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The Forgotten

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An orchestra is playing in the distance; sweet melodies fill the air as they warm up for their afternoon performance in the park. As the bell tower chimed twelve, a tall, thin figure in a white dress coat with two “tails” on the back tip, as if imitating a penguin that cannot fly, combs his frizzy red hair back with his hand. With a long, narrow rod in his right hand, he stands up on a small platform at the front of the stage while attentive listeners settling down on the grass behind him. There’s an awkward silence before the man raises both hands, and start motioning for each instrument to play. Before long, music begins to fill the quiet, refined air again. His hands go even higher, lower, making even deeper side-to-side movements than the previous command. Soon, an unheard of -fiery, intense version of Beethoven’s fifth symphony shook the ground.

As the sound escalates with energy, people begin to leave their seats in dismay. Beneath a tree, two shady men dressed in black suits look quite angered by the outrageous performance.

“Look at him,” snickered the man to the left of the tree in disgust, “making a fool out of himself as if he wasn’t completely insane already.”

The older man only smiled with a sort of wickedness at his partner’s remark. “He’s just playing reformer. I can assure you, Mr. Baroque will not be a concern any longer. Our influence is superior. It’s already engraved into these people’s minds.”

The men leave with the growing crowd, moving further away from the afternoon park music. Eventually, the musicians in the orchestra realize the growing patches of green where their audience members should have been. As the musical composition dragged on, they started to doubt the way they were playing, and, gradually, also their faith in the conductor leading them into this state of hesitation. If people were leaving before the song could even finish, then it must have been a sign that there wasn’t any need to drag the performance on any longer. They stopped playing completely, yet the conductor, the man in white with the wild red hair, kept on swinging his wand to and fro with his eyes closed as if trying to feel the sounds of the absent instruments through his fingers. One of the younger string musicians at the front of the group gathered up the courage to speak aloud and break the silence.

“Mr. Baroque, I think it’s best if we stop here.” There wasn’t any response. The violin player asked again: “Mr. Baroque?” There still wasn’t any response, only waves of deeps and lows from his rod. It was then that the young violinist finally realized that this man was deaf. He could not hear, yet he still had the ability to create music. It astonished the young musician who finally decided to nudge the “penguin” man’s shoulder. Coming back to reality, Mr. Baroque now realized that the musicians stopped playing and that the audience had disappeared altogether.

Later on that day, the manager of the park’s outdoor stage told Baroque that he wouldn’t have to come to tomorrow’s performance. There was a new conductor coming in from a locally respected music association. Baroque’s bottled up angers and frustrations erupted inside. He didn’t understand the modern interest in the boring, nonchalant ways of playing today’s instruments, but rather had strongly thought that as musicians: we are responsible to bring the simple notes on paper to “life” and not just play tunes as they are on the sheet.

Baroque storms down the stage, enraged after his conversation with the manager. At the bottom of the staircase, he sees his close friend, Frédéric who was watching his performance, waiting for him.

Frédéric attempts to console Baroque’s angry behavior as they walk down to the street from the park. “Don’t you understand? Society is not yet ready for a change. It’s not time yet.”

“Then when will it be the right time?!” yelled Baroque in fury, but then he realized his mistake and lowered his tone: “I haven’t got the time. Today, I didn’t hear the music stop playing at the park, Frédéric. You tell me if that’s even right, then tell me if it’s even right that these people are still not ready to move on from what they call refined music.”

Frédéric looked away in shame, and only muttered “You saw what happened today, it can’t be helped.”

“Then I’ll change it myself, this kind of music just isn’t right and you know that, too. Don’t try to hide it.” With that last remark still lingering in the air, Baroque walked away. That was the last time Frédéric ever heard of Baroque.

It seemed as if time was slowly passing by, without a care. Big news in the arts department finally came one day. The front page headlines stated in fancy block letters: “Musical Society Funded by Rich Benefactor of Over a Billion Dollars to Preserve Modest Music.” No one even cared to look at the dull, gray, small article at the side bar on the back of the edition where it stated: “Ludwig Baroque: Gifted Musician Gone Deaf.” This was the true bitter reality behind the revolutionary words he spoke of in the past. This was society at a stand still.



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