Friday, February 20, 2009

Taxis and fiddlers

Glenn Dicterow, concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, is the latest in a string of fiddlers (sorry) to alight from taxis and leave their instruments behind:

These stories, which we seem to hear two or three times a year, are utterly mystifying. Leaving a stringed instrument in a cab is not like leaving a purse or laptop. A fiddle in its case is a bulky object, and one that rarely has been far from the musician's reach since childhood.

Yo-Yo Ma, the most famous of the forgetful cab riders, had spent decades toting a cello, which in its case is the size (if not the weight) of an 8-year-old child. Oh, and it's worth several million dollars. He got out of a cab and left his cello behind. And took how many steps away from the vehicle before noticing that something substantial was missing? Enough for the cab to drive away and an urgent hunt to ensue.

Do cab rides kill string musicians' brain cells? Someone should do a clinical trial.