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The Story of a Genius   By: (1854-1934)

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Transcriber's Note: 1. Page scan source: http://www.archive.org/details/storyageniusfro00lockgoog

2. The diphthong oe is represented by [oe].

3. There are three stories included in this volume:

(a) The Story of a Genius (b) The Nobl' Zwilk (c) What Happened to Holy Saint Pancras of Evolo

THE

STORY OF A GENIUS

FROM THE GERMAN OF OSSIP SCHUBIN

ENGLISHED BY E. H. LOCKWOOD

R. F. FENNO & COMPANY: 9 and 11 E. SIXTEENTH STREET :: NEW YORK 1898

Copyright, 1898 BY R. F. FENNO & COMPANY

The Story of a Genius

The Story of a Genius

I

Monsieur Alphonse de Sterny will come to Brussels in November and conduct his Oratoria of "Satan."

This short notice in the Ind├ępendence Belge created a general sensation. The musicians shrugged, bit their lips, and sneered about the public's injustice toward home talent. The "great world," between ourselves the most unmusical "world" in the universe, very nearly stepped out of its aristocratic apathy. This is something which seldom happens to it in artistic matters, but now, for a whole week it talked nothing but de Sterny: of his octave playing a little, and of his love affairs a great deal. In autumn Brussels has so little to talk about!

Alphonse de Sterny had been in his day a great virtuoso and a social lion. Reigning belles had contended for his favor; George Sand was said to have written a book about him, nobody knew exactly which one; the fair Princess G was supposed to have taken poison on his account. But five years before the appearance of this notice in the Ind├ępendence Belge , de Sterny had suddenly withdrawn from the world. During that time he had not given any concerts, nor had he produced any new piano pieces, in his well known style, paraphrases and fantasies on favorite airs.

Now, for the first in that long interval his name emerged, and in connection with an Oratorio!

De Sterny and an Oratorio!

The world found that a little odd. The artists thought it a great joke.

II

It is November fifth, the day on which the first rehearsal of "Satan" is to be held, under the composer's own direction.

In the concert hall of the "Grand Harmonic" the performers are already assembled. In honor of the distinguished guest half a dozen more gas jets are burning than is usual at rehearsals, yet the large hall with its dark auditorium and the dim flickering light on its stage, has a desolate, ghostly air. A smell of gas, dust and moist cloth pervades the atmosphere.

A grey rime of congealed mist clings to and trickles down the clothes of the latest arrivals. One sees within the hall how bad the weather must be without. The lusty male chorus, with their pear shaped Flemish faces, their picturesquely soiled linen, and their luxuriant growth of hair, knock off the clay from their boots and turn down the legs of their trousers. The disheveled female chorus, on whose shoulders the locks are hanging out of curl, complain of indisposition, and exchange cough lozenges. The members of the orchestra work away sulkily on their instruments. Across the dissonance of the thrilling fiddles darts the sharp sound of a string that breaks.

Two dilettanti have slipped in by favor. One is a young piano teacher of German extraction, who raves about the music of the future. The other is an amateur, well known in Brussels by the nickname of "l'ami de Rossini."

The instruments are tuned; here and there a violin practices a scale... Continue reading book >>




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