excerpt from 'Musings and Memories of a Musician' (332 words)

excerpt from 'Musings and Memories of a Musician' (332 words)

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Musings and Memories of a Musician

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Anton Rubinstein and I had received the Queen's command to go to Windsor Castle one afternoon and play and sing to her. After receiving us most graciously, Her Majesty seated herself near the tail-end of the piano, evidently in order to be able to see Rubinstein's face as he played. In the distance the only other listeners were seated, two or three ladies-in-waiting. The great pianist began with some Chopin nocturnes and other soft sweet things, which greatly pleased the Queen. After that I sang, and then Rubinstein played again, this time some louder things. I thought I could detect faint signs of uneasiness in Her Majesty's face as she seemed to realize the alarming nearness of the huge concert grand, the open lid of which threw the sounds back in the direction of Her Majesty's chair with redoubled force. Then I sang again, and then, to my dismay I confess, for I had heard him do it before, Rubinstein settled down to the playing of Liszt's arrangement of Schubert's Erl-King. At the first outcry of the frightened child, “Mein Vater, mein Vater,” I was prepared for the Queen asking me to close the lid, when there happened the most touching act, or rather a succession of most touching acts on the part of her indeed Most Gracious Majesty. Every now and then she would, unnoticed by the player, gently push her chair farther and farther away from the piano, the sounds issuing from which were growing more and more terrific from bar to bar, until, during the last frantic ride of the horror-stricken father, keys, strings, hammers seemed to be flying through the air in all directions, dashed into fragments by the relentless hoofs of the maddened horse. By that time, however, the Queen was at a safe distance, and a charming smile of pleasure and relief stole over her serious, wonderfully impressive features when at last, home reached, Rubinstein was half, and “the child” completely dead.

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excerpt from 'Musings and Memories of a Musician' (332 words)

excerpt from 'Musings and Memories of a Musician' pp. 173-174 (332 words)


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