Bottesini frequently played in this grand Catalonian city, and liked it tremendously. "If Crema had a coastline and were Spanish and were a bigger city, it would be Barcelona," he once told a friend, in an unusual burst of affection.

It was during an extended visit in the mid-1860s that the city installed a system of public trolleys. Bottesini was delighted at the convenience until he found that it would be next to impossible to bring a Double Bass on a trolley with one. He began an energetic campaign to make trolleys Bass-accessible. He was triumphant beyond all expectations when the city agreed to set aside space in each trolley for a special Bass cabinet labeled "Contrabasses Only."

Sadly, this feature was discontinued only days after Bottesini's death in 1889 -- possibly under the influence of the Moristo. But the episode illustrates the ideal of Bassist as Civil Architect -- one that has sadly not caught on.

"We all must learn where to place our fingers."
© 1997, Jeff Brooks (