A tale of mad science in six movements, with coda
© E.O. Costello, 2008
CODA: Con dolore
The Sponsor’s Booth is ideal for watching a broadcast. It overlooks the stage, allowing you to see everything, and yet the facilities inside allow you to hear things just as the audience is hearing them.
Strictly speaking, I am not the sponsor, but there were few who would question my right to be here.
The young femmefur who sits there alone on the darkened stage is, more’s the pity, not my own discovery. Senor de Ciervos has that honour, though that is indeed what I pay him for, as head of the Music Department of Mirror Broadcasting.
Even if the vast majority of the audience are in no position to appreciate it, I think the lighting on stage is quite striking. Completely dark, save for a muted spotlight that shines on her head-fur, bent over the keys. You can just catch a glimpse of her necklace against her dress, there. Beautiful, what you would hope any soloist would be, with a slight hint of mystery and melancholy.
A look of studious concentration. Closed-eyed, too, not that is matters, for there is no sheet music in front of her. A most unusual quirk, but given that I’ve seen conductors use their paws and not their batons, I suppose not unique.
The audience, as in all her appearances, is rapt. Usually, there is some inconsiderate fur who insists on coughing or rattling his programme. But they never fail to be respectful to her, to allow the music to speak, uninterrupted.
It is the last piece, and she closes this performance as she does all others. A beautiful and haunting melody, which is extremely difficult to play, I’m told. There are no less than three separate leitmotifs, which gracefully twirl around each other, repeating themselves, but in very subtle variations. And all come to a close together.
A long pause, and then the audience response. A warm, sustained wave of applause, and richly deserved, too. I wonder if she hears it. Her paws are in her lap, and she’s so sad. She should be triumphant.
Hmm. Bang on time, too. Here’s the announcer.
“That was ‘Alpha and Omega,’ as performed by its author, Alatheia Hunter. And that concludes this week’s broadcast of the ‘The Composition Room,’ brought to you each week at this time by Pan-Nimitz Airways, the Wings of Friendship, with non-stop flights from the Spontoons to Honolulu and San Francisco, and connecting flights to Tillamooka, Rain Island, the Gilbert & Sullivans, and other Pacific destinations. For complete itineraries, please see your travel agent, or telegraph Pan-Nimitz Airways. I am your announcer, Walter Reimer. Thank you for joining us in ‘The Composition Room.’ This has been a production of radio station L-Y-R-C, Casino Island. We return you now to the studio. Good evening.”
“You are misty-eyed, Carlos.”
“Si, es veridad, Senor Crane. Beautiful music always moves me.”
“And her signature tune especially.”
“But of course. How could any fur have the cold heart enough to resist a melody that are joined together, at start and the ending, like the letters of it namesake, in the manner that is…err…that is…Diablo, what is it, this word that I am seeking?”
“Ah! Si! That is precisely the word Carlos de Ciervos seek. Compelling!”
New York, New York
November 21-December 2, 2008