excerpt from 'Recollections of an old musician' pp. 158-160 (357 words)

excerpt from 'Recollections of an old musician' pp. 158-160 (357 words)

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Recollections of an old musician

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One episode in the Club’s history may be of some little interest. We arrived one morning in a certain Michigan town, and were met at the railroad station by a friend of long standing. In a very serious tone of voice he informed me that another good friend of the Club, a ’cello amateur, was so far gone in consumption that his physician and family had given him up; he would probably die during the day. The expected visit of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club had apparently kept him alive; he wanted to hear the Tema con Variazioni from the Schubert D-minor Quartette before he gave up the ghost He had placed a sum of money in the teacher’s hands to pay us. Would we gratify him ?

The situation quite shocked me. I said, “Of course we will play, but don’t talk of money.”

The sick friend was at the same hotel in which we were to be quartered. The plan was for us to play in a room at some little distance from his, but with both doors open. He wanted the music to reach his ears as a last sweet echo of his departing musical pleasures.

We prepared to play very soon after our arrival at the hotel. To me, who knew the young man well, it was a very solemn moment.  To play under such circumstances required some self-possession.

On a lower floor in the hotel lay a brother of the sick man who was also in a rapid decline, and very near death. The mother was in attendance at his bedside. Scarcely had we reached the middle of the piece, when a messenger from the mother came to request us to stop, for the brother down-stairs was so affected that she feared immediate death. We ceased playing. This latter brother died during the ensuing night; but the one who wanted the music lived on, and some favorable change occurred which gave him a fresh lease of life,—good for some years after the time he thought he was to hear his parting Swan Song

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excerpt from 'Recollections of an old musician' pp. 158-160 (357 words)


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