Movement III - Adagio Sostenuto Grantville - March, 1634
" . . . and after seeing and hearing Master Ingram's uncle's violin, the masters were eager to get the new 'merino' designs. They agreed to make us thirty master grade violins for 20 guilders apiece."
Johannes Fichtold was positively beaming, Franz thought. Then something in Johannes' report registered.
"Merino? Did you tell them these were merino designs?"
The other young man's face fell. "Aye. It was a slip of the tongue while I was making the initial proposal to them." His face brightened. "But, it's all right—they think the designs were made by an Italian named Merino. You should have seen the looks they gave each other."
Marla burst out laughing. Everyone, Franz included, looked at her wide-eyed as she positively howled, drumming her feet on the floor and pounding her fist on the table. No one spoke—they were all somewhat shocked—Marla just didn't act like this. Finally, she subsided into gasping, "Oh . . . oh . . . oh . . . oh, that is absolutely hilarious, totally priceless." She laughed a little more, giggled actually, brushing her hair back and wiping her eyes.
"Uh . . . Marla," Franz ventured, "I grant you that the masters of Füssen thinking the up-time designs were stolen from an Italian master is somewhat humorous, but . . . "
"Oh, come on, guys . . . can't you just see the passage in some future twentieth century music history textbook?" Marla's voice took on a dry, lecturing tone. "' In the middle of the seventeenth century arose the so-called 'Merino' refinements to the basic string orchestra instruments. It is commonly accepted that, as with so many other technological advances, this was due to the advent of Grantville in the Western European scene in the 1630's. The earliest documentation of the term is found in the guild records of Füssen in southern Germany, but by 1650 both the designs and the term were in common use throughout continental Europe, with England lagging somewhat behind. A number of very interesting rumors and theories exist as to the origin of the 'Merino' term, but it is generally accepted that it was the name of an Italian master who either initially produced the designs or from whom the designs were stolen. Periodically, an old theory is resurrected that the name has some connection to the merino breed of sheep, but no proof has ever been found, so it always retires back into the category of interesting fables.'"
Everyone in the room laughed, even Lady Beth Haygood, with Marla's voice skirling over them all. At length—a very long length—order was restored. "Yes, I think we can all take some pleasure on having played a joke on posterity," Franz said, his voice a little uneven as he tried to keep from laughing again. "But, for Johannes' sake and the sake of the joke, we must keep the secret to ourselves. No more slips of the tongue. Maestro Merino must be accorded his appropriate due." Chuckles sounded all around the conference table.
"So." Lady Beth looked up from where she was sitting beside Amber Higham, who was making notes. "Thirty master class violins at 20 guilders apiece, three guilders in advance, the balance on delivery in Magdeburg by 1 April. You did specify 1 April by the Gregorian calendar, I hope?"
"Yes, Frau Haygood. But that was really not such an issue since they use that calendar every day. It was just to make sure they did not try to claim we had expected delivery by the old calendar's date, ten days later." She nodded. Johannes continued, "All instruments produced from the merino designs by December 31, 1637, will be delivered to the Royal and Imperial Arts Council."
"You got over three years out of them!" Friedrich exclaimed. "I do not believe it! Master Hans knows some of those men, and he was skeptical that they would allow even one year."
"Yes." Johannes grinned. "Well, they quickly saw that having these designs would give them . . . what did Master Girolamo call it . . . ah, yes, a 'competitive advantage.' They might not know those words, but they know the concept. I could tell they were positively slavering to get their hands on the designs, so I held my ground. It took over a week. In the process they slandered me greatly and profanely more than once. If my brother was not one of them, I am sure they would have had things to say about my ancestry. In fact, Master Eichelberger as much as said that I was an altar boy when my parents were married." Johannes laughed. "But he took it back after the others remonstrated with him."
"A good job of negotiating," Lady Beth said. Johannes sat back, beaming. Lady Beth looked at Franz and raised her eyebrows.
"The initial part of our recruiting trip was very slow, but we had three musicians who traveled with us back from Mainz. Several more from Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Schweinfurt caught up with us on the way back. So, at the moment, we have twelve. If Josef and Rudolf have any luck, and if any numbers at all respond to the broadsides and letters sent out, we should have our minimum of forty-five players by the first week of April."
Lady Beth nodded. She waited for Amber to finish taking notes, then said, "Okay, folks. Like I told you at the beginning of the meeting, I'm leaving for Magdeburg tomorrow to stay. Amber here . . . " The pleasant woman with the gray-streaked hair smiled at them all. " . . . will be taking over the job of representing the Imperial Arts Council here in Grantville. I'll do the same in Magdeburg, in addition to my other work with the new school." She stood and signaled that the meeting was over. "I'll see most of you in Magdeburg in a few days."
They all stood as Lady Beth and Amber left. Friedrich looked at Franz. "The Gardens?"
"By all means."
They were all seated around a table in the Gardens: Franz and Marla, Friedrich and Anna, Isaac, Thomas and Leopold; all the initial group from Mainz that had gathered around Marla last year to learn about up-time music. Franz had just finished describing his final encounter with Rupert Heydrich. The revelation of Heydrich's death and the manner of it greatly shocked those who hadn't been there. Anna was absolutely ashen-faced. Friedrich, Thomas and Leopold were studies in various shades of incredulity and aghast-ness.
Marla had grasped his arm while he had haltingly related what had happened. Franz felt her shiver. On his other side, Isaac was withdrawn, with a very distant look on his face. Franz was reminded of something that had puzzled him off and on since that night.
"Isaac?" No response. "Isaac?" A little louder. That pierced Isaac's shell. He looked over at Franz. "You said something that night when the body was turned on its back and the knife was revealed, something that I did not understand. What was it?"
Isaac looked very disturbed. He took a long time to respond. Finally, he said in a low tone, "Baruch dayan emes. It means 'Blessed be the Righteous Judge.' It is . . . traditional . . . for Jews to say this when we hear of or see a death. It is a reminder of the sovereignty of God; that nothing happens outside of His awareness; that regardless of our grief, He is the King of the Universe and all things happen as He wills it. It is meant to be a comfort."
"For everything there is a season . . . " murmured Marla.
"Exactly." But Isaac still looked distressed.
After a moment, Franz said, "Was it his death that discomfits you?"
"Nay. I have seen death before."
"The manner of it?"
Franz leaned forward. "Isaac, you are as close to me as a brother. I would not see you suffering because of what was my problem. Tell me what oppresses you."
Isaac sat for a long moment, staring at his tightly clasped hands on the table top, obviously wrestling with himself. Finally, he gave a great sigh. "As you will." Another moment passed. "That night, when I realized what I had said, I well nigh choked. Of all people I knew, the passing of Heydrich was not one that would have occasioned me sadness. I understood the waste of his talent, the tragedy of his life. But after all he had done, particularly after he so forcefully rejected your attempt to reconcile, there was an element of justice to his ending.
"But then you said 'That could have been me,' and . . . " Isaac swallowed. "That statement crashed through to my heart. I saw everything that happened that night in a new light. In Heydrich's rejection of reconciliation, that could have been me. In very truth, it is me. I must reconcile with my father—all our wisdom, all our tradition calls for it—and . . . I . . . cannot." Franz waited. "It is a blight on the life of my family, on my own. And if God, in His wisdom, calls for my life as he did for poor Heydrich's . . . " Isaac swallowed again. "I have not the courage to risk rejection again. Yet if I do not, I risk blighting my family for the rest of their lives." He looked up, with a desolate expression. "I wish to go to him so strongly, but I hurt so badly . . . it tears at me like a wolf, Franz. It hurts!"
Franz laid his hand atop Isaac's trembling clenched hands. "If you truly believe that God is sovereign, that all things happen according to His will, then trust Him. He will make a way. And until He does . . . " Marla laid her hand atop his, followed by the hands of the others at the table. " . . . you have here those who will help you bear your burden, just as they helped me bear mine."
One lone tear began to slowly trickle down Isaac's cheek.
Magdeburg - Early April, 1634
Franz watched as the various groups of musicians trickled into the ballroom. First came the group from Mainz, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Schweinfurt that had returned with him from the recruiting trip, led by his friend Georg Seiler. Franz had helped Georg and his daughter find a place in a rooming house that Klaus and Reuel had sworn was clean and fairly priced. Georg was still quiet and gaunt, but seemed to be a little less despondent. Franz truly hoped that the move from Mainz would be healing for both Georg and Odelia.
Following on the heels of the first group were the various musicians that had drifted in by ones and twos and threes from various towns in Thuringia, as well as a half-dozen from one of the Jesuit collegia. Franz felt a little guilty about how many small towns had just lost their premier musicians, perhaps even their only musicians, but not enough so to tell them to return to their homes. The vision of an orchestra that drove him and his friends was a stern taskmistress. He had to take the musicians regardless of where they came from.
The final group that entered was the direct result of Josef and Rudolf's recruiting trip to Copenhagen; nineteen musicians sent from the hand of Kappellmeister Heinrich Schütz. They had arrived the day before, looking somewhat worn from the rigors of traveling so far so quickly. Master Schütz himself was not with them. He had not been able to leave with them. In any event, his itinerary had been different. Matthaüs Amsel, the leader of this group, had informed Franz that the master would first visit family in Köstritz, then would go directly to Grantville to meet with Maestro Carissimi. Only after that would he come to Magdeburg. Franz could forgive him the delay, when he saw how many musicians had come in his name.
If his count was correct, even after sending the wind players on to Grantville to study at the high school, there were sixty-two in the room right now. Franz had hoped for sixty and would have been willing to settle for forty to forty-five. He had feared that there would be fewer than thirty. They had enough! Providing, that is, that they stayed.
Franz stepped up on the platform that had been placed at one end of the room. "Your attention, please!" He pitched his voice to carry over the buzz of conversations that filled the room. The musicians turned and moved toward him. The noise began to dwindle. "Thank you, my friends, for coming to Magdeburg, for accepting the challenge to be a part of something that has never existed before—a symphony orchestra." As he spoke, Marla, Josef, Rudolf and Isaac gathered to each side of the platform.
Someone in the crowd started to speak. Franz raised his hand. "Please, all of you, let those of us in front of you speak. After that, we will have plenty of time to answer questions." He lowered his hand. "Now, I assume that you have all heard of Grantville." Heads nodded around the room. "How many of you have been in Grantville?" Perhaps a third of the men raised their hands. "How many of you have heard anything about the music of Grantville?" Over half of the hands went down.
"Well, it should not surprise you that just as Grantville contains knowledge and mechanical arts that seem amazing to us, it also contains music and instruments that are equally amazing. I and my friends . . . " Franz spread his arms to encompass them " . . . have been studying the music of the future for almost a year, now. My wife, Marla, is a Grantviller. You will find she is a surpassing musician in her own right."
There were a few frowns and some definite muttering from the crowd. "Yes, you are skeptical. I, too, had masters who taught me that women would never make superior musicians. I tell you that they were wrong. I tell you that Marla has won the approval of both Maestro Giacomo Carissimi—yes, you know that name—as well as Signor Andrea Abati, il gentilhuomo premiere of Rome." The citation of the famous castrato evoked more whispers. "Her knowledge of what music became in their time is invaluable, as it will help guide us to learn it, to digest it, to make it our own, then finally to move beyond it."
The rest of the morning was spent discussing some of the fundamental changes that the musicians would have to adapt to, including the changes in tuning and tempering that had been adopted as universal standards in the future. Marla figured prominently in those, naturally, as she had already had to shepherd Franz and friends through the same issues several months previously. The piano caused quite a sensation when Marla demonstrated its tuning. The planned discussion was diverted for quite some time as the other musicians almost mobbed around Marla to see the piano and its workings.
Finally, Franz announced a break for lunch, requesting that everyone return in two hours. While the others thundered out the door in search of taverns and inns, he turned to Marla and gestured to Isaac, Josef and Rudolf.
"Were we that loud and opinionated?" He was answered only by her silvery laugh, and winced. "I was afraid you would say that."
Heinrich Schütz, one-time Kappellmeister of the Elector of Saxony, watched with interest as his carriage rolled through the streets of Grantville. There were many strange things, including the poles with cables strung between them which served no purpose that he could see, but seemed to connect all the houses and buildings. However, it was as Josef Tuchman had said; there was no gold paving the streets of Grantville. A pity. He could have used an ingot or two. A man with a mother and two growing daughters to support could always find a use for an ingot or two of gold.
Thoughts of his family inevitably led to recollections of Magdalena, which in turn evoked the pain of her loss. Even after almost nine years, longer than they had been married, thoughts of his wife still hurt. It was an old hurt, one that perhaps no longer stabbed but was now a familiar ache.
The hurt was a little stronger, a little fresher right now, after stopping in Köstritz to see his mother and his daughters. Each of the girls, in their own way, took after their mother. Seeing them had scraped the scab off of a wound that Heinrich feared would never heal.
After Magdalena's passing, he had taken his daughters to live with their grandmother. The Elector's court at Dresden was no place for a widower to attempt the raising of two young daughters. It meant that Heinrich only got to see them a few times a year, whenever he could beg leave from Elector John George, which wasn't as often as he wanted. Regardless of whether he could come or not, Heinrich sent a purse for their support as often as he could scrape together a few coins. Lately, the Elector's pay had been as infrequent as his allowing leave, which was why Heinrich was in Grantville.
After a time, they left the houses behind, coming in view of the . . . what had Johannes called it . . . oh, yes, the high school. Lucas Amsel pulled the horse to a halt in front of the building. Schütz exited from the carriage, while Lucas jumped from the driver's seat to hold the horse's head.
They stood together looking at the building. "Master," Lucas said, "are you sure that is a school? It looks more like a warehouse to me."
Heinrich looked over at the young man fondly. His parents, as so many others did, had named their children after prominent New Testament figures. By good fortune and the grace of God, all four of their sons had survived to adulthood. As they had been named in order of birth, Lucas was the third. His oldest brother, Matthaüs, the lead violinist amongst Heinrich's musicians, was quite capable. Next oldest, Marcus, also played violin and was also numbered in Heinrich's company. Youngest brother Johan was a viola player who had joined his brothers just a few months ago, but was by no means the worst player in the ensemble.
Lucas, however, was not a musician. He was a personable young man, hard working, reasonably intelligent and handsome. By rights and all expectations he should have been as fine a musician as his brothers. Alas, he was tone deaf and had an abysmal sense of rhythm. Heinrich recalled the day that Lucas had approached him, dressed in his finest clothing and holding his hat in hand, begging for any kind of position; anything, so long as he could work with the master like his older brothers and thus feel a part of their world.
We're really sorry, but this is only available to up-to-date paid subscribers.
Our columns and editorials are free, along with a few other items, but almost all stories and all downloads are paid only.
- The Grantville Gazette Staff