the latter's casual attire and egocentric stage manner knocked him out of the running? ("The John McEnroe of the piano" is how one member of the audience described him.) Not after that white-hot Prokofiev Toccata on Thursday.

And what about Paul Shaw, whose steely traversal of the Copland Piano Variations Friday proved every bit as tough-minded as the piece itself? Admittedly not everything he did was on that level, but if we're counting up minus points, how did Thomas Tirino emerge unscathed in the wake of his noisily error-ridden "Mazeppa" (Liszt) the same afternoon?

Which is to say that, although the overall level of this year's competition still seems to me the highest in memory, some animals are more equal than other animals. Poland's Karol Radziwonowicz, for example, who did not survive the cut, may not be the greatest Bach stylist around, but the day I heard him he played with more imagination and interpretive insight than Vanessa Latarche or Anthony Padilla, who did.

On the other hand I am not sorry to see Jason Li advanced to the next round. At least I wouldn't have wanted to follow Kong Xiang-dong in the Liszt "Rhapsodie espagnole," but he did so not only unflinchingly but with real distinction.

Otherwise the Friday-morning contingent appears to have held up its end of things handsomely (reportedly Kenner got himself a standing ovation). Thursday evening, by contrast, both Alan Gampel and Lu Ning came to grief in their pieces - too bad, but I suspect it made the jury's job a mite easier.

However even they acknowledged Friday that for once nearly every competitor got at least one vote. (The formal announcement was made that evening at Snowbird.)

Monday and Tuesday things return to Symphony Hall, for 30-minute recitals in which each of the quarterfinalists will perform a complete sonata by Beethoven, Haydn or Mozart together with what look to be some intriguing novelties (e.g., Menotti, Philip Martin, George Benjamin, Gyorgy Ligety, Toru Takemitsu). Starting times each day are 10 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and (Monday only) 7 p.m., with the 20 performing in the order in which they are listed above.

Wednesday and Thursday 10 of them will compete in semifinal rounds (including a chamber-music performance), followed by the concluding concerto rounds Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. with Joseph Silverstein and the Utah Symphony.

And although it's tempting to think the ones you didn't care for will have been eliminated by then, experience teaches us otherwise. Remember, for all you know they may have been the jury's first choices.

I told you we'd have fun.