TITLE: DUET WITH THE DEVIL’S VIOLIN
GENRE: Upper MG Magical Realism
I prepared for the downbeat, bow poised over the strings of the violin Mom and Dad bought me to celebrate being named the youngest ever concertmaster of the youth symphony.
Miranda Harper: concertmaster. I loved the sound of it. After a year waiting it out as principal second violinist “so I could observe and grow,” I’d finally made it. I wanted to jump up and dance, but I couldn’t. It wouldn’t be concertmaster-like.
At least we’d played some Mozart last season. Good old Wolfgang sometimes let the second violins outshine the firsts.
Now it was my turn to shine, and we weren’t playing Mozart today.
My fingers tingled, like extra energy ran through them.
I’d been practicing this medley from Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung for weeks. It started with “Ride of the Valkyries,” a melody everyone recognized, either because they’d seen a fat lady singing it or watched Elmer Fudd warble, “Kill the Wabbit.”
I aimed for perfection. I knew it wasn’t really possible. Near perfection? Yes. Total perfection? No way. Something that sounded flawless always had minuscule errors.
A tone so slightly off pitch even someone with a highly trained ear couldn’t tell.
A note played a hundredth of a beat too soon.
A measure performed in mezzo piano instead of pianissimo.
I’d settle for the way my idol, Joshua Bell, once described it: when it’s perfect, he feels like he’s inside the music.
That’s what I wanted to feel--that I was inside the music. That I was the music.