His fingers kissed the ivory and ebony keys in changing tempo's. The violins in complete harmony; tender and loving.... energetic and impressive. Or in total silence, listening to the careful touches, waiting to join in.
Beethoven was always his favourite composer, particularly No. 3 in C Minor, Opus 1, no 3:IV, Finale, Prestissimo. It was the first music he heard as a little boy of only 2 years old, during a concert at home, organized by his parents. He sat in a little chair in the corridor upstairs, looking down at all the guests in their beautiful clothes. Jewellery shone in the light of hundreds of candles which sent their warmth and the scents of all the different perfumes his way. It did not bother him, with his eyes wide open he listened and listened.
His little hands mimicked the hands of the pianist in the black suit. His head moved in the same rhythm, his blond and silky hair waved. His little body relaxed when the music was slow but straightened by a higher tempo. Although he was too young to describe his own feelings, he knew that he had never heard something as beautiful as this.
His governess watched him, thinking she needed to talk to his parent. This beautiful child was born to play the piano and the lessons needed to start at a young age.
She did not notice the tears at her wrinkly cheeks. Tears because she knew the childhood of this lovely little boy was going to be different than that of other children. But how could she keep it away from him? Look at his face with the soft cheeks that coloured red by the emotions he felt.
She was right, this evening changed his life.
His parents were delighted to learn about the musical gift of their child and looked for someone to teach the boy piano lessons. Their choice was Monsieur Augustin Joguet, a Frenchman famous for tutoring gifted pupils.
But M. Joguet never met a child as young as the little boy who was even at the age of almost 3, also very stubborn. A child that heard music in his head, music his hands wanted to play on the beautiful grand piano in the music room. His young attitude drove M. Joguet almost insane by the look of his behaviour; next to the child (the poor boy was never called by his name) he made little jumps on his chair, raised his white hands with the long pointy fingers in the air, dramatically shouting: "Mais non, non non!!! Ze child first needs to learn ze scales!! 'E can not play Beet'oven at once!!" Then shook his head, spreading desperate little drops of sweat.
Arguments about his payment, patience and to his great annoyance also his competence, followed.
The little child did not understand what was said, he did not even hear it. His head was full of beautiful almost heavenly music where dissonance was not allowed; he closed his ears for the ugly music produced by the adult voices. Instead he let his little wide spread fingers search for the right tones of the performance he heard during that beautiful evening. In his head the violins.
M. Joguet resigned; thinking he might be too old for this which worried him far more than the future of this gifted child who played the piano in unawareness. Parents and governess wondered if he had even noticed his teacher left for good.
A new teacher arrived. And another one, and another one until the very young pianist that understood the music in the child's head and the connection between these tones and his fingers performing an excellent translation.
Of course there were other lessons to follow and as long as the child knew the piano was waiting for him, he obediently listened to his governess and made his homework.
At the age of five he had his first performance for the guests of his parents.
The sight of his little innocent body sitting on the chair, his back turned to the guests, was very touching and many ladies could not hold their tears.
The child's teacher sat next to the piano, his hands folded, his eyes fixed on the boy as if he read the notes inside that little head. There were no music pages to turn, the boy knew it all by heart.
The evening was very successful although more realistic people agreed that this child should climb trees or play cricket instead. Though the parents were very proud.
The years went by, he became very famous, his parents added extra space to the music room to entertain more guests because the only problem was that the child, a man by now, never wanted to leave the house. The sound of the outside world confused him, too many notes that did not make sense, notes causing agony and disorder. He once described the sounds outside the walls of their stately home as 'ugly' and the way he pronounced it, left no doubt.
A situation causing great concern with everyone involved, not in the least his parents. They shook their grey and wrinkly heads but could not avoid leaving this world when old and tired; like the guests. The younger generation the man wasn't familiar with, developed a different taste for music.
He wasn't aware of it and as long as people looked after him, he played and played until his body also bent for physical decay; his back round and aching, his knuckles swollen in pain. He did not want to give up, did not want to stop. He could not stop, there was so much music in his head.
Still came the day of his very last performance.
The sight of his shrunken lean body sitting on the chair, his back turned to the non existing guests, was very touching and angels above could not hold their tears.
|Photo: @glory.of.disrepair (Instagram)|
Word of thanks: the photo of @glory.of.disrepair (Instagram) inspired me to write this story and I was given permission to use the photo as an illustration for which I am very grateful. Thank you Mathias!
Link: please visit the beautiful Instagram account of @glory.of.disrepair
Note: the story is pure fiction! A figment of my imagination!