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General

The unmistakable piece of Mozart's 'Piano Concerto No.21 K467' escalated throughout the hall leisurely. Even though having the music played at a snail's pace, it had the power to frantically speak the rare emotions and sentiments of one's heart. The music was extraordinary, which undoubtedly inspired a profound passion for both players and listeners. The music itself was so phenomenal that it made me spellbound as it produced choral vibes within me while running my fingers through the keys. However, the flow was disrupted as I missed to catch up on a note.


"You should go for a fortississimo. Look carefully, the triple f written in italics", Tilak Ji exclaimed irately. 


He looked furious. Without uttering a word, I carefully looked at the sheet and saw the indication on the second verse: fff.


How could I miss it? I thought and berated myself. Although I had been reminded several times, I hadn't been able to focus properly on the indications penned on the piano notation sheet. Everyone around looked at me with their eyes wide open. The woman sitting on the bench beside me was so traumatized by the fierce voice of the conductor that she did not became aware of her huge cello slipping off her hand.


I finally garnered enough courage to speak, "Sorry, Tilak Ji. I will be more careful from now on. I just misread the instruction."


"Misread? Is that what you just said?" He was losing his temper. I often got confused between fortississimo and prestissimo. The former meant 'start soft and move to very-very loud' and the latter meant 'play as fast as possible, but softly.' There were so many baffling terms in that piece that even pronouncing all of them right was tough, forget about knowing their meaning. Even after a year-long practice and hard work, I hadn't been able to correctly grasp their meaning. But then, we were supposed to perform pretty soon, and all I knew was that I had to do it right and prove myself.


But seeing everyone position themselves stock-still holding their instruments and playing their section virtuously, it made my heart race hysterically. My brain couldn't get the knack of what those terms even meant. I knew the piece by hard; it wasn't my amnesic being to be blamed at...it was the myriad of thoughts that evolved within me, which made me muddled and frozen to my core. I had become a feast for my own anxiety, my stubborn phobia that I couldn't evade. Stage-fright had always impeded me during my previous performances, and I knew I had to get out of it sooner or later.  


Calming himself down, Tilak Ji finally said, "You aren't here to make such stupid mistakes. There isn't much time left. Let's do it once more. And please, do not even miss a single note written." Everybody got back to their position, turning their pages to the right one.


"You," he said, pointing to a middle aged man.


 "Yes, you! Play the clarinet part once again. I would like to see that you're doing it right." 


Without hesitating, the man began to play the melody. The sound of the clarinet alone made the room amicable. I could see Tilak Ji's acrimony fading away with the soothing tone of the instrument.


"Well done, Mr Alok. But it would be best if you focused more on the attacca. You paused before jumping over to the next section."


Alok nodded in an assertion.


"Okay, everyone. Get ready with your instruments. We're doing it once again," he reached out for his baton.


We started playing the composition right from the start. The violin players played their notes, coordinating with the movement of Tilak Ji's hand, and they went along well. But again, one of the cello players delayed her note, thus interrupting the flow. Tilak Ji's face crinkled up, and he began to yell at her.


"How many times have I told you to follow the note properly? How are you going to perform on that day if you make such mistakes?"


"Sorry, sir. It's just that…"


"No, no. There isn't time for me to listen to your stupid excuses. Please play the verse again without making mistakes." She hurriedly put the bow right on top of her cello and began to play the aria in the C scale.


"Good, you played the notes correctly. I hope you get your timing right," he said hastily, before adding, "Everyone, this is the last time we're practicing. Please do your best and put in your full effort."


His baton swung into a rhythmic motion, following which, the musicians played their respective instruments. The musical exuberance gripped the surrounding once again. After a minute of refreshing harmony, it was my turn to play the piano. My fingers started running through the black and white keys. The sound of piano and strings made for a great combination. And this time around, the fortississimo no longer confused me.


I came to realize how my angst, within a jiffy, metamorphosed itself into my strength and how I could ward off my burning agitation with the robustness of a century old classical piece and its mellifluous cluster of vibrations and intonations. 


Finally, after a foolproof rehearsal that lasted for about twenty two minutes, the concerto came to an end. All of us breathed a sigh of relief. Tilak Ji's face lit up with an impish glee.


"That's the flow I needed. Congratulations, all of you. You finally did it," he said jubilantly.


There was no question that he was in high spirits. I could see his eyes burning with euphoria. Rivulets of tears were streaming down on his wrinkled face.

His face made me comprehend what Mozart had tried to speak through his music. It was not just the combination of tones that made his music immortal. His notes were more like a mosaic of emotions flawlessly expressed in the language of music. And we finally realized we couldn't take it for granted.

July 10, 2020 17:58

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12 comments

Deborah Angevin
22:54 Jul 15, 2020

A well-written story! Loved reading it! Would you mind checking my recent story out, "Orange-Coloured Sky?" Thank you!

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18:28 Jul 16, 2020

Thank you so much deborah. I will surely check your stories out.

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Corey Melin
22:18 Jul 11, 2020

Very well done. The flow was great just like listening to a good song.

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04:13 Jul 12, 2020

Thank you so much Corey

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Vineet Bhave
08:00 Jul 22, 2020

Reading the story really made me want to go and listen to one of Mozart's pieces. In the 7th paragraph, you have written, 'I knew the piece by hard.' I believe that's a typo you missed but I loved the story. Do check out my stories if you get the time. Thank you!

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08:16 Jul 22, 2020

Thank you so much for your feedback. I will surely go through your stories too.

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Serine Achache
12:55 Jul 18, 2020

It felt amazing reading your story!! I loved the amount of emotions it conveyed. Very well done and keep writing!

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13:48 Jul 18, 2020

Thank you so much Serine

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Reena B.
18:28 Jul 12, 2020

This is a beautiful story! You relayed the emotions so well :) Wonderful job!

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19:26 Jul 12, 2020

Thank you so much Reena

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Batool Hussain
15:11 Jul 12, 2020

This is a really good story! The story unfolds smoothly like the petals of a flower. Beautiful! Mind checking out my new story and sharing your views on it? Thanks.

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17:28 Jul 12, 2020

Thank you so much batool.

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