Odd legends about Bottesini

I have collected three in my travels:

  1. I once gave a ride to an old man a few miles from Crema who claimed that Bottesini had stopped an animal plague ("malattia di animale") that was sweeping the farms in the area some time in the last century. Bottesini, he said, had saved the local farmers by means of his music.
  2. Another old man I met in a rural ristorante near Parma asserted that Bottesini was able to bring lumps of clay to life by playing his contrabass. When I asked the man what forms the quickened clay took, he shuddered, turned away from me, and buried his face in his hands. I learned nothing more.
  3. Despite clear evidence that he died in 1889, Bottesini has been sighted frequently by members of certain social classes. He has been seen everywhere from Philadelphia to Trieste, doing everything from working in wineries to living in sybaritic luxury, free from the cares of virtuosity. Many refer to him as "the King," and cheap, demeaning imitations of him in performance are common.

"We all must learn where to place our fingers."
© 1997, Jeff Brooks (mtic@aol.com)