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Jan Masaryk: Mixer

While serving as Czech ambassador to the United States early in his career, Jan Masaryk (son of the first president of Czechoslovakia) once attended a party at which he was asked by the hostess to play the violin. He graciously agreed, playing a Czech nursery song to unanimous applause.

Later, as he left the party, a confused friend asked why on earth he had been asked to play. "Oh, it's all very simple," Masaryk explained. "Don't you see? They have mixed me up with my father, they mixed him up with Paderewski, and they mixed the piano up with the violin!"

[Masaryk remained foreign minister after the war but died as a result of a "fall" from a window, not long after the Communist takeover in 1948.]

[In 2004, violinists with a German orchestra sued for a pay increase -- on the grounds that they played more notes every night than their flute-, oboe-, and trombone-playing colleagues.]

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