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The Duke's command (1) Story of George Frederick Handel [The Duke's command]

The Duke's command (1)

A little past midnight, a small figure carrying a single candle began to climb the attic stairs.

It was so dark that the boy, George Frederick, could see only a few steps ahead.
Finally he reached the top.

Hearing a noise, he stood still for a moment, trembling.
" Oh, I hope Papa didn't hear anything. " he whispered.
But it was only a mouse.

He walked to a heavy oak desk.
Placing the candle to one side, he carefully lifted the blanket which covered a large object on the desk.

It was his clavichord ! Papa still hadn't discovered his secret !


Eagerly he sat down at the little pianolike instrument and ran his fingers up and down the keys.

Then he played a few tinkling chords, finally, he settled down to practice the scales.
His fingers flew up and down with grace and ease.

George Frederick didn't mind practicing on a clavichord that was so short and small it didn't have legs, but sat on top of the desk instead.

The important thing was that he could play it and try out his own melodies.
It was wonderful !

Each night, after everyone in the large house-hold was asleep, George Frederick would go to the attic.
Nobody could hear him because the walls and floors were so thick, and the sounds from clavichord so soft. 

※ George Frederick handel 作曲家 

ヘンゼルとグレーテルを出そうと思い探しましたら、なぜかヘンデルが出てきたのですね。クリスマスといえば、messiah の曲ということで。

The Duke's command (2) [The Duke's command]

The Duke's command (2)

His mother knew he loved music.
In fact, she had helped him smuggle the clavichord the house.

But his father !
That was a different story.

He would not hear of his son's studying music.
In Germany of 1692, most musicians were poor wanderers who roamed the streets looking for work.

Of course, Kings and princes and dukes had their own court musicians, but it was very difficult to find a nobleman who would pay for a boy's lessons.

George Frederick's father was a barber, and proud of his work.
He had a good house, servants, and enough money to live comfortably.

He wanted George Frederick to be a barber too, or maybe even a lawyer.
These were respected careers.

But music ? Never !

And so george Frederick continued to practice in secret.

One night he was so anxious to get to the attic that he stumbled on the steps.

Down in the master bedroom, his father sat up in bed with a start.
" What was that ? " he asked himself.
" It sounds as if it's coming from upstairs, but who could be there in the middle of the night ? "


The duke's command (3) [The Duke's command]

The duke's command (3)

He lighted a candle and went to the attic.
He was surprised to hear soft, tinky music, and to see the pale, wavering flicker of a candle.

" Who is there ? " he boomed.

The music stopped immediately, and a scared, small voice answered,
" It is I, George Frederick. "

His father stormed in and confronted his son.
" What is the meaning of this ? Why aren't you in bed ? "

" I know I should be, Papa, butー"

" Then get to bed. And what is this clavichord doing here ? "

" I need to practice on, Papa. "

" Practice ! Well, we shall see !
I forbid you to come up here again, or ever mention music in my presence.
This is final ! "

Papa's word was law, and George Frederick dared not argue with him.
But her still played the clavichord, making very sure Papa was out of the house when he did.

He worked so hard, and did so well, the whole familyーexcept Papa, of courseーwished there were some way that he could take lessons.


The Duke's command (4) [The Duke's command]

The Duke's command (4)

The one place where George Frederick could listen to music without making Papa angry was in church.

He would watch in wonder as the organist's hands skipped from one keyboard to another.
And he choir !

He had listened with such interest that he knew all the parts by heart.

One day his father decided to visit a relative who worked for Duke of Saxony.

George Frederick knew that the duke had his own musicians a d his own church organist.

The boy begged to be taken along, but papa refused.
The more George Frederick pleaded, the more stubborn papa became.

" Absolutely not ! " he thundered.
" You will only be in the way. "

There was no changing his mind, but George Frederick decided to follow papa !
He hid in the bushes by the side of the road.

As the carriage passed by, he jumped up and ran after it.
He tried his best to keep up the pace, but the hordses were too awift.

He ran until he was too tired to go a step farther.
His legs gave way, and down he slumped.

The coachman chanced to see him fall, and stopped the horses at once.
Papa leaning out to see what had happened, was very upset at the sight of his son.

After being helped into a carriage, George Frederick promised to be ever so good if only he could remain.

Papa soon gave in.


The Duke's command (5) [The Duke's command]

The Duke's command (5)

The next morning they arrived at the duke's palace.

It was more magnificent than George Frederick had ever i,agined ; and there were so many rooms that he soon lost his way.z

Suddenly he saw something that made him stop short.

He was standing at the door to the duke's small chapel.
There, at the fsr end of the room, was an enormous organ, just like the one in church.
It had many tall pipes and three keybords.

George  Frederick had never touched an organ before, but he knew he could play it, for he had watched the church organist very carefully every Sunday.

He arched to touch it, but he was afraid someone would hear him.
What would Papa do to him if he were caught ?
Oh, how he wanted to play that organ !

He looked around the room to make sure it was empty.
Then he checked the hall, but no one was near.
He would play very quitely, he thought,and then hurry away.

George Frederick slipped onto the bench.
He stretched his legs way down and tried to pedal.
He reached up and touched a key.

A lovely sound came forth.
He touched another, and another.
he tried a scale.
Next he played one of his own melodies.

It was thrilling.
He started playing louder.
The music was so marvelous he forgot where he was, aware of nothing but the rich tones of the organ.    


The Duke's command (6) [The Duke's command]

The Duke's command (6)

Suddenly a shadow fell across the keyboard.

A hand reached out and touched his shoulder.

The boy leaped up in terror.

He tried to flee, but the hand held him tightly.
His heart was beating fast as he turned to face an angry Papa.

To his amazement, it was not his father at all.

There, in a beautiful satin suit and powdered wig, stood a strange man.
The Duke himself !

The great man took George Frederick' s hands in his own and smiled.
" You play very well indeed, my boy, " said the duke.
" Tell me, who are you ? "

Just then Papa burst into the room.
He, too, had heard the organ and guessed it was George Frederick.

Upon seeing the duke, he stopped short.
" Your Excellency ! " he cried, " please forgive my son. This will never happen again. "

The duke turned to Papa.
" Ah,but I hope it does. Your boy is very talented. Who is his teacher ? "

" Teacher ! " sputtered Papa.
" He has no teacher. He is only seven, and he is going to be a lawyer, or a barber like me. "


The Duke's command (7 完) [The Duke's command]

The Duke's command (7 完)

" Let your son be a lawyer if you wish, but let him study music, too, " replied duke.
" He was born with a great gift, and you must not let it go to waste. "

With that, the duke took out a large purse and stuffed many gold coins into the boy's pockets.
" That is for the best teacher you can find, " he said.
" Study well, and always obey your father. "

Then he turned and left the room.

Tears of joy streamed down George Frederick's face.
He stared at his father, and his father at him.
They were too shaken to say anything for a few moments.

Then the boy rushed into his father's arms.

" Well, George Frederick, " smiled Papa.
"a deke's request is our command. You shall have your music lessons, after all.
But mind !
You had better be very good at them. "

" Oh, I will ! " cried the boy.
" I'll be the best in the world ! "

George Frederick Hansel did become a great musician.
His most famous work、the messiah, is often heard during the Christmas season.

(7/7 完)

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