This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
I sit here and I listen to the soft sounds of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. For some reason the slow violin harmonies make me think of her. She loves the sound of the violin. The romanticism of Vivaldi and the sweet sounds of Mozart always seem to echo through the halls of our home. She never listens to Barber though. It is too sad, almost as if the music was alive with anguish and sorrow. She has always been one for beauty and happiness. She never opens herself to the mournful sounds that have become the only ones I hear now. Her violin sits in its case against the wall, its dark stained wood reflecting the ghostly luminescence of the candles like moonlight on the waves of the lake. I sometimes imagine her picking up her bow and drawing it across the strings, bringing forth a beautiful pure tone, clear and deep. Her smile reaches forth with her music and I feel it seep down through my soul. Her music changed me. It changes me still. Before her, there was only the discordant sounds of my childhood. I never dreamed that such emotion could be born, carried, and felt, so deeply, with no words. It was like sipping from pure sunlight and the love she expressed for me was like pure joy. Her favorite is Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, a masterful, beautiful, expressive music that has always seemed to echo, or perhaps enhance, the look on her face as she played it for me. It was those personal, private performances that caused me to understand her. Her music is so much a part of her life that her thoughts are played in melodies and harmonies, a rich manuscript and score of the most endearing and deep emotions. But it was the song of her love for me that opened my eyes.
Our romance has been long and lovely. For over twenty years her music has kept me alive. In various states of happiness we’ve lived, worked, and played. But mostly we have listened. More could be said between us with music than ever with words. One day she turned to me and said, “Music is so much more than just sounds. It is the deeper part of ourselves that endear us to each other, and to God.” And thus our lives were filled with it. Once, I asked myself which of us she loved more. The music, or me. Later I cried with shame, realizing that the answer was so simple and so sublime. She did not love her music as she did me. The music was part of her. It was inside of her. It was her heart and her soul. The music plays on and I wander the deserted halls of my home, our home, listening to Barber’s sadness, making it my own. Once we spoke of the afterlife. “Heaven is a symphony of heavenly angels, playing the instruments they held in life, but with such skill and feeling that the very roots of heaven are stirred by their playing. Musica es mâior quam mortuus,” she said to me smiling. “But what if we play no instrument?” I asked her. “We all play an instrument, even if it’s only our heart.” She replied. I remember holding her in the rain, humming softly Debussy’s Clair de lune. She has always loved that piece. Her eyes looked at me with fierce love and I remember my tears falling, landing on her cheek, soft and thick, mingling with the rain. She smiled, patient and loving, and shook her head, telling me no. Her mouth formed the words that I had never needed to hear said out loud. We were returning from a concert at Carnegie. A beautiful, moving performance of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. My favorite piece, The Moonlight Sonata had held me ridged in twilight. She enjoyed the music, but was really only patient with my tastes, for
the temperamental sounds of Beethoven are far too melancholy for her bright spirit. I asked her why she didn’t care for his music. She smiled at me. “You misunderstand, my love. I do not dislike Beethoven’s music. Beethoven’s life was dark and sad. He wrote his music out of some need, as if his heart was crying out and the only way he could say what needed to be said was with the music.” She had played Beethoven for me once to prove that music was the pure essence of emotion. Never before had I cried due to mere sounds slipping from a hollowed piece of wood and the vibration of four strings. Never before had I felt so drawn up into that other world that only musicians dream of, and only those who feel the music experience. It was raining that night, a soft slow gentle rain that seemed to add its staccato beat to the music we had heard. We spoke little in the car, merely holding hands and being together. Like a duet of perfect balance we held on to our silence and listened to the sounds of the rain mixing with the light of Beethoven. We didn’t need to speak because the music said it all. What could there be to say? Down the highway we drove, comforted from the elements, and wrapped in the safety of the music. It was perfect. It was heaven. It was our love, winding its way through our hearts and our souls and our minds. It was our love, pianissimo, softly, bringing our bodies together, for what would be our last duet. Like a cymbal crashing with thunderous timpani we heard the squeal of brakes and tires scratching the pavement, a discordant duotone. Her grip tightened in mine and I ripped my hand away to turn the wheel as the awful crash shuddered through the car. The music played on and I felt myself sliding, round and round. As we spun, the world seemed to gloss over, like a single moment in time that stretches on forever, legato in it’s stillness, and alone.
I have read that Beethoven became deaf at the age of twenty-eight and over twenty years steadily worsened until it was impossible for him to hear anything. I have wondered at the cruel irony of life in which a great creator would not be able to listen to his own work, to be denied access to the one great love of his life. I remember seeing a movie in which Beethoven laid his head down on the piano, playing his Moonlight Sonata with gentle and measured strokes, feeling the vibrations of the music through the spruce wood sounding board. My heart wrenched, imagining the loss Ludwig Van Beethoven must of felt in losing his music. But now I know that loss, for I too have lost my music. The car skidded and crashed into the sidewall, sending us hurtling off the roadway and down. Con fuoco, with fire, force and speed, we dropped like a shattered cup broken by a high note, through the electrical wires and posts to land sideways on the service road. With a sudden tranquillity the music stopped, leaving only a terrible silence, like an intermission. I reached for her, seeing her body crumpled against the door. The rain poured in mestizia, sorrowfully, and I cried out her name. No answer came to me and I struggled with anger and the harnesses. With desperation I tore at the buckle, finally freeing myself and falling toward her unmoving body. I caught myself and bent down to her. The rain fell through the broken windows above me and the reflected street light illuminated her round face with a gentle touch. I reached for her and turned her cheek toward me. Her eyes were closed, but then slowly opened, searching my face. I cried in relief and whispered to her that everything would be all right, and that I would get her out of there. But she shook her head and smiled. Her mouth formed the words and I read them from her lips. “I love you.” Then, with agonizing slowness I saw the light seep from her eyes and I held on to her, to hold
her back, to keep her with me. My tears joined the rain and I softly sang the melody of Clair de lune. Barber’s Adagio for Strings is what I am listening to. I can no longer bear the sweet melodies of Vivaldi, nor even the emotional music of Beethoven. The memories they bring to me are too vivid, too real. My love has been appassionata, impassioned, and now all I have left is a violin that will sing no more. Her music stand lies empty, and the house will soon be as meaningless, as void. Of that I am sure. My love was correct in her belief that music is the pure essence of emotion. It is a pathway to our very soul. Perhaps it is the one creation of man that has come the closest to being god-like. Perhaps it is the one true beauty of this world. But whatever it is, all it brings me now are memories of my dearest violinist, my love, my life, my Music. There will be no reprise. It is the end of this music, the finale of my love, my soul, my life. It is my requiem. No, it is our requiem. Musica es mâior quam mortuus. It is complete.
Musica es mâior quam mortuus Music is greater than death
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.