Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Vaillaume cello

I have no background knowledge of music or musical instruments since I am a surgical mug and tone deaf, but I am married to the pianist so I glean her occasional droppings. I go to the occasional soiree and nod at expressions of ecstasy expressed by friends so as to join in, but I know where I belong and it's in the other kind of  theatre, the operating theatre. I have tried! The pianist's mother was a concert cellist, and she played until she was eighty five, and practiced in our home rather than her apartment since she was driving her adjacent apartment dwellers crazy with her unending scales! I was working one day years ago in the operating room with a colleague doing a long case and he was going on at the time endlessly it seemed, about a side occupation that he did in addition to his general practice. He was a classical music lover and scholar and had an interest in brokering string instruments! He was enthusiastic about a Stadivarius that he had aquired the rights to, and had traveled to Olympic City, "Where the money is, "he said, to show it to a client. I idly listened to him as he rattled on gaily about his forays into the precious instrument trade, while keeping track at the same time to the surgical matter at hand. Then he said, "I have a bead on  a Vaillaume  cello as well and they are very rare but there is a client of mine who is in the market if I can find one. There is a beautiful one in Olympic city I can't access." "Oh yah," I said, half listening, "We have one of those in our closet at home." There was silence. He knew I  was a barbarian and couldn't tell the difference between a cello and a kettledrum. At least that's what he thought. "No,"he said. "Yes,"I said, "I think it's in a closet somewhere."  Well, there was no way that he wasn't going to see it that night. He said nothing more and assiduously paid attention to what we were doing to his patient for the balance of the case. He bounded up the stairs at our home at 10 pm and said in an air of profound disbelief to the pianist, "You don't have a Vaillaume cello in your closet, do you?" "Yes", she said,"my mother bought it in Paris in 1920." My friend examined it carefully and then looked at me as if I were a newly hatched giant of the music industry. I felt like a poseur, but after all that talk, I wasn't going to let him know that I was just a surgical mug who knew what was in the closet.

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