Excerpt: Horsehair, Mettle & Would

     Thrust upon me, it was. I had vented my frustration with Henry for not running interference for me, as was his custom, leaving him, no doubt, with a substantial need for release after I left the townhouse. But, knowing my Aunt Hermione, he was overmatched and I could not berate her, as she was already on a plane to London. Nor could I fault him for the excessive strength of her personality, for no one had ever assaulted her ramparts and come away unscathed.At the very least I would owe him a long weekend off for my intemperance, and it was very likely my single malts and Cuban cigars would be noticeably reduced during my evening’s absence, and deservedly so.
     But, for now, I was in the humid concert hall, ensconced in my seat directly in front of the stage, draped like a penguin and trying not to show my vexation, which permeated my very core.
     This evening’s ‘menu’ was to hear a few young musicians wreak havoc on several choice pieces of music, and none had so far passed through the hands of the young performers unmolested, some more violently than others. I was usually quite open to this sort of event, for I loved the classics, but this night I was definitely out of sorts, and the preceding offerings had done nothing to improve my countenance.
     Having already witnessed the rape of Saint-Saen’s Rondo Capriccioso, we then suffered through the complete pillaging of Debussy’s La fille aux cheveux de lin - to such an extent portions of it were left to the imagination of the audience. We were then treated to the Allegro Molto Appassionato of Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra Opus 64, which was massacred by a young girl, followed immediately by a boy who tore up the Andante as if he held a rapier in his fist instead of a bow.

     To be succinct, my nerves were frayed, and my favorite portion of Mendelssohn’s beautiful concerto, the Allegretto non Troppo, was next on the program. I could only wonder what atrocity would be committed in the name of higher musical education, funded by our family trust. It was for charity and if this torture was to get me to write a check, then I was more than ready to do so, if they would only let me leave before the ink dried.

     I saw the top of a head of wavy blond hair approaching through the seated musicians, though I could not make out a face, until the figure neared the front of the stage. A boy, of about fourteen years, stepped trepidatiously to the position on which his predecessors had stood, and where he dutifully lifted his violin to his slender shoulder and poised his bow. His face was so androgynous it was only his costume which provided some evidence of his gender, although because he had moved so gracefully even that was suspect. His shoulder-length hair fell forward, almost covering his face, as he waited for his moment to begin.