The Night I Met Einstein

This Reader's Digest Classic of "My Most Unforgettable Character" offers a lesson in life—and music—from the most brilliant mind in the world.

By Jerome Weidman from Reader's Digest | November 1955

“This” turned out to be Caruso in what was to me a completely unrecognizable fragment from Cavalleria Rusticana, a one-act opera. Nevertheless, I managed to reproduce an approximation of the sounds the famous tenor had made. Einstein beamed his approval.

Caruso was followed by at least a dozen others. I could not shake my feeling of awe over the way this great man, into whose company I had been thrown by chance, was completely preoccupied by what we were doing, as though I were his sole concern.

We came at last to recordings of music without words, which I was instructed to reproduce by humming. When I reached for a high note, Einstein’s mouth opened, and his head went back as if to help me attain what seemed unattainable. Evidently I came close enough, for he suddenly turned off the phonograph.

“Now, young man,” he said, putting his arm through mine. “We are ready for Bach!”

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