The Worst Musical Trio
There are few bad musicians who have a chance to give a recital at
a famous concert hall while still learning the rudiments of their
instrument. This happened about thirty years ago to the son of a Rumanian
gentleman who was owed a personal favour by Georges Enesco, the celebrated
violinist. Enesco agreed to give lessons to the son who was quite
unhampered by great musical talent.
Three years later the boy's father insisted that he give a public
concert. "His aunt said that nobody plays the violin better than he does.
A cousin heard him the other day and screamed with enthusiasm." Although
Enesco feared the consequences, he arranged a recital at the Salle Gaveau
in Paris. However, nobody bought a ticket since the soloist was unknown.
"Then you must accompany him on the piano," said the boy's father,
"and it will be a sell out."
Reluctantly, Enesco agreed and it was. On the night an excited
audience gathered. Before the concert began Enesco became nervous and
asked for someone to turn his pages.
In the audience was Alfred Cortot, the brilliant pianist, who
volunteered and made his way to the stage.
The soloist was of uniformly low standard and next morning the
music critic of Le Figaro wrote: "There was a strange concert at the Salle
Gaveau last night. The man whom we adore when he plays the violin played
the piano. Another whom we adore when he plays the piano turned the pages.
But the man who should have turned the pages played the violin."
-- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"