The Adventures of Liszt and Chopin

R.I.P. Fryderyk Chopin

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Chapter 27B: Minuet & Trio

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"I haven’t ridden a horse since I was a boy…" Liszt thought as the three mounted and prepared to go to Berlin, “I never expected that these would be the circumstances under which I would ride again…”

"It’s still nighttime, Robert," Clara commented, "so wouldn’t it be best to wait until morning to begin our journey?"

"Yes, it would be best, but we have no time to consider what would be best and what would be worse. We must leave now."

~~~

It began to rain as the trio rode towards Berlin.

The only sounds Franz could hear were the horses’ hooves as they galloped through the cold mud; the only thing he could see was his own horse’s head as they pushed forward rhythmically; the only things he could feel were the hard raindrops as they soaked his coat and struck his face.

Liszt thought he could see a forest ahead…

"Clara! Robert! Which way do we turn?"

No answer.

"Robert? Clara?"

No answer.

He’d lost sight of everything save the horse’s reins which he clung so desperately onto as the trees loomed ominously close ahead. With no other option, he tried to turn the beast away from the woods, though the creature only panicked and ran into the forest.

"Stop!" Franz yanked on the reins.

The horse was whinnying in anger and beginning to rear up when the reins snapped and Liszt fell onto the unwelcoming, soggy earth.

"Clara?… Robert?…"—

"First of all, I love you and your blog <3 Second, I want to read up on composers' history/biography/etc. At this point, I'll just search the internet for info but if there are any good reading sources that you know of/recommend may I ask for them? :>"

Thank you!!

I usually like going to libraries and looking under Dewey Decimals 780-800, or for composer biographies, 920.

(If not, websites work, too! Of course, this isn’t a complete liszt, but…)

Chapter 27A: Three Minims

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So this is what Germany looks like…" Chopin thought as the others talked about their plans.

"Well," Paganini announced, "let’s save those manuscripts, shall we?"

"I suppose I’ll go first," he exclaimed, seeing as how the others were lingering around in the back. "I’ll see you two soon. Ciao!"

Chopin and Mendelssohn followed Paganini off the train and rolled onto the grassy earth. They wandered about, unable to see anything as their eyes were adjusting to the darkness.

"Frédéric… Felix…" a weak voice spoke a little distance ahead.

Mendelssohn and Chopin sprinted over, the latter nearly tripping over his coattails as he staggered across the uneven terrain. 

"Haha… How foolish!" Paganini laughed maniacally, "I should’ve thought of where to jump before doing the act itself… Ahh, well," he groaned as the others approached him.

"Niccolò… what happened?" Chopin asked.

"The train slows down at the bridge!" Paganini yelled.

"What? Niccolò, snap out of it!" Mendelssohn wailed, "what do you mean?"

"It slowed down at the bridge for several seconds. Of course, an extremely slow train is the nearest to a stationary train," he explained rationally, "so it would logically be the best moment to jump. However, the bridge is only so long. Going the speed we were proceeding at, I knew there would only be time for two people to jump safely. Felix, Frédéric, are you two alright?"

"You fool!" Mendelssohn yelled, "do you realise what your little act of heroism has done?”

"Yes, yes," Paganini chuckled, "don’t worry about me! Now," he began extracting a paper from his pocket, "this is an underground map of Berlin. You’ll need it to complete the operation."

"Underground?…" Mendelssohn and Chopin spoke in unison.

"Yes," Paganini forced a pained laugh, "there’s more to the city than you might imagine."

"Let’s go… Niccolò, do you need help getting up?" Chopin muttered nervously.

"Getting up?" Paganini asked in amusement, "Signor Chopin, you must know that even the Devil’s Violinist must face death eventually.” 

"Goodbye, my friends, & in bocca al lupo!"—

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Did I ever tell you guys that the advanced choirs in our school were supposed to perform at Carnegie Hall this spring, then stop over in Juilliard, but when the teacher asked everyone to vote, they picked a random cathedral or something in San Francisco instead

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Trinity College Library

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The Harpist & The Violinist ~ Violin & Piano of Castle Ward

"Hi there😋 Could u possibly tell me what this blog is about? The original stories of Chopin and Liszt? Or excerpts from a biography?"

Hello! The blog started off when I started writing (fictional) stories about Chopin and Liszt (as well as some other composers as side characters). Of course, although the historical background is based on fact, the stories themselves are works created from the imagination of a hopeless yet aspiring musician. No, they’re not “original stories” in that sense, and no, they’re not biographies, haha.

Anyways, besides that, whenever I travel someplace new, I try visiting musical places (concert halls, instrument sales, music museums, etc.) and taking pictures in order to capture the moment, all in the hopes that someone else will be able to appreciate it as much as I did.

Hope that helps!! ;€;

Chapter 26: Swarms of Swindlers, Mobs of Musicians

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Paganini led Mendelssohn and Chopin to the back room, handing them a new set of clothes.

"Change. Now. We don’t have much time," he explained, "our job is to reconvene with Franz, Robert, and Clara in Berlin, where the Teuflisch family handles their operation. I know it’s not exactly en route, but seeing as we don’t have much time, there’s nothing to be done about it. Furthermore—"

"Do we really need these outfits?" Chopin interrupted, "I’m sure our current ones will suffice…"

Paganini glanced over to Mendelssohn, “I thought you’d explained everything to Signor Chopin here. What’s going on?”

Sighing, Felix sat down on the wooden floor, placing his hands on his knees, and admitted, “Well, Frederic, there’s a few little… details… about this operation that I haven’t briefed you on: This Teuflisch family that you keep hearing about, they’re musical manuscript swindlers, and—”

~~~

"—the only way to stop them," Robert told Liszt, "in our opinion at least… is to infiltrate their organisation and stop this operation from the inside out."

"Are you suggesting…"

"Yes," Clara asserted, "we must go in to become little ‘musical swindlers’ ourselves."

"Have you two lost your minds? We’re great composers, famous musicians, acclaimed artists! Anybody would recognise us all at a glance…"

"No, not all of us,” the Schumanns expounded, “if what Mendelssohn relayed still holds true.”

"Parallel universes… time travel…" Liszt understood, "so it was all real after all, was it?"

"As you said, we are musicians, not scientists… In any case, time is limited," Robert admitted, walking over to the opening of the woods. Three horses were waiting there, tied to a tree. "Franz, I take it you know how to ride?"—

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I went to the Suntory Concert Hall, but I arrived there the day right after all the programs had ended for the season, so I tried sneaking in backstage but there were guards there.

Then I eventually went to the Aula Simfonia, which also didn’t have any shows for the day, but I managed to go inside quickly (!), as the door was just open for whatever reason… but a security guard came before I could get any good pictures.

[I tried]. Ahh, security guards why—

Chapter 25: Violins & Violence

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"I’m sorry that that had to be the way you and Franz would last see one another," Mendelssohn apologised, patting Chopin lightly on the shoulder.

"What…What do you mean the last time? Aren’t we all meeting up together at the dinner party you two were speaking so enthusiastically about?…” Chopin attempted to convince himself that nothing had really changed since he’d left home so long ago.

"There is no dinner party. There never was a dinner party to begin with. I apologise again for lying to you, but there was no other way you would have gone with me if Franz wasn’t convinced of the situation.”

Annoyed, Chopin raised his voice, “Are you suggesting that you not only lied to me, but you lied to Franz as well? How do I even know who to trust anymore?” 

Hearing the ruckus in the hallway, a ticket inspector poked his head out of a room and inquired, “Excuse me, gentlemen, is there something I can help you with? It’s the dead of night and I believe the other passengers are sleeping.”

"Niccolò… What on earth are you doing wearing that ridiculous getup?" Mendelssohn scoffed.

Laughing, Paganini explained, “Well, I just wanted to see if you would recognise me after all these years! Come with me, my old friend,” he put an arm over Mendelssohn’s shoulder. “Ahh, how rude of me,” Paganini extended his other hand, “You must be Signor Chopin.”

~~~

"The Teuflisch family, you say? What do they want?" Liszt wondered.

"They run a secret organisation that we just recently discovered," Clara explained. Robert continued, "This so-called ‘organisation’ is responsible for the theft of thousands of original musical manuscripts dating back from the early Baroque period until now."

"Yes," Clara sighed, "in fact, one of Robert’s pieces was taken not too long ago, proof that this family is still out there."

"I don’t see what this has to do with me… or Chopin, for that matter."

Robert chuckled, “Don’t think of yourself so highly, Franz. We simply needed more people on our crew to fight against these musical swindlers, so, ‘Why not recruit more composers?’ I thought. I suppose we should at least acknowledge you for that. Thank you.”—

Chapter 24: When the Wind Creates its Own Melody

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"This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy… absolutely insane!" Chopin thought to himself as Mendelssohn opened the door of the train and peered out into the darkness.

"It’s safe," Mendelssohn stared blankly at the two and waved his hand outside, "the train should slow down some place not far from here, and when the moment comes, we jump."

"And… what exactly is it that we are jumping from?" Chopin could not help but feel a tingle of doubt creep up his spine.

Scoffing, Mendelssohn answered, “Well, if you’re so reluctant to get off, then why don’t you just stay?”

The brakes screeched as the train slowed, but the trio simply looked around at one another indecisively. 

"Well, you said we needed to jump, no? Why don’t you go first?" Chopin suggested.

"If I go first, how can I know that you’ll follow?" Mendelssohn retorted.

"This is no time for nonsense," Liszt disclosed to himself, "but who do I believe?"

"I’m sorry, Frederic," Liszt asserted as he leaped out of the carriage.

"Franz!" Chopin shrieked as his friend disappeared from sight. A gust of wind distorted his outcry into a ghastly lament.

Preparing to jump out right after him, he felt someone holding him back. Mendelssohn’s hand was gripping his arm, but despite how much Chopin tried to free himself, the former would not surrender. The train picked up the pace and was speeding along, back at its original speed.

"Why?…" Chopin murmured in amazed disbelief.

"Didn’t Franz tell you once before, Frederic?" Mendelssohn asked, "Because the world needs to know the real meaning of music?’ remember?”

~~~

Liszt managed to stand up, though his limbs were aching and dirt was strewn all over his clothes. Brushing off particles of grass, he looked back up at the tracks, half-expecting his other two friends to follow. Yet something in him knew that they would not be joining him tonight. The wind howled cruelly and he sniffled as a cold, night breeze blew about.

Attempting to make it back up the hill so he could walk along the railroad to the next nearest city, he stopped when he heard a voice call his name from behind.

"Franz! Wait up!" two voices in desperate German alarmed him. 

It was Clara and Robert Schumann, both trudging up to him, both with expressions of fear and unease.

"Do they really dislike my music that much?” Liszt wondered to himself with amusement. Then he said aloud, “So Mendelssohn was correct in informing me that you two would be waiting for me. What happened to the dinner party, my friends?”

"There is only one party that matters tonight, Franz," Clara said with an odd but friendly familiarity, "and that is at the salon of Frau and Herr Teuflisch."

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Palau de la Música Catalana

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Almost got pick-pocketed, almost got run over by too many cars to count! A city famous for its soccer team, a city famous for its beautiful history… I’m finally back from Barcelona, and I’d love for everyone to be able to share these beautiful memories with me—

Chapter 23: Processions and Preparations

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"Our journey over the next few days will be as follows," Mendelssohn traced his finger over a crudely drawn map, "From Warsaw to Krakow, then to Vienna for a short stop. Thereafter, we’ll make our way towards Munich, Stuttgart, and finally… Paris."

Liszt pored over the route in dissatisfaction, “Felix, why not just head directly from Warsaw to Paris via Frankfurt instead of wandering all over the continent? From what I see here, your course takes too many unnecessary turns.”

"Maybe a direct passage has certain… disadvantages… Mr. Chopin, what do you think?"

Glancing over, Chopin hardly considered the former’s question as he replied, “As long as we get there eventually, and safely, I couldn’t care less.”

Liszt, with reluctance, finally agreed to Mendelssohn’s original plan, “To the station, then?”

Mendelssohn grinned, “The next train departs in an hour.”

~~~

The carriages rattled rhythmically as the three took their seats near the back of the vehicle. 

As the train continued on the tracks, Chopin looked outside, wondering if he would ever set eyes upon his homeland again. Meanwhile, Liszt could not help but question Mendelssohn’s intuition that the longer route was the better route. 

Many days passed by until the trio finally arrived in Vienna, and from there, they took another train headed for Stuttgart. 

It was nearly evening: the sky was slowly making its transformation from a blue cloudiness to the warm colours of a red and orange sunset. It seemed strange how the more pleasant the hues turned into, the colder the weather actually became. 

"It’s time," Mendelssohn suddenly announced.

"For what?" Liszt and Chopin inquired in unison.

Getting up from his seat, Mendelssohn opened the door of their cart and motioned outside, directing the latter two towards the dark hallway. Without waiting for Liszt and Chopin to follow in his footsteps, Mendelssohn crept along the narrow corridor to the nearest door. 

"Felix, why are we here?" a voice from the shadows spoke. 

Unable to make out whether it was Franz or Frederic who had whispered in the blackness, Mendelssohn responded nonetheless, “We need to get out of here. Now.”—

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