EXCERPT: “Conducting” from Book 1 “Perceval”

copyright C.C. Yager.  Please do not copy, print or reproduce without written permission from the author.

Evan straightened, inhaled a deep breath, exhaled, nodded and handed his half-full water bottle to the stage manager.  The door swung wide.  With confidence, he strode on stage through the cello section, his shoulders squared and chin up.

Applause rippled the air.  Evan bowed, taking in the mass of faces, the giant sparkling crystal chandeliers overhead and the serene gold goddess statues at regular intervals along the walls of the Grosser Saal of Vienna’s Musikverein, home to one of the best orchestras in the world.  Evan leaped up onto the podium and faced the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra, baton in hand, the symphony’s score open to the first page on the conductor’s stand at waist height.  Above and behind the orchestra, burnished organ pipes extended to the ceiling.  The applause subsided into the silent, energized anticipation he’d loved all his life.

Evan gave the downbeat for the basses and cellos to begin the Caine symphony’s dark introduction.  His arms winged wide as if to embrace the violins.  Their bowing mirrored his fluid movements.

He knew the grief in this music.  Moving his left hand like a seagull riding a gentle air current, Evan quieted the strings as the main theme’s taut melody emerged.  The violins played over a menacing line in the cellos, basses and bassoons where he heard Caine’s musical voice again.  His sense of time faded into Caine’s musical time which filtered through his body and guided his hands.

He had been four when Uncle Joe had pulled him out from under the piano, his favorite place to listen to Uncle Joe play or compose his music, and stood him before the keyboard.  He’d smelled of wood smoke and oranges that day.  Uncle Joe had taught him the C major scale, the correct fingering and arpeggio chords.  His music education with Uncle Joe had begun.

Uncle Joe’s music swelled, and with it, Evan swayed up on his toes and down.  Strings and woodwinds keened the return of the introduction.  Evan nodded for the brass to enter.  The music ascended out of its sorrow but then dissolved into a grim ostinato.  He controlled this angry lamentation, the pizzicato strings, the piano’s brash chords, and the acceleration into a caricature of itself as Caine intended.  The galloping rhythms vibrated within his body.  He thrust his arms up as if to release them out over the musicians.  They were all of one mind, one body: Joseph Caine’s.

Evan wanted to live here forever inside music, sound, emotion.  Music had been his home since before that first lesson with Uncle Joe.  Music had filled the Caine’s house.  He had felt love there, safe and protected, and had wondered if he had been born into the wrong family.

Evan brought his arms close in to his body, to restrain his beat for the dirge that diminished into the first movement’s final notes.  After the cut-off, he brushed a lock of his hair away from his eyes and allowed himself a wry smile.  Uncle Joe had told him once that music was the brandy of the damned.

copyright C. C. Yager.  Please do not copy, print or reproduce without written permission from the author.

The synopsis for Perceval can be found on the “Synopses” page.  


One response to “EXCERPT: “Conducting” from Book 1 “Perceval”

  1. Hey it takes great courage to write and I appreciate yours. Keep going because you never know what star is looking out for you.
    Kind Regards,

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