The story is based on the philosophy of Serenus Tseitblom. Born in 1883, he graduated from the gymnasium of the town of Kaisersaherna, then the university, becomes a teacher of classical languages and acquires a family.
Adrian Leverkun is two years younger. Early childhood he spends in the parental estate, near Kaisersaherna. The entire way of life of the family, in which two more children, embodies respectability and a strong commitment to tradition.
In Adrian early ability to science is manifested, and it is given to the gymnasium. In the city, he lives in the house of his uncle, who keeps a store of musical instruments. Despite his brilliant academic achievements, the boy is distinguished by a somewhat arrogant and secretive disposition and loves loneliness over the years.
At the age of fourteen, Adrian first shows interest in music and, on the advice of his uncle, begins to take lessons from musician Wendel Krechmar. He, despite a strong stammer, reads fascinating public lectures on the theory and history of music and teaches young people a subtle musical taste.
At the end of the gymnasium, Adrian Leverkun studies theology at the University of Halle, where he and Tzeitblom. Among the professors there are a lot of interesting people: thus, the teacher of the psychology of religion Shlepfus sets out to his students the theory of the real presence of magic and demonism in human life. Observing Adrian in the society of peers, Tseitblom more and more convinced of the uncommon nature of his nature.
Leverkun continues to keep in touch with Krechmar and, when invited to the conservatory in Leipzig, moves, too. He is disappointed in theology and is now studying philosophy, but he increasingly gravitates toward music. However Krechmar believes that the atmosphere of such an educational institution as a conservatory, for his talent can be disastrous. On the day of his arrival in Leipzig Adriana instead of a tavern is taken to a brothel. A girl with almond-shaped eyes approaches the alien debauchery and tries to pat her cheek; he rushes away. Since then, her image does not leave him, but a year passes before the young man decides to find it. He has to go after her to Bratislava, but when Adrian finally finds a girl, she warns him that she is sick with syphilis; nevertheless he insists on intimacy. Returning to Leipzig, Adrian resumes classes, but soon it turns out to be forced to see a doctor. Without finishing the treatment to the end, the doctor suddenly dies. The attempt to find another doctor also ends unsuccessfully: the doctor is arrested. More young man decides not to be treated.
He writes with enthusiasm. The most significant of his works of that period is the cycle of songs on the poems of the romantic poet Brentano. In Leipzig, Leverkun reduces the acquaintance with the poet and translator Shildknap, who is persuaded to compose an operatic libretto based on Shakespeare’s play “The Fruitless Efforts of Love.”
In 1910, Krechmar received the post of chief conductor of the Lubeck Theater, and Leverkun moved to Munich, where he rented a room from the widow of the senator Rodde and her two adult daughters, Inesa and Clarissa. The house regularly hosts parties, and among Leverkun’s new acquaintances there are many artistic public, in particular the talented young violinist Rudolf Schwerdtfeger. He persistently searches for Adrian’s friendship and even asks to write a violin concert for him. Soon, Schildknap moves to Munich.
Nowhere finding peace, Leverkun goes to Italy together with Schildknap. They spend the hot summer in the mountain village of Palestrina. There he is visited by his wife Tseitblom. Adrian works a lot on opera, and Tseitblom finds his music extremely amazing and innovative.
Here with Leverkun there is an episode, a detailed description of which much later finds in his music notebook Serenus Zeitblom. He himself is the devil and announces his involvement in the secret illness of Adrian and tireless attention to his fate. Satan preaches to Leverkun an outstanding role in the culture of the nation, the role of the herald of a new era, which he called “the era of modern barbarism.” The devil states that, having deliberately infected with a bad disease, Adrian made a deal with the forces of evil, since then time has... passed for him, and in twenty-four years Satan will call him to him. But there is one condition: Leverkun must forever give up love.
In the fall of 1912, friends returned from Italy, and Adrian rented a room in the Shvegeshtiley estate, near Munich, which he noticed even earlier, during his country walks: this place is surprisingly like the farm of his parents. Here Munich friends and acquaintances begin to visit him.
Having finished the opera, Leverkun again takes a great interest in composing the vocal pieces. Because of their innovation, they do not meet the recognition of the general public, but they are performed in many German philharmonic societies and bring the author fame. In 1914 he wrote a symphony “Miracles of the Universe”. The outbreak of the world war, Leverkun does not affect, he continues to live in the house Shvegehtiley and still works a lot.
Инеса Родде In the meantime marries professor on a surname Institoris though burns from unspoken love to Швердтфегеру in what itself admits to the author. Soon she comes into contact with the violinist, tormented, however, by the consciousness of the inevitability of the rupture. Her sister Clarissa, too, leaves her home in order to completely devote herself to the scene, and the aging senator Rodde moves to Pfeiffer and settles near Leverkun, who at this time already takes over the oratorio “Apocalypse.” He conceives his demonic music to show humanity the trait to which it is approaching.
In the spring of 1922, Clarissa Rodde returned to Pfeifferetg. After experiencing a creative collapse and the collapse of hopes for personal happiness, she ends up scoring with life, drinking poison.
Leverkun finally hears the requests of Schwerdtfeger and dedicates to him a concert that is noisy. Re-run it takes place in Zurich, where Adrian and Rudolph get acquainted with theatrical artist Marie Godet. A few months later she comes to Munich, and in a few days the violinist asks Leverkun to woo him. He reluctantly agrees and admits that he himself is a little in love. Two days later, everyone already knows about Rudolph’s engagement with Marie. The wedding should take place in Paris, where the violinist has a new contract. But on the way from a farewell concert in Munich he meets death by the hand of Inesa Rodde, who in a fit of jealousy shoots him right in the tram. A year after the tragedy, Apocalypse is finally performed publicly. The concert takes place with sensational success, but the author is not present because of great spiritual depression.
In the summer of 1928 Lewerkun was sent to Pfeiffering to visit his younger nephew, the five-year-old Nepomuk Schneidewein. Adrian with all his heart attached to a charming and meek child, whose closeness is almost the lightest band in his life. But two months later the boy falls ill with meningitis and in a few days dies in torment. Doctors are powerless.
The next two years become for Leverkun for years of intense creative activity: he writes his cantata. In May 1930 he invited friends and acquaintances to listen to his new work. There are about thirty guests, and then he confesses that all that he has created over the past twenty-four years is the harvest of Satan. His involuntary attempts to violate the devil’s prohibition of love lead to the death of all who are targeted by his affection, which is why he considers himself not only a sinner, but also a murderer. Shocked, many leave.
Leverkun began to play his piano on the piano, but suddenly falls to the floor, and when he regains consciousness, signs of insanity begin to appear. After three months of treatment in the clinic, mothers are allowed to take him home, and she cares for him, like a small child, for the rest of the day. When in 1935 Tseitblom comes to congratulate a friend on his fiftieth birthday, he does not recognize him, and five years later the brilliant composer dies.
The narrative is interspersed with authorial digressions about contemporary Germany, full of dramatic discourse about the tragic fate of the “monster state”, about the inevitable collapse of the nation, who decided to put itself above the world; the author curses the power that has ruined his own people under the slogans of his prosperity.