Facing the Music (Part 2)
Part 3 coming shortly. Meanwhile, try another illustrated story here.
Read Facing the Music (Part 1) here
Unlike Angie, who had just left the Music Room weeping copiously and massaging her backside, Alexia was talented - almost too gifted, given her irreverent sense of humour. She easily picked up the pieces which Mr Delius set her, but she couldn't resist rendering them in jazz form. This infuriated Mr Delius, who was a strict traditionalist. Mozart was Mozart, Beethoven was Beethoven, Liszt was Liszt: none of them deserved to be played as though they had written tunes for the South Bay Stompers. He had warned Alexia before to pay the required homage to the great masters: her response was more honky-tonk. Last week he had been so exasperated that he'd given her six with the same three-tongued tawse with which he'd just lashed Angie.
It seemed to have had little effect. This week, he had told Alexia to practise Brahm's Piano Concerto because she would be playing the piece at the school's end-of-term concert, in front of all the staff, pupils, and parents. As Alexia took her seat at the piano stool, Mr Delius steeled himself. He nodded to her.
"Ready, Alexia? Now let's have no more of your previous nonsense. I want to hear this as Mr Brahms himself would have wished to hear it."
Alexia gave him a straight-laced smile and placed her hands on the keys. To Mr Delius' delight, the Master's familiar music rang harmoniously from the piano. He closed his eyes with pleasure, humming softly and beating time to the great work.
About two minutes into the piece, it happened.
There was a brief pause, a jangle as Alexia's fingers ran along the keys from left to right, and then both hands plunged down. The Piano Concerto was transformed into a writhing rock number.
If Brahms himself had started spinning in his grave, it was scarcely more than the effect which Alexia's dancing fingers produced on Mr Delius. He was beside himself. He leapt up, slamming down the lid of the piano (almost catching Alexia's fingers as he did so).
"How dare you!" he yelled, puce with rage. "How dare you insult the greatest piano composer of all time! You'll pay for this!"
Alexia grinned back at him, her hands racing up and down the scale. She grinned until she saw him jerk open the door of the cupboard in which the sheet music was kept, but the grin faded when she saw what he pulled out. It wasn't a Brahms score. It was a very whippy-looking cane.
Five minutes later, when her bare cheeks had danced not so much to the music of time as to the cadence of a furiously-wielded length of rattan, Alexia wondered whether a more prudent treatment of classical music might be in order in the future.