In the climax of Eight Songs for a Mad King by Peter Maxwell Davies, the actor-singer portraying crazed King George III grabs a violin and smashes it. It’s quite a shock if you’re not expecting it, and disturbing even if you are.
The sacrificed instrument is little more than a cheap stage prop, of course. But what if a violinist, perfectly sane, accidentally smashed his Stradivarius? You can imagine the shock of that. Well, it actually happened to a young British virtuoso when he tripped and fell down a flight of steps. For details, click here.