Sir Adrian' s Head . . . . . . . .
A young musician, a female clarinettist, having played in an orchestra for a few years, decided that medicine was her first love after all and she gave up her job and returned to medical training. During an important anatomy exam, she stood at the dissecting table and watched an attendant carry a tray holding an object covered with a cloth towards her. Students were not given exam details in advance and she therefore awaited disclosure of the object nervously.
The cloth was removed and to her utter amazement, there, on the tray, rested the head of Sir Adrian Boult, which she recognized immediately and which she had last seen attached to his body, very much alive, conducting her and the orchestra from the rostrum.
Sir Adrian Boult had died and left his body to medical science.
. . . . . . . and Sir George’s Reputation.
It is a well-known fact that medicine and music have a great affinity for each other. Medics often love music as much or even more than musicians do.
Beloved tells a story, which goes something like this:
When he was in imminent danger of losing the use of his fingering arm (i.e. the arm that holds up a string instrument), a very serious and potentially life-threatening operation to his neck was the only option. The famous medic, who happened to be the Queen’s official Neurosurgeon, who was to perform the operation, found time for a chat during prepping.
“I hear you are a musician at Covent Garden; what do you think of Solti”?
Beloved was one of only two members of the orchestra who actually liked and admired Sir George Solti for his rigorous and exacting approach to music and who was therefore known as a bit of a slave driver. Beloved admitted his admiration with a clear conscience.
“That’s good”, said the great man, “ the last time I had dinner with George . . . “
The operation went well, the arm and Beloved’s career were saved.