My dubious encomium for Rowan’s CV (The Feuchtwang variations, n.3) reminds me:
The brilliant Roy Mowatt (see under comments here), a real bedrock of the early music orchestral scene, has long tolerated my violin playing in the section he led. I treasure a remark he made to me over a beer or three in a piazza in Parma after a Mozart opera (evoking Hugh Maguire’s comment to Pete Hanson—“Pete, even if your strings are out, you must play in tune! Just do it wit’ your fingers!”):
Thing about you, Steve, is that it doesn’t make any difference if your strings are in tune!
You can take that either way, and I think he meant it both ways. I was quite adaptable; yet my intonation wasn’t necessarily helped by tuning up… Cf. “It was in tune when I bought it”.
While I’m in confessional mood, here’s another comment I might add to my CV. Just around that time, a certain maestro took me aside and observed suavely,
Steve, I can’t help noticing that you have a somewhat low threshold of boredom…
Like the review of the Berlin Phil’s response to Simon Rattle, it lacks a certain nuance.