anachronist_now (anachronist_now) wrote in composerslash,

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Medianoche Ch. 1 {fictionpost}

Hey guys, remember that Paganini and Liszt centric story I promised? Yeah, well, here it is.
{Crossposted to composerslash )


Chapter One

WARNING: This story contains a relationship between two people of the same gender. Don’t like, don’t read.

I don’t own Franz Liszt, Niccolo Paganini, Frederic Chopin or anyone else mentioned.

 I suppose I should start this story in the same fashion most cliché horror story authors start their magnum opus, although this is by far, not my magnum opus, and I am not, by far, a horror story author; but I am getting too far off the topic- beginning this story. So, without further ado:

It was a dark and stormy night.

The Paris streets were soaked with rain, and they gleamed a menacing white when the lightning illuminated the soot-colored sky. It was, perhaps, the worst storm of the century. The pelting rain came down in torrents strong enough to possibly maim a small child. It sounded light on the tin roof almost like the flutes or oboes in this symphony of a storm. The thunder was a timpani, striking fear and suspense in the concertgoers every time it was struck. The water flowing down the sides of the roofs and the streets were like the strings, sometimes roaring loud, or occasionally, a small tremolo part… Yes, the storm was like a symphony; one I needed to write for the instrument that could accomplish all of those ranges; the king of them all- the piano.

After this train of thought, I clamored up to my study, where my grand sat smack center of the room in all its mahogany glory. After sliding onto the bench, I lifted the cover of the piano and saw the eighty-eight keys that made up who I was.

Oh, and who am I?

I am Franz Liszt, age twenty-one. But I shall waste no time further on introductions, as the music that was running through my mind drives all other thoughts from me.

I shoved the Paganini studies I have been focusing on for six months unceremoniously to the floor, and dramatically whipped out a newly prepared sheet of staff paper from a cabinet lining the blue walls of my small study. I placed the pen that was already on the top of the piano on the music stand next to me for easier access when I began to play.

 Trill on low C to D, three measures to demonstrate the sound of thunder. Dramatic glissando to Second A, with heavy minor chords on the bass line…

I was writing, and the storm was raging, and the storm and I were one. I grinned like a madman over the piano, my hands flying across and back as the music filled the room- triumphant and diabolical. Reaching closer and closer to its climax and…

 CLANK CLANK CLANK came from the floorboards, followed by some shouting.

 “Goddamn, Liszt! Keep it down!” The old bat downstairs yelled with her cockney accent from below my feet.

 The urge to murder at that moment was very strong, the stupid woman’s clanking had derailed the train of music pouring from me, and my mind couldn’t pick up where it left off.

 After a few minutes of thinking, and listening to the now not-so-symphonious storm, I gave up and filed the piece of music I had started away in my “Unfinished” drawer, which was filling up steadily. I couldn’t get anything done in this place without complaints, so my production output steadily declined.

 After letting out a dejected sigh, I looked over to the pile on the floor.

 The Paganini Studies. The transcription of the songs written by Niccolo Paganini for the violin that I was attempting to rewrite for piano from ear. It was daunting, but in my mind it had to be done. Paganini was the virtuoso of the violin. He had truly conquered and mastered the instrument to the point where there was nothing he couldn’t do. And what did he do? He made up techniques that he had to master, and these techniques are barely feasible to the mind’s comprehension. I saw the man play in Paris, and he shocked me to no end. Such talent couldn’t possibly be matched! But someone- someone had to try! And thus, the Paganini studies were born. After the concert, I had the pleasure of meeting the great virtuoso himself, and I treated him to some drinks. Paganini was a strange person. As flamboyant as he was, he was quite different when one was alone with him.


I suppose the word is detached. He was detached from everything, as if his mind was always elsewhere. Paganini was vague, suspicious even. Some would misconceive this as being conceited and condescending. After analyzing him for a good four hours, I came to the conclusion that this was Paganini’s special form of shyness.

 Such was the admiration I had for the man, that I denounced automatically all rumors about him. Most of them were obscenely false- like the one where he manufactured his E string out of the intestines of the mistress he murdered. Most of them were religious- such as the fact that he has sold himself to the devil. No person could play an instrument like that otherwise.

 Otherwise? The word practice doesn’t come to mind? The poor man was harangued by these horrible lies. It was uncouth of society to treat a musician like that. 

I had began to sight-read the Paganini Studies quietly, barely touching the piano keys as not to cause further disturbance. I slipped into peace as I began to improvise a soft melody in the middle of one.

BANG! The thunder roared loudly, startling me, consequentially my surprise caused me to fall backwards off of my piano bench, the wind from my fall putting out the candle sitting atop the music stand, plunging the room into pitch darkness.  

I cursed my clumsiness and by way of the lightning, had found a match in which to strike in order to relight the candle, which brought a soft light back to the room. 

The halcyon period of silence before the thunder inevitably erupted again, was broken unexpectedly by a knock at my door.

I walked out of my study and into my parlor, preparing for the neighbors to be complaining or the landlord perhaps evicting me because I was too loud. I sighed in exasperation and opened the door.

“For your information, I wasn’t even being loud this tim-“

I stopped mid-sentence when I saw who exactly was at my door.

There, sopping wet, shivering, wide-eyed, and pathetically standing in my doorway…

Was Niccolo Paganini.


“Monsieur Paganini!” I exclaimed in surprise. “What on earth happened to you?”

Paganini looked at me with his same, cold eyes; but within those eyes, I saw hints of shame.

“May I come inside?” he asked, his voice shaking from the cold.

“Yes, yes of course,” I replied, cursing my rudeness. I wrapped my arm around his shoulders, and showed him into my house, closing the door with my free hand.

He stood there in silence looking at his feet for a good minute.

“Monsieur, why don’t I, um, dry you off, and perhaps prepare you a hot bath?”

Paganini nodded still strangely silent, as he followed me. Through the foyer, and into the small bath.

I noticed, once I lit the candle in the bathroom that he looked quite different from when I last saw him. He was strange then, but now…

When he appeared at the concert I went to, he came walking onto the stage in a ghost-like manner, scrutinizing the audience with his dark, shadowy eyes. The first thing I noticed about his appearance was how thin he was. He looked starved, and his height (perhaps six feet or so) did not help him either. His hands were small, but with very long, willow branch-like fingers. His face was sharp, with sideburns trailing down to his chin, a long hooked nose, and curly, shoulder-length black hair. Although he was Italian, his skin was very fair, its even tone being marred only by the slightly darker tint of his thin, grimacing lips.  

When I looked at the shaking man in my bathroom, he was much different. He appeared to have gotten thinner (if that was even possible), his hair looked unkempt and greasy, his sideburns turning into a beard, and his eyes looking haunted as haloes of black encircled beneath them. As for their color, his normally lively eyes were dull, and black. I felt pity for Paganini when I looked upon him.  His stare was more shy this time, and less distant to some degree. He looked flushed when I took a towel from the rack and began to dry his curly hair. I wrapped the towel around him, and when my eyes met his face again, the distant, suspicious eyes were back.

“I’m going to boil some water for a bath,” I stated lamely, the presence of the great violinist in my humble abode perhaps a bit daunting for me.

When I brought back the hot water, I saw Paganini looking listlessly into the small mirror above the sink, with vague disgust in his eyes. As if sensing my presence, he turned around and stared at me, into me. I hid my embarrassment well by looking down at my toes. “I have the water,” I said, my words failing me. He nodded. I poured the steaming water into the tub quickly, and made an attempt to leave the room.

“Monsieur Liszt.”

I turned around.

“Thank you for your kindness.”

This remark was strange, hearing it from Paganini, especially from his deadpan voice and distant eyes.

“Think nothing of it,” I replied, before leaving to sit by my piano and think.


Paganini was in the bathroom for a good hour or so, an hour which I spent composing short little memories while letting my thoughts drift to the people I had met so far, upon my career in Paris. Berlioz, whom I shared some sort of idle correspondence with; Monsieur Hugo, whose books I read and reread; Mme Sand, whom I often see at parties; Eugene Delacroix, who is a good friend of mine now; Frederic Chopin, whom I admire deeply, and I thank God for the pleasure of his company; and Niccolo Paganini…

“Monsieur Liszt-“

I turned around quickly upon hearing Paganini’s voice (and corresponding Italian accent) to see him standing in the doorway of my study wearing nothing but a white towel covering his chest to his mid-thighs. My face heated up when I saw his state, but I managed to cough out a “yes”.

“Do you have some spare clothes I could borrow?”

“Ah, yes, of course! I’m so sorry for not remembering earlier that yours were all wet!”

I walked eagerly to my dresser in my room, hoping Paganini didn’t notice my flushed face. From the drawers of said dresser, I produced a black turtleneck, an undershirt, some slacks, undergarments, and wool socks. Gathering the clothes in my arms, I rushed them into Paganini’s awaiting hands; him replying with a subtle “thank you”, as he disappeared once more into the bathroom.

It was then when I had a sinking premonition, that things were going to change, perhaps for the better, or perhaps for the worse; but certainly they would change. And it would all be because of one Niccolo Paganini.</lj-cut> 

 The only thing I have to say about this is: Comments are nice, and that this is the only chapter written in the first person. 

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