excerpt from 'Recollections of an old musician' pp. 160-161 (322 words)

excerpt from 'Recollections of an old musician' pp. 160-161 (322 words)

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Recollections of an old musician

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This unique masterwork of Franz Schubert [Schubert D-minor Quartette ] has always been the one oftenest asked for, and I must mention one other solemn occasion when we had to play it A young lady died in Dorchester who had been one of our earnest friends and music lovers. She left a sum of money with her brother in order that he might engage the Quintette Club to play certain selections at her funeral. She had planned the entire function. We played in a room adjoining the parlor where the religious service was held. We began with the Swan Song, playing it with muted strings. That was followed by prayer. Then we played one of the Seven Last Words of Christ,—music composed for string quartette. Next the burial service was read, followed by addresses from friends; and we ended the exercises by playing another of the Seven Last Words.

This was certainly an occasion when firmness and composure were needed. Imagine having to play music of such technical difficulty at such a time, in such a situation, where the burden of the song, “Death and theMaiden,” had its counterpart in the adjoining chamber, for there was death, and there also was the maiden.

I knew that the girl during the brief span of her life had a very elevated and spiritual love for music; it spoke to her as nothing else did. And her brother, told me she was steadfast in the belief that she would be present in spirit during these last earthly rites, and would again hear the music she loved so well.

Knowing these facts, I was greatly affected while playing. They kept surging through my thoughts and brought me to the very verge of sobbing. When we first began, I must say, in familiar language, it was “just awful.” I shall never forget it, and hope never to pass through a similar experience.

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excerpt from 'Recollections of an old musician' pp. 160-161 (322 words)


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