Flute alert: Munich customs find weapon inside instrument

Flute alert: Munich customs find weapon inside instrument


norman lebrecht

August 17, 2018

Customs inspectors at Munich airport unscrewed the top of a flute and found a weapon inside, it was announced today.

The secret weapon was being shipped from China to an address in Norway.

A man has been arrested for questioning.

Flute travellers beware: you may be subject to instrument inspections at German airports.



  • John Borstlap says:

    Bizarre story…. sounds like those attempts by gangsters to hide their rifles in violin cases, or the story of the hand granade disguised as a trombone mute, smuggled into London in 1964 and forgotten, and used as a mute for years untill it exploded during Strauss'”Ein Heldenleben” under Norman del Mar.

    • Mike Schachter says:

      Strauss would have appreciated that. I hope no-one was hurt.

    • Minutewaltz says:

      What an extraordinary story. Can you enlarge on it?

      • John Borstlap says:

        The hairdos of 4 woodwind players who were sitting in front of the super fortissimo, were seriously disrupted for months. Fortunately it happened during a rehearsel, so Del Mar could stop and ask ‘whodunnit’ – and the poor shocked trombone player was asked to keep the effect ready for the concert, but he refused, saying it was not in his part. But Del Mar included the effect in his famous ‘Anatomy of the Orchestra’ (Faber & Faber 1981), chapter IV ‘The Heavy Brass’, under the heading ‘Special Effects – Extremes of Dynamics’, p. 316.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    It looks like a letter opener.

  • anon says:

    For when you find out the oboist sitting next to you makes more money than you.

  • The View from America says:

    I’m sure the flautist in question is known for his or her razor-sharp playing.

  • anon says:

    That’s because it’s not a flute, it’s a martial arts thing called a sword flute or flute sword, it’s on sale all over the place on the internet, and like any sword sold on the internet, it’s perfectly legal, it all depends on what was declared on the customs form or on the shipping bill.

  • anon says:

    German customs (and security) is meticulous no matter what, not just for flute players, how many stories have been published already of customs seizing violins from transiting musicians without the proper paperwork?

    As a non-European living in Italy for a decade and travelling in and out, I never had Italian customs go through my passport for an entry stamp, until one day I bought a low cost flight that connected through Hamburg, and I was wondering why German security kept flipping through my passport over and over again… He was quite annoyed when I didn’t show him the stamp right away, well, that’s because in 10 years in Italy, I had no idea what he was looking for!

  • CYM says:

    Probably just a magic flute which belonged to the queen of the knight …

  • William Ford says:

    Just hope they never find a weapon in a traveler’s large intestine.

  • Flaunting flautis says:

    Someone was flauting the law.

  • luigi nonono says:

    Made for the back-stabbing flutist. Instruments provide many hiding places, but don’t let customs know!

  • John Borstlap says:

    My PA tells me that she heard from her aunt who works at the BBC that the object was in fact a TV movie prop destined for another installment of the Hercule Poirot movie series and was stolen a year ago. They had to change the plot and use poison instead, violating Agatha Christie’s musical references.