Vanstein Copyright - Chapter 18
Chapter 18 – Piano Solo for Right Hand
Angela drew in a long breath and exhaled for a long time. She reflected on the three weeks she had spent concentrating with the tuner.
The days of encountering invisible walls, being tormented by fretfulness when she played and being imposed with étude that she did not wish to do. Adonis was the one who saved her from those days.
She was enthralled by the hindsight that she was able to progress so much while taking lessons from Adonis. That universal sensation and sense of pleasure reminded her of her childhood when she simply loved to play the piano and did it every day.
As a little girl, playing the piano didn’t strain her. After all, she had always been commended for her ability to play the piano.
It’s the same as back then. There’s nothing complicated about it… I always end up playing the same way I’ve practiced.
Angela’s right hand quickly reached for the keyboard, while her left hand dangled down.
“――The piece designed for the right hand, Piano Solo.”
Once her performance began, the girl’s chest was flooded with a feeling of universality that overrode her apprehension and nervousness. Although these fingers of her were still short, there was a distinct awareness that her playing techniques had risen immensely.
But surely there was more to it than that.
Pulling off this piece that was synonymous with her mother seemed to signify something more beyond demonstrating her own personal growth.
Was that to help Hardy feel some sort of change?
Was it a thank you to Mrs. Care for giving her this opportunity?
Was it her special feelings for Adonis?
Angela assembled the melody with only her right hand, with her left hand hanging down.
Her right hand soared to the heights of high notes, and the sound shook the air and fell down like a young girl’s pure laughter.
The performance carrying her feelings reflected her sentiments to inherit her mother’s will.
What was depicted there was the thrill of moving forward and a slight glimmer of melancholy.
Angela had no vivid recollection of her mother’s performance of “Piano Solo for Right Hand”. Even so, the warmth of her mother’s voice was transmitted through her fingers to the keys of Pleyel, and the tones she produced were tinged with warmth.
Throughout the practice of this piece, she often mused about what her mother’s “Piano Solo for Right Hand” would have sounded like.
Even if she could play it, she was worried that it might not be as impressive as her mother’s.
But comparing her performance to her mother’s was preposterous.
There will always be two kinds of music: good music and not-so-good music.
Then, I should perform the music I believe is good.
Hardy closed his eyes and listened.
Mrs. Care was narrowing her eyes with a smize.
And Adonis held a serious look on his face as he stared at her.
To everyone here, thank you.
After Angela finished playing “Piano Solo for the Right Hand,” she was greeted with heartfelt applause from all three of them.
＊ ＊ ＊
Once the four satisfied people left the piano room, the dinner party promptly followed.
One after another, the finest wines and lavishly presented dishes were delivered from the kitchen, spreading out across the dinner table.
Hardy was ecstatic to hear “Piano Solo for the Right Hand” for the first time, and he expressed his utmost admiration for Angela’s outstanding performance.
With this, the goal for tonight was accomplished. Angela was overjoyed and felt a sense of relief like a burden had been lifted from her shoulders.
She wondered why it is that when people feel at ease, their appetites would grow insatiable.
As the chef of the Care family originated from the neighboring country across the sea, Fillechen, the meal was naturally a course meal of Fillechen’s specialty.
While feasting on the exquisite cuisine that was served in succession, the dinner party’s focus fell on the Pleyel piano.
“This is a first for me to have tuned a Pleyel. The mechanism within is incredibly elaborate compared to other pianos. The meticulous work of the well-versed piano craftsman was a sobering experience for me when tuning it.”
“It is my first time playing a Pleyel piano too. There are only a handful of concert halls in London that own them, and you went to the trouble of importing… this piano, so you must have been very emotionally attached to it.”
The pair, who both make their living involving the piano, enthusiastically exchanged opinions about the Pleyel piano.
Mrs. Care apparently also played the piano, though her knowledge of the subject was not detailed enough to match their conversation.
“Actually, that piano was given to me by my husband’s friend as a present.”
“Eh!? You got a Pleyel as a birthday present?”
Was this a common practice of the upper class, or was it a special occasion? Angela couldn’t figure it out.
“No, no, no. It was a wedding present. When my husband’s friend, a musical artist, heard that his bride would be playing the piano, he made the effort to import it all the way from Fillechen. According to him, this is his favorite piano maker.”
“What a generous man! What’s his name?”
“You are related to him too, Angela.” Hardy joyfully joined the conversation. “The friend’s name is Novell Vanstein. He was the mentor of your mother, Merch Greenfield.”
Twenty-five years ago, the pianist arose like a comet with a major piece of music entitled “Fantasy Triumph”. At that time, music lovers were astounded by his performance and regarded him as a prodigy beyond prodigy.
Besides creating a myriad of classical masterpieces, Vanstein was also recognized as a founding father of avant-garde music such as blues, jazz, and rock. For this reason, Vanstein has been credited for paving the way for the future of music history for the next hundred years.
However, at the peak of his musical career, Vanstein abruptly disappeared.
When his disappearance took place, it was claimed that his house had been organized as if he had fled in the night, and there were no signs of robbery or any other incidents.
That sensational final twist was one of the factors that earned him his second name: virtuoso of fantasy, even in faraway lands.
The only apprentice whom Vanstein accepted was Angela’s mother, Merch Greenfield, before the loss of one of her hands.
“Have you ever met with Vanstein, Angela?” Mrs. Care was likely acquainted with Vanstein as a friend of her husband’s. She asked Angela.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think I did. I was four years old when Vanstein disappeared. I recall my mother mentioning his name on several occasions, but to… me he is no different from other prominent figures in the history of music, like Bach or Mozart.”
“After Vanstein’s disappearance, did he ever visit your mother?”
“Even my mother went missing four years later around the time I was eight years old, and my memory is so hazy that I don’t really recollect it…”
“… I guess you’re right, sorry for bringing that up.”
“Um, if Vanstein and your late husband were friends, does that mean that he was also an artist?”
As the atmosphere began to darken, Adonis returned to the initial topic.
“Well, my father was more of a mechanical maniac than an artist. He was either building or fixing steam engines with a spanner in his hand from morning till night… The steam car we used to pick you up today was also a legacy of my father’s,” Hardy brightly replied while chewing on a piece of beef.
“With the exception of the steam-powered car, the rest of the time he spent was on producing useless things. Even the steam engine flush toilets were rendered inoperable by pressurized water to the extent that it would break the walls, and the roof of a warehouse was blown off once when a balloon that floated on steam was made. Since such incomprehensible and hazardous mechanical junk are left behind as belongings of the deceased, we can’t just throw them away, and it ended up being a problem.”
Mrs. Care nostalgically caressed the wedding ring on her left ring finger.
Although she said it with a troubled look on her face, her husband was still very indispensable to her, and it must be an indelible memory… even if she wanted to forget, it would be a rather intense episode that she would not be able to leave behind.
“Don’t say that, Mom. I like tinkering with machines too, though not as much as dad. I’m planning to use my father’s steam engine as a learning tool and develop my own skills.”
Hardy cheerfully gestured with his right hand to tighten a bolt. Angela was relieved to know that he was more optimistic than she had been told.
“But then again, how did a musician and a mechanical maniac befriend each other?”
Both of the Care family members only tilted their heads at Angela’s question.
“I wonder, Mom, do you have any idea?”
“Well, I have no idea, but they were always going on and on about machines, so I guess that’s what started it all… But more importantly, I think it’s time for some cheese.”
Mrs. Care seemed to be more fascinated by the cheese than the machine.
Her eyes sparkled as her maid carried a tray with a wide variety of cheeses and she was eager to choose which one to try.
Hardy admonished his mother for her excessive appetite and reminded the maid to cut the cheese into small pieces.
It was a delectable, warm meal shared with close family and friends, causing Angela to feel happy.
Although difficult times would happen, happiness would follow as long as I kept on playing the piano.
These words, which have supported her since her days at the orphanage, were being reenacted here tonight.
If she had determined that “Piano Solo for Right Hand” was out of her league and had not played the piano, she would not have been able to experience such a blissful atmosphere.
A maid with a silver tray came to Angela as well. On the tray, sparkling and shining like gems, were the cheeses.
Angela began to earnestly choose which cheese she would like to savor.
For example, one that was called happiness.
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