Reinvigorated by the joy that she has finally agreed, Nîtirann traversed the park hopping. Filled as he was with enthusiasm he decided to start composing at once.
No, no, no. He has been sitting there for hours to try to catch the ’Perfect Tune’ as he nicknamed it for himself. Better to do something else, he thought. So he picked up the partition of his exam piece. But his thoughts were still revolving around the other one…He wanted something truly special, something which had nothing to do with his earlier compositions; no proportionate measures no elaborately composed, refined part-leading. It must be free, like aaaaa… like a what? A folk song.
- Well, my mother has told me about of aannins. These are songs for two or more voices and have no established rhythm. They are sung usually according to the rhythm of speech. –he remembered her explaining. – Therefore, those who perform it muust be very good aat taking over each other’s pace.
He flew through the sheet containing his exam piece, then he swept it away, taking out a freshly pressed parchment from the carved ebony box (a picture of a seagull was etched into the lid) he kept them in. He dipped his quill into the ink and carefully lined the paper with the help of a rule. Once finished with this, he solemnly prepared to start composing again. However, to his greatest surprise there was no overflow of inspiration as usual. For a while he was only sitting, anxiously chewing his quill, then he kicked off his chair from the table and strode out of the room. He rushed out into the careless yellow-green of the park and sat down under the hemlock tree. He closed his eyes and listened,as hard as he could. After a while he felt pain building up behind his temples because of the exertion such a concentration required. Tears welled up in his eyes. And then he heard it, faint as it was like the buzz of a tubercolosed skeeter. It was something completely new and as he examined it and tried to unstitch it to its elements he almost forgot about the emptiness.
It went so differently from completing his other works. He usually wrote his pieces easily, at one run, but now he was progressing with a painstaking effort, in small pieces, often only jotting down one or two notes.
And there seemed to be some other difficulties, too.
- I know it’s hard but please try not to be carried away that much by the tune. However, don’t draw on me in giving the rhythm either for it will cause you trouble when you’ll take the lead. – she chided him for God knows how many times with a lenient smile.
- All right, all right. I am…. you know… I am…
- …afraid of getting a sound false, are you? – she laughed with childish innocence, her teeth sparkling in the sun. – Don’t be. Just let your voice fly aas my mother used to say… we might even try something else. I’ll begin. Just try to join with aany tune thaat comes into your mind, raight?
He seemed to have got it finally right. The two voices intertwined, and for a short while the bass of the wasps became rich and ripe and the skeeters’ drones hummed softly and the birds’ whistling sounded bright and cheerful. He was a falcon now, able to trace the gulls’ flight wherever they take their ways… Half scared, half astonished by the impression of measureless harmony and freedom he became silent.
More and more rehearsals followed, with the periods of this gliding feeling becoming longer time to time. It seemed that they switched roles as the festival was looming. Now Nîtirann was becoming more enthusisatic day by day looking forward to the challenge while Ellîmin seemed to be even more anxious. And the time has come.
They were standing near the backstage stairs their performance being the next. Ellîmin started to mount the stairs. Then all of a sudden she turned back, flung her arms around Nîtirann’s waist and hugged him fiercely. He held her tight.
- I’m sorry, I’m just so aanxious. – she pleaded as they parted.
- Never mind, I liked it. – he beamed at her.
So they stood there, against hundreds of expectant people. She was reeling from the mass of onlookers, so she closed her eyes and began. She felt the air freeze with amazement. Nîtirann listened intently as if he had been preparing for composing. After so much joint work and rehearsals he was still hunting for the answer what made this one piece so different. Now he had to join in, his voice overshadowing hers. Their songs tore into the sky like the wings of two racing falcons. Escaping from the falconer’s fist they were flying and scouting the land for prey after their own whim. He added some chords on the harp with a sure hand to the flow of music concluding the piece with a soft major third. He was just sitting there for a while, insensitively to the events around. Then all the sensations of reality broke upon him. Clapping hands. Enthusiastic cries. And a smile. A faint smile on Alnawen’s face. This was the old master’s only comment. And all of a sudden he realised that Ellîmin was no solution, only the way leading to it. The way to himself.
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