Movement I - Allegro con brio
From the Grantville News, Monday, January 2, 1634
The New Year began with more celebration than usual yesterday as Marla Linder and Franz Sylwester were united in marriage at 3 p.m. in the Methodist church. The bride wore a white gown in the old Grantville tradition, while the groom was dressed in a blue velvet jacket and black velvet trousers. The matron of honor was Anna Riebeck and the best man was Friedrich Braun. Other attendants were the bride's sister Jonni Chieske and Thomas Schwarzberg. The Reverend Simon Jones led the bride and groom in their vows and joined them in holy matrimony. A reception was held in the church's fellowship hall afterward.
When asked why they selected Sunday as their wedding day, Marla replied that they wanted to begin the New Year as husband and wife. Franz added that being united on the Lord's Day made it even more meaningful.
The new family will make their home in Magdeburg, where they will both be involved in music and the arts.
Grantville - Thursday, January 5, 1634
Franz felt as if he were walking on clouds as he walked hand in hand with Marla up the steps to the High Street House. Of course, he had felt that way since Sunday, when he and Marla were wed. It had happened so quickly, he still felt somewhat dizzy. It was hard to remember that it was only three weeks ago that he had proposed to Marla on bended knee before a room full of the most influential people in the USE. She had been patiently waiting for him to do so for months, but in his stubbornness he would not do so until the rehabilitation of his crippled hand had progressed enough to let him play his violin in public again. Once he had determined to propose, he waited for the night of her concert and took advantage of the setting as she responded to the final applause. He had well and truly surprised her, which was part of his delight, but it had not taken her long to overcome that surprise, pull him to his feet and—how did he hear someone describe it . . . oh, yes—"plant a lip lock" on him.
The days after that night had been a whirlwind of activity, as Marla was obligated to return to Grantville as soon as possible after that to sing the premiere of Maestro Carissimi's lament for the death of Hans Richter, Lament for a Fallen Eagle. It was to be performed on December 26th, the feast day of St. Stephen the Martyr. Somehow Franz was not surprised at the timing. The maestro, quiet though he was, had impressed him as being a man of thought and order. So, Marla, Franz and their friends—including Klaus and Reuel, who had been assigned to bodyguard duty by Gunther Achterhof after the episode in The Green Horse when Marla had been accosted by a drunk—had packed up on December 16th, the day after the concert, and left for Grantville. Klaus and Reuel were theoretically serving as couriers, and indeed, they did carry a package of papers to the CoC in Grantville. Everyone knew, however, that they were charged with Marla's safety.
The trip, although somewhat more taxing than when they traveled to Magdeburg on a barge, was somewhat more pleasant because of one thing: it was not raining. Marla did not handle being wet and cold very well. Franz sent silent prayers of thanks upwards for every day that dawned sunny and dry.
Once they arrived, the days prior to Christmas were filled with rehearsals at St. Mary's Catholic Church, the venue the maestro had chosen for the performance. Franz had sat on a pew, listening, as Marla, Isaac, Josef, Rudolf and Hermann had practiced with the composer and his chosen pianist, Elizabeth Jordan, one of Marla's former teachers. Frau Jordan had become a mentor to the renowned Italian composer in the ways of the music brought back in Grantville by the Ring of Fire, and it was a natural choice for her to play since Marla had been asked to sing the solo. Franz was still unable to play anything very complex yet, and had chosen to not attempt a part in this, desiring only the best performance for both Marla's sake and that of the maestro he had come to admire.
Christmas happened; a most joyful time in Grantville. The day after Christmas was the performance of the lament, and Marla had done as well as he had expected. Then she sprang her surprise on him. Even now, he remembered feeling as if he had been punched when she turned to him the morning of December 27th and said, "Let's get married! Now! We're here, my family and friends are here, and so are yours. Let's do it! On New Year's Day!" And he had been helpless to do anything except agree.
Once again, he saw Marla "kick into high gear." Once again all he could do was cling to her train as she, her aunt and her sister huddled together and planned a whirlwind campaign. They divided the tasks and moved out to conquer far faster than any military staff. Aunt Susan retired to the kitchen to do the baking for the reception. Jonni took over the arrangements with the church and the minister, the publication notice and preparation and circulation of invitations. Marla herself dealt with the question of attire.
A phone call to Karen Reading produced a squawk of "What?" Franz had heard it across the room from the phone. Karen had followed it with a stern command for Marla to get her behind to the Bridal Shop with no dilly-dallying around. Marla had obeyed that command. Franz traveled in her wake, to sit in a chair while Karen and Donna Lynn Rogers had fussed and fretted enough for three weddings while Marla tried on several dresses.
There were extended conversations about the suitability of each design, filled with arcane words that Franz had never heard before. For all he knew, they were conjuring up the desired dress. Fortunately, he had with him the book that Marcus Wendell, the band director, had given him, and he spent his time poring over that, looking up from time to time when one of the ladies would ask, "Franz, what do you think?" Each time he would smile and respond, "It looks beautiful to me."
When they (finally) had been allowed to leave toward the end of the day, Marla squeezed his arm as they walked out the door, and said, "Poor Franz, captive all day in a dress shop. You didn't have a clue what was going on, but your being there made me happy. Thank you." She leaned over and kissed him lightly.
The day of the wedding was mostly a blur, but he did have a few very clear memories. Marla smiling at him almost always warmed him to the point of fever, but that day, as he watched her walk down the aisle, the light in her eyes and the aura around her face took him to the point of incandescence. That peaked when she joined her hand to his and they walked up the steps to the platform and faced the minister.
That memory was playing in his mind as they stepped onto the porch of the mansion. Franz moved to one side, gathered Marla in his arms and proceeded to "plant a lip lock" of his own.
A timeless moment later they separated. Marla smiled at him. "Goodness! What was that for?"
Franz reached up to brush her hair back behind her ears as she continued to look at him quizzically. One of the many reasons he loved Marla was that she had never flinched from his crippled left hand. Truth to tell, when they walked hand in hand, she preferred to hold that one. "I love you," he said. Her smile widened, and she flowed back into his arms.
Another timeless moment passed. "You know," Marla murmured, caressing his cheek, "if you keep this up we'll be late for the meeting."
Franz captured her fingers and kissed them. "I know. If it wasn't so important to both of us, I wouldn't mind being very late."
Marla broke away from him and slapped his bicep. "You! Get in there." He sighed, opened the front door, and followed her in.
Every Grantville native called the stately old home that had been taken over by the city for administrative functions the High Street House. It was the closest thing to a mansion in Grantville. Franz and Marla walked into the meeting/event room at the back of the house and were greeted by applause. The ornate mahogany table had been moved from the former dining room. Many of the equally ornate chairs were occupied by friends and acquaintances who were clapping and whistling. Franz grinned, He could see Marla blushing.
Mary Simpson was seated at the head of the table, which didn't surprise Franz at all. She waved them to seats next to hers on the far side of the table as the noise died down. "Thank you all for coming today. I appreciate all of you taking the time for this meeting out of your busy schedules, or in the case of Marla and Franz, out of their honeymoon." Again there was applause from around the table. Marla blushed even more, and Franz's grin just got wider. "Nonetheless," Mary said, "I have to leave for Magdeburg shortly, and I really needed to talk to all of you about something that has got to be developed soon: an orchestra."
Ears perked up all around the table. Franz looked over at Isaac Fremdling, then to Josef Tuchman, to see wide smiles on the faces of his fellow string players. Rudolf Tuchman, Josef's brother, snorted, and said, "Finally."
Mary smiled. "Yes. Finally. But we had to walk first, before we could run. The work that you did all last year . . . " Mary waved her hand to encompass everyone at the table, " . . . all of you, has laid the foundation for the work that will be done this year."
"Umm, excuse me," said the quiet man dressed in a black cassock. "I think, perhaps, it would more correct be to say that the ground has been cleared for laying a foundation." The lilt of his voice made it very clear that not only was English not his first language, neither was German.
"You are right, Maestro Carissimi." Mary nodded, accepting the correction. "I spoke out of enthusiasm, but you are indeed right. What you collectively did last year was assemble the workmen and the tools that are needed to lay the foundation. Now we must begin that work."
Franz looked around the table as Mary spoke. It was quite an assemblage of musicians and craftsmen in this one room . . . perhaps the most impressive collection of adepts that he had ever had the good fortune to be part of. To Mary's left was Marcus Wendell, the Grantville High School band director. He was a man with an incredible mass of up-time musical knowledge in his mind. To his left were the Italian contingent, Maestro Giacomo Carissimi and his musician and crafter friends and associates. Beyond the Italians sat the representatives of Bledsoe and Riebeck, the Grantville/German instrument crafters. At the far end of the table, opposite of Mary, was Bitty Matowski, the ballet mistress, fresh from the triumph of her staging of The Nutcracker. Franz noticed that Bitty was the only person in the room who was smaller than Mary. To Mary's right were Marla, Franz, and all the men who had been part of the study group that had formed around Marla in the spring and summer of 1633.
Mary smiled again. "I am not a musician, but I have worked in supporting musical groups in the past. I can assure you that I have received commitments for financial support for an orchestra for the foreseeable future. However, if we want to realize those commitments, that orchestra must be produced, and soon. I believe that all of you in this room can contribute to that effort in some way. So, let's get started."
The next hour was a revelation to Franz. Mary directed the discussion as surely as Marcus Wendell directed the high school band. They moved smoothly from topic to topic, covering the various issues involved with reproducing the up-time instruments in their current circumstances. Franz watched with interest as Mary stopped incipient arguments, prompted people into revealing information they didn't realize was important, and kept them focused on the goal, all the while making copious notes in a notebook. He found the time educational, to say the least; as much about how to manage a conference as about the information that was being shared.
At the end of the discussion, Mary looked around the room. "Right. To summarize, both Ingram Bledsoe and Marcus Wendell believe that a number of usable instruments can probably be found in basements and attics in Grantville. Ingram will take charge of locating and acquiring those." She waved at the crafters on her left. "You gentlemen will work together to develop the techniques to reproduce uptime strings. Friedrich Braun will also collaborate with Leopold Gruenwald on duplicating the woodwinds. Leopold has already made good progress on duplicating the valves and slides for brass. Marcus believes duplicating the percussion instruments will not be a serious challenge as soon we can locate down-time drum crafters. So, did I leave anything out?"
"The wood," prompted Marcus.
Mary circled a note on the page in front of her. "Sorry, I do have that down. We need to get our merchant connections searching in Central and South America for pernambuco for bows and rosewood for xylophones and marimbas."
Mary turned a page in her notebook. "All right. We can probably locate enough wind instruments to begin an orchestra, and with some time and resources we can produce more. But instruments are useless without musicians to play them." She looked around the room. "We need more musicians. A lot more. And we need them relatively soon. With all due respect, Maestro Carissimi and Signores Abati and Zenti, they will probably have to be Germans. We don't have time to wait for messages to get to Italy and for others to follow your footsteps here."
Carissimi simply nodded. The others looked slightly mutinous but followed their countryman's lead and remained silent. Franz was wondering why Mary kept emphasizing a short time frame, when Marcus asked, "Why the short fuze, Mary?"
"I'll get to that in a moment. So, if we need good musicians, and we need them quickly, where can we find them?"
Franz looked down the table at his friends, and collected several nods. He looked back at Mary. "Some of them, at least, might come from Mainz. When the Prince-Bishop fled the sight of the Swedish army, he left his orchestra behind. That is where Isaac, Leopold, Thomas and I came from. There are others who can be encouraged to come, particularly if appropriate stipends are made available."
"Excellent! How many?"
Franz looked back at his fellows. "Twelve, maybe fifteen?"
Isaac nodded. "Unless they've all fled in the last few months, about that many."
Mary looked pensive. "That's not enough. Where can we find more?"
They all looked at each other, and a moment of silence ensued. Finally, Thomas asked, "Cannot some of your patrons provide some musicians?"
"As a last resort, they can," Mary responded, "but I would really rather not inconvenience them if we don't have to." Suddenly her eyes lit up, and an almost beatific smile appeared on her face. "What about the Elector of Saxony's orchestra? Can we abscond with it like we will with the Prince-Bishop's?"
Shrugs all around the table. "It would be worth a try," said Isaac.
Marla cleared her throat. "You might try sending circulars throughout Thuringia." Mary looked at her with a questioning expression. Marla continued. "According to the music history books, there should be at least a few Bachs scattered throughout this part of the country . . . ancestors and cousins of ancestors from collateral lines."
Mary grimaced, and made notes. "I knew that," she muttered.
"And according to Ed Piazza, there should be a sizable college of musicians around Stuttgart, as well," Marcus contributed.
Mary made more notes. Finally, she looked up again. "Okay, how do we get the word out?" The down-timers looked at her quizzically. She grinned. "How do we let musicians know that we're hiring, and what we have to offer?"
"I think," Maestro Carissimi offered, "that you will have to send personal representatives to most places. Here in Thuringia, perhaps broadsides would be useful, as most everyone does know of Grantville and what it means. But for places farther away, you must send ambassadors of music."
"Does anyone disagree?" Mary looked around the room. "Okay, we have Mainz, Stuttgart and Saxony. It will have to be you on this side of the table," she said, pointing to Franz. "The craftsmen, including Leopold, cannot leave. Thomas Schwarzberg as well. They must be focused on their work. So, who will go where?"
Franz looked over at Marla, who nodded in return. "We will go to Mainz."
Josef and Rudolf whispered back and forth for a moment. Josef said, "We will go to Stuttgart. We have a cousin there, who should provide us an opening."
Isaac had also been whispering with Hermann. He looked at Mary. "We will go to Saxony."
"Good." Mary wrote a few more notes in the ubiquitous notebook. She set the pen down, clasped her hands together in front of her, and gazed around the table. "Now, to answer Marcus' question from a few minutes ago, the reason I stressed short time lines is because our first concert has to be ready by the first of July."
"Gott in himmel!"
Various exclamations echoed off the walls of the conference room, including at least two that Franz recognized as being Italian. From the frown that appeared on Maestro Carissimi's face, they must have been very vulgar.