James Boswell, who died on this date, May 19, at age fifty-four in 1795, writes in his London Journal (1950) on Feb. 2, 1763: “I read, wrote, and played on my violin with unusual satisfaction.” In a footnote to this sentence, the editor, Frederick Pottle, points out:
“It must seem rather odd that Boswell has not previously mentioned the fact that he could play the violin, or that he had a violin with him. At various times in his life he played the violin, the flute, and the bass viol, but probably none of them very well, for there is no record of his playing with others. He loved to sing, and had a good ear and a good voice.”
Our friend does play well. Above her piano on the wall hangs a framed black-and-white photograph of her thirteen-year-old daughter playing the bass clarinet.