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Music of the Heart
Prologue – Dolce

For a few moments she stood inside the door to the grand building and allowed the music to wash over her. Most people would have been surprised to see her there – few would have believed that she could have a fondness for any music, let alone the classics, but she liked to be considered an enigma. Regardless of that, however, this was one concert she would be happy to know that nobody knew she’d been to. The music, quiet at first, was gradually swelling and expanding to a grand crescendo. Slowly she became aware that the hair on the back of her neck was responding to the call of the music, rising in company with the overall movements. Suppressing a shiver, she slipped into a seat in the back of the room and allowed herself to fall into the emotions that such grand power called forth.

She watched him spread himself over the keyboard, pouring his emotions into the music that he was playing. For several seconds she allowed her eyes to wander over the grand hall with its rows of seats rising above and behind her and the places in front of her spreading out expansively, to culminate in the raised stage and the musicians rising in levels, finally topped by the grand pianist who, despite being unknown, was becoming more beloved with every passing concert and who could now command audiences numbering up to five thousand people.

His hair fell forward into his eyes and he impatiently gave one hand a brief respite from its frantic exertions on the keys to push it back. His eyes flashed as he allowed himself one brief glance around at the full and yet silent hall. She cringed back in her chair, forgetful of the fact that the bright spotlights blinded him to the individual faces in the crowd. For a few moments, a pause in the piano score gave him a chance to stretch his fingers and his back, and she could almost believe that a spasm of pain crossed his face as he eased the cramped position in which he had been sitting. Such an expression, however, she was sure would not have been noticed by other members of the rapt audience.

Only one who knew him well would be able to recognize such a thing.

The music drew to a close and there was a moment of awed silence before a ripple of applause began at some point within the silent crowd and rapidly swelled until the power of it could be seen to compete with the very music of which it was showing its appreciation. He stood, the tails of his old-fashioned coat sweeping off the low stool as he bowed to the left, right and centre, one hand tucked in behind his back and the other pressed tightly to his middle. She allowed a gasp to pass her lips but her hands remained motionless in her lap. A tear, however, glistened in her eye and began to slowly make its way down her cheek. A call began in an unknown area, a frantic call for an encore and the pianist, exchanging a glance with the conductor, nodded smiling acquiescence and reseated himself. She allowed herself to breath out again and found that she was trembling.

The first notes were a short trill, his fingers dancing over the keys and sending out the notes into the suddenly silent hall. The first movement of the piece was light and cheerful, the ideas created of children laughing as they played. There was a brief moment of silence, followed by one sharp note that was discordant and she could see that the pianist was watching the audience’s reaction. She had managed to stop herself from jumping, but many others were unable to do so. The next movement was one of inexpressible sadness, the violins joining in with the mournful notes produced by the pianist’s skillful hand. A second solitary tear slipped down her cheek and she could hear, amid her own sadness, the suppressed tears of many around her.

Slowly, gradually, the music began to rise out of its deeper and more tragic melodies, a few moments of almost happy notes to be found like rare jewels amid the tones of sadness. She could feel herself responding to the pull and power of the music and her memory could trace the pattern of the tones and predict the next movements. As she had thought, the soaring tones that comprised the final section sent her emotions upward and out of her sadness.

The music ended and this time the applause was slower to arrive, but even louder and more emotional when it did. She watched as he stood and enjoyed the appreciation that he was receiving almost entirely for himself. However, with his natural generosity, he insisted that the members of the orchestra also be acknowledged for their efforts. She waited no longer, but rose out of her seat and left the auditorium. Passing through the almost vacant lobby, she went out into the street, around to the side door and entered quickly. Slipping unnoticed into his dressing room, she dropped the small square of paper onto the table and, with a wry smile, picked up one of the PEZ dispensers that were scattered all over it, slipped a piece of its contents into her mouth and put the holder back down again.

She left the room as silently as she had entered it, her shoes making no noise as she crossed the carpet. She had just passed a door leading to the stage when it opened. She rested her hand on the door leading to the street and outside of which many people were already gathering. The members of the orchestra began to pass through the door and she suddenly turned with the knowledge that he was there as well. Her eyes met his and she felt with a sense of satisfaction the shock that the view of her gave him. He froze for a moment, waiting with the tenseness of a hunted animal to learn the plans of the hunter. She gave several seconds for the panic to build to a crescendo within him then nodded and opened the door, passing into the cool night air.

He stayed where he was for a moment, still waiting to see whether this was merely a prelude or if she had really walked away. When the moments had ticked by and he was alone in the hallway, he allowed himself to breathe again. The perspiration beading his face was no longer only from his exertions on the piano and he found that his hands were trembling. Entering his room, his eyes were drawn immediately to the note that sat on his table. He also saw that she had moved one of his PEZ dispensers, the one with the small bust of Mozart as its head. He grinned as he pocketed the note and then slipped his arms into his coat pocket. As he walked towards the door, however, he couldn’t help himself. Dropping onto a nearby chair, he pulled the thin slip of paper out and unfolded it. His eyes ran over the verses it contained and he grinned. Pulling out his wallet, he slipped the paper in among others and then returned it to his pocket before getting up and leaving the room. Her words would go well when set to music. He never knew she was so poetic…

The music once that lit my soul and passions true,
Was full of strength and love and power and light.
And I could feel it every single moment,
Passing through each day and every night.

And then, one day, my soul had died within me,
The world was dark and I was all alone.
But from somewhere, some far deep and hidden place,
The music came into my heart and home.

I could feel the waves of music throw themselves,
Constantly on the heart I’d closed to you.
And finally I felt the first few notes were breaking,
Through the walls that shut out even those I knew.

And you slipped in that room that was my heart’s inside,
Like a ghost you passed around all my defense.
I tried to stop you often, but I failed each time,
You were there; I could feel you in my presence.

And so I tried to tell you that I hated you,
That you and I could no longer be friends.
But still you came back once and then again to me,
And showed that love which just a true friend sends.

And then you played the music that inspired me,
Left my heart in tatters, shedding tears of grief.
But you showed me in your music that in your own hands,
I finally could find my own relief.

Thus now I lay myself down here before you,
Admitting you possess my conquered whole.
I give you everything thing that you would have of me,
Therefore – maestro – take my life, my heart, my soul.

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