Movement II - Andante espressivo
Grantville - Monday, January 9, 1634
Franz looked at his traveling companions, and Maestro Carissimi. They were standing outside the office of Lady Beth Haygood, talking and waiting for Hermann. As Marla turned to ask il maestro a question, Franz smiled to himself. He remembered Marcus Wendell's reaction last Friday when he mentioned that he found it odd that an English noblewoman was serving as Frau Simpson's aide.
"Who are you talking about?" Marcus' brow had furrowed, indicating his perplexity.
"This Lady Beth Haygood," Franz had replied. His brow furrowed in turn, as Marcus had burst into laughter.
"Lady," Marcus had finally said, after his hilarity had died down, "is her name, not a title." Franz had looked very confused, he was sure. "Oh, yes, it really is. Americans sometimes name their kids the strangest things. I had a friend in college, a boy from Alabama, whose name was Colonel A. Johnson. He caught a lot of flack from the ROTC guys. Go slip Tom Stone a few beers some night, and see if he'll tell you what his sons' given names originally were." Marcus chuckled again. "Just say her name—ladybeth—really fast like it's one word."
Just as Franz was remembering his friends' reaction when Marla had shared the story of his confusion, Hermann arrived. Shaking off his reverie, Franz said, "Hermann is here, and he was the last. Let us discover what Frau Haygood has in store for us." Opening the door, he led the way into the small room. The woman at the desk, presumably Lady Beth herself, looked up as they trooped in. She was an older woman—older than Marla, anyway. Franz refused to try and guess at her actual age; most of the Grantville women wore their ages well, and he had embarrassed himself more than once when age had entered into conversations.
"Hi, Lady Beth," Marla sang out as she entered and closed the door behind her.
"Hey, Marla." Franz continued to study Lady Beth. He had probably been introduced to her at some point—if at no other time, then during their wedding reception, he was sure—but she was not familiar to him. He saw an oblong face, like so many of the Grantvillers, framed in shoulder length wavy dark blonde hair. She wasn't a pretty woman—with a strong jaw and a strong nose, perhaps the best that could be said was she was attractive—but her blue eyes and warm smile were welcoming on this cold Monday morning.
"So, what's up?" Marla asked. "We're supposed to be on the road pretty quick."
"Well, I think you're going to have to change your plans somewhat." Lady Beth looked around at the group. "Mrs. Simpson told me to work with you to set up some musician recruiting trips to Mainz, Stuttgart and Saxony. However, according to some information that Don Francisco provided to me this weekend, the Elector of Saxony's orchestra is not in Saxony right now."
Not in Saxony? Franz looked at the others, knowing that he probably looked as confused as they did. "If they are not in Saxony, then where are they?"
"According to Don Francisco . . . " Lady Beth picked up a piece of paper and read from it, " . . . the Elector's musicians, including Kappellmeister Heinrich Schütz, appear to all be in Copenhagen, involved in the upcoming wedding celebrations for Prince Christian of Denmark and Princess Magdalene Sybille, the Elector's daughter."
"Oh," was all that Franz could say. Nonplussed, he looked at his friends. They looked back, equally at a loss for words. They all knew of Heinrich Schütz, who was perhaps the preeminent musician in the German territories, but none of them had ever had any contact with him. If he himself had traveled from Dresden to Copenhagen, then it was certain that no musician of any capability had been left behind.
Surprisingly, it was Maestro Carissimi who broke the silence. "Meister Schütz, you say? But I know this man. Oh, do not mistake me," he hurried on, as the others looked at him. "We have sent letters only. He came to Venice some years ago and spent time with Maestro Monteverdi, who was kind enough to give him my name. He sent letters asking questions, I responded, but never we did meet. A gracious man, a gifted man, but so lonely in Dresden he was, with no one sharing his vision."
An idea flared in Franz's mind like a star shell bursting in the night sky. "Josef! Rudolf! You are from Hannover. Could you make your way to Copenhagen?"
The two brothers looked at each other. Rudolf shrugged. They looked back to Franz. Josef said, "We have never been there, but in Hannover or in Hamburg are plenty of men who have. No doubt we could find our way."
Franz spun to face the Italian. "Maestro, could you write a letter to Herr Schütz, inviting him and anyone else in his company to visit Magdeburg?"
Franz felt a very large smile spreading across his face. "Josef, Rudolf, you will take the maestro's letter to Copenhagen."
"But what of Stuttgart?"
"It is not far from Mainz to Stuttgart; we will go to Stuttgart after we visit Mainz, which will free you to go north. So, while the maestro writes his letter, you shall write one for us to carry to introduce us to your cousin."
Franz saw a bemused expression on Lady Beth's face as she handed pens and paper to various hands. He chuckled a little. "Frau Haygood, we will take our leave soon and let your domain resume its calm."
"Oh, that's okay, Franz. This is a school, after all . . . turmoil happens frequently. I just didn't expect you to find a solution so quickly, is all."
Marla laughed. "Best get used to it if you're going to work with us much, Lady Beth. These guys don't let grass grow under their feet much."
While the others were writing, Lady Beth beckoned. Franz, Marla, Isaac and Hermann grouped in front of her desk. She handed envelopes to Marla. "There are some vouchers for you to stop at the bank and get some traveling funds. There's also some authorization letters from the Abrabanels that will let you draw on any of their associates if there are any emergencies. Keep track of how much you spend, and be sure that both Mary and I will review the expenses."
Her no-nonsense tone sobered everyone immediately. Marla said, "Yes, ma'am."
Franz looked around. Josef and Rudolf were done with their letter, but the maestro was still writing. A thought occurred to him, and he turned back to Lady Beth. "Ah, Frau Haygood, Johannes Fichtold will probably be traveling to Füssen soon, on business for Frau Simpson."
Lady Beth's raised hand stopped him before he could continue. "Masters Zenti and Riebeck have already been to see me. It's all arranged." She smiled at Franz's surprise. "I don't let the grass grow under my feet, either."
Maestro Carissimi straightened. "It is completed." He handed the letter to Josef. "Another thought occurs to me. If we need musicians, perhaps I should send letters to the Jesuit collegia north of the Alps. My name might capture some interest."
"Please do, Maestro," Franz said. "At this point, I think we might even accept an Englishman, if he could play well." As Marla passed out the envelopes, he said to them all, "Well, my friends, we must be off. Take great care, and in no event be back to Magdeburg later than April 1."
"Last ones back buy a round at The Green Horse," Hermann called out. They trooped out the door in laughter.
Grantville - Late January, 1634
"Well," Thomas started, studying yet another list, "Frau Matowski . . . "
"Just call her Bitty," Marcus Wendell said. "That's what everyone calls her."
"Very well . . . Frau Bitty, then . . . has an ambitious turn of mind, has she not?"
Marcus chuckled. Lady Beth Haygood snorted. "That's our Bitty."
"Oh, come now, Lady Beth," Marcus said. "I'll grant you she's a perfectionist when it comes to the dancing, but aside from that, she's just fine."
"Uh-huh . . . except that right now she's eating, drinking, breathing and sleeping dance. Between convincing Mary that Swan Lake's not in the cards for 1634 and trying to review every ballet program she has recorded or has ever done or even has notes on so she can cobble some kind of program together, her nerves are worn down so far she's on her last one, and heaven help whoever gets on it."
Marcus grinned. "Speaking of Mary, how did Bitty take the news that you're in charge right now?"
"All things considered, I guess okay," Lady Beth said. "Mary met with both of us, and laid out the ground rules, which didn't take very long. Then she left, and Bitty and I came to an understanding." There was a hint of a grin on her face. "I also told her she'd best be careful about who's around when she refers to Mary as 'Her Ladyship' in that tone she gets."
Marcus looked at her. "There are those who would take offense?"
"Mary definitely has supporters here in Grantville now."
"What kind of trouble could they cause? Could they cut off her funding?"
"Well, I doubt that Mary would be that petty," Lady Beth said, "particularly since she does want the ballet to succeed. But no doubt someone like Laurie Haggerty would try to make trouble."
"Her." Marcus made a face. "She and I had a whole series of 'discussions' about my lack of perception when I didn't make her son Duane the first part first chair horn player in the junior high band. She couldn't believe that I would let little things like whether he practiced or not—not to mention his attitude—outweigh his 'obvious superior talent,' and she didn't have any trouble telling me about it—several times. Yeah, I'd believe most anything you'd tell me about her. But what's Bitty got to worry about with her?"
"Well, apparently they really locked horns during the rehearsals for Nutcracker, to the point that Bitty was muttering about the 'Ballet Mother from Hell.' Problem is, Laurie somehow managed to get an introduction to Mary, and made a slightly favorable impression. So, if I ever decide to leave, Laurie's name just might be on the short list to take over the arts management for Mary in Grantville."
"You're kidding!" Marcus looked aghast. "Aren't you?"
"I hope Mary's got more sense than that." Marcus turned back to Thomas. "Enough about Laurie Haggerty. Let's talk about something important. That's a pretty long list Bitty worked out with me for the ballet."
"That it is," Thomas agreed fervently, as he examined his copy of Bitty's list.
"The bad news is that she doesn't want just straight transcriptions on some of them . . . she wants some arranging done. The good news is the only things you should have to transcribe from recordings are Intermezzo, Lemminkäinen's Return, The Swan of Tuonela, and the first half of Lemminkäinen in Tuonela, all by Sibelius. A lot of it is already available to us in sheet music form." In response to Thomas' raised eyebrows, Marcus continued, "I kept all my college text books, including the study scores we used in music history, form and analysis, and orchestration. Because of that, I have miniature full conductor's scores for Borodin's Polovtsian Dances and In the Steppes of Central Asia, Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld, and the Ravel transcription for Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, which contains the Promenade and The Great Gate of Kiev that she wants to use. They just need to be copied out in full size.
"Then for the Light Cavalry Overture by Suppé and Finlandia by Sibelius, the high school music library has transcriptions of those for band. That means we've already got the music, we just need to reverse-engineer the transcribing to take it back to the original orchestration. A couple of my sharper band kids could probably do that."
He looked to Lady Beth. "That is, if Mary's funds will extend to paying them to do it. In fact, they could be a big help in general, even for the stuff that Thomas is doing for Franz, because they could take the full scores he produces and write out the original parts for the players, maybe even copy duplicate scores."
"Sure," Lady Beth said. "I don't see why not. But since they're not doing work at the same level as Thomas, I'm not going to pay them what he's getting, either."
"Sure. That's fair." Marcus stopped, deep in thought for a moment. His eyebrows raised. "You know, it just dawned on me that for this music to be possible this year, she's going to have to raid the band for wind players, and maybe percussionists, too. If she does, those kids are going to have to be paid, and I will expect them to be paid something approaching a union scale."
Lady Beth made some notes. "How many?"
Marcus counted on his fingers for a moment. "Probably about twenty, plus or minus."
She looked at Thomas. "And how many string players was Franz hoping to recruit?"
"He said he would settle for forty-five, but he wants sixty."
Lady Beth made some more notes. She set her pen down, and looked up with a serious expression. "I'd best get a message off to Mary. That amounts to more than she planned on, especially since Johannes Fichtold left several days ago for Füssen to dicker up some violin contracts."
Marcus shrugged. "Well, it may not be that bad. Bitty said one of her kids knew someone who still had their computer, with some kind of software that might allow them to take recordings and massage them into a soundtrack for her purposes, and then dump it to cassette tapes. If that's true, then she can do it with recorded music, which would be cheaper and a whole lot easier."
"I don't know." Lady Beth shook her head. "Mary was dead set on a live orchestra."
"Well, no reason to bring it up until we know if it can be done. It does mean, though . . . " Marcus turned to Thomas again, " . . . that those four Sibelius pieces can go to the bottom of your list." He grinned at Thomas' sigh of relief. "I almost hope they can't make the recording, though. Those pieces as the backdrop for Bitty's ballet would be an outstanding concert in its own right. I'd like to hear that, wouldn't you?"
"I might get to," Lady Beth said. Both men looked at her. "Jere's been wanting me to move to Magdeburg, but I didn't want to take the kids out of school here. Well, someone's working on the idea of starting a school for girls in Magdeburg, and it looks like they want me to head it up."
Marcus whistled. "That's going to leave a hole in things here."
"Maybe so. But if I decide to go, they'll deal with it, just like they've dealt with all the other changes. I'm probably going to be traveling to Magdeburg in a few weeks to look things over and talk to people before I make up my mind. If I decide to take it, I'll be gone by the end of March, probably."
"So who will take over as Frau Simpson's voice and hand?" Thomas asked.
Lady Beth made another note. "I don't know. That's something else that will have to be worked out."
Thuringia - Late January, 1634
Isaac touched Klaus on the shoulder. "Stop here." He climbed down from the wagon and caught his bag when Hermann tossed it to him. He looked up as Reuel drew the second wagon to a stop near by. "Just wait for me here, please." Isaac waved at the nearby tavern. "It is no Green Horse, but it will do while you wait. This should not take long. I will be back in time for us to make it to Neustadt before dark." As the others began to dismount, he turned and walked down the streets of Aschenhausen.
The trip from Grantville had so far been uneventful. Klaus and Reuel had somehow arranged for courier duty to the Committees of Correspondence in Mainz and Stuttgart. As it turned out, they were both reasonably competent at driving wagons, which was a good thing, as that was a skill that none of the musicians had managed to pick up.
They had made their way through Halle, Jena, Weimar, Erfurt, Arnstadt, Wechmar, Gotha and Eisenach, as well as various small villages. At every stop they let it be known that a new orchestra was beginning in Magdeburg; one that would be the grandest orchestra in the world; one that would play the grandest music in the world. They mentioned that anyone interested needed to be in Magdeburg by 1 April, and they hinted that silver was in the offing. No one had yet jumped up and run out the door to scurry up the road, but Franz was satisfied that the word was being spread.
Now they were in Aschenhausen, and Isaac was walking down the streets he had run through as a child. When he was growing up, he had felt a pride when he looked at Aschenhausen. The houses of the important men of the town had seemed so large, so fancy with their carvings here and there and their painted doors. And the tavern had seemed so grand, had seemed to bustle all the time. Even after he had . . . left . . . his memories had still made Aschenhausen somehow seem special.
But now . . . now Isaac was walking those same streets with his stomach churning, almost six years later, having been in the wide world and seen Mainz, and Magdeburg, and even Grantville, the famous and infamous. He wondered if Aschenhausen's streets had always been this narrow, and if the houses had always been so small, and if everything had always been so . . . dingy.
He took a turn, leaving the main street—such as it was—and moved down a series of narrowing streets and alleys, until he finally stopped before a worn, unpainted door. He stood for a long time, hesitating, uncertain as to what he should do. His mind was whirling, his stomach was trying to climb up his throat. Finally, he slowly raised his hand and knocked. Shuffling steps could be heard, and the door opened to reveal an older man, stooped and gray-bearded. Knowing full well who he addressed, Isaac said, "I am seeking Herr Joachim Arst, the merchant. Are you he?"
The old man blinked. "Aye, that I am. And who might you be, young sir?" For answer, Isaac pulled one of the packages of coffee beans from his bag and handed it to him. Peering near-sightedly at the lead seal on the drawstrings of the package, the old man suddenly looked up sharply, grasped Isaac by the arm and swiftly drew him into the shop.
Holding up the package, old Joachim said, "This says you come from Don Francisco Nasi. Truth?"
"Yes, Joachim ben Eleazar. I do indeed come from that man." Isaac dug the other two packages of beans from his bag, and handed them over. The old man turned to set them on the counter of his shop, and turned back to Isaac.
"So, you are one of us. Good. I was not sure, since you wear neither the talit nor the Jew's badge." He flicked his own tassels and looked faintly disapproving, which melded into a calculating stare. "I do not think we have met, but I think I should know you." Before Isaac could respond, the old man's eyes opened wide. "It cannot be! You! Here . . . "
Isaac smiled at Joachim's surprise. "Yes, Reb Joachim. Yitzhak the stranger stands before you." It struck him that his nervousness had dissipated, once he had committed himself to action.
It was some moments before Joachim recovered his composure enough to speak. "Why have you come here? After so long?"
"It is not my doing, Reb Joachim. I do in truth serve Don Francisco, or rather, Reb Pinchas in this, and he it was who directed my steps here. I am . . . not sure of his motives, only that he has them."
Joachim snorted. "You may be certain not only that he has motives, but multiples of motives. That one has a mind so twisty that a serpent could tie itself in a knot trying to follow his thoughts." His expression was wry, but the tone of his voice was admiring. "So, for some reason he saw some advantage to sending you to the shop of the poorest merchant in Aschenhausen . . . besides bringing me a gift of coffee beans that could have been sent by any number of ways."
They stood silently for a moment, then Joachim pursed his lips and blew a burst of air. He looked up. "You have grown, young Yitzhak. Is it well with you?"
"It . . . is well, now. It was not well . . . when I left. I wandered, sore of spirit and aching of heart, and eventually ended up in Mainz, where I did indeed find the music that God put in me to desire, and I did indeed learn to play it. I found friends. But after what was said to me here, I . . . abandoned all outward sign of our people. I . . . could not bring myself to approach a congregation. And so it was until I moved to Grantville last year."
"Grantville, is it?" Joachim's eyes opened wide again. "So, you have seen that place, have you?"
"Yes, Reb Joachim. I have seen Grantville, and Magdeburg as well. And seeing Grantville, my sense of wonder awoke again, and I reasoned that if the Holy One, blessed be He, could work the miracle of that place, then perhaps He could somehow work another . . . the return of one from an exile which, if shorter than that of Babylon, was no less bitter."
"And did such happen?"
"Aye. I dared pass the doors of the Sephardic congregation in Grantville, and found that which proved to be the very balm of Gilead for my hurtful soul." As a hint of confusion passed over Joachim's face, Isaac was forcefully reminded that that passage from Jeremiah was not one that was commonly read in the synagogues. "And no less than Reb Pinchas told me with his own lips that I was welcome with the Sephardim of Grantville and Magdeburg, not just as a visitor, but as a member."
"Good." A smile appeared amidst the gray beard, and Joachim's eyes almost disappeared in the wrinkles of his face. "That is good to hear, and an answer to prayer." To Isaac's querying look, he responded, "Each day as I read the Amidah, I would also ask in my heart that The Lord of the World would remember you, keep his hand upon you, and draw you back to His chosen people. Blessed be He who gathers in the exiles."
"Amen." Isaac felt the familiar response come to his lips.