Basket with fir cones
Composer Edward Grieg spent the autumn in the woods near Bergen.
All the forests are good with their mushroom air and leaves rustling. But mountain forests near the sea are especially good. They can hear the surf. From the sea constantly causes fog, and from the abundance of moisture the moss is rampant. He hangs from the branches with green locks to the ground.
In addition, in the mountain forests live, like a bird mockingbird, a cheerful echo. It’s just waiting to pick up any sound and toss it through the rocks.
Once Grieg met in the forest a little girl with two pigtails – the daughter of a forester. She gathered fir cones into the basket.
It was autumn. If it were possible to collect all the gold
“What’s your name, girl?” asked Grieg.
“Dagny Pedersen,” the girl answered in a low voice. She answered in a low voice not from fright, but from embarrassment. She could not be frightened, because Grieg’s eyes laughed.
– That’s the trouble! said Grieg. – I have nothing to give you. I do not carry in my pocket either dolls, ribbons, or velvet hares.
“I have an old mother’s doll,” the girl answered. “She used to close her eyes. Like this!
The girl slowly closed her eyes. When she opened them again, Grieg noticed that her pupils were greenish and the leaves gleamed in them.
“And now she sleeps with her eyes open,” Dagny added sadly. “Old people have a bad dream. Grandfather also grunts all night.
“Listen, Dagny,” said Grieg, “I thought of it.” I’ll give you one interesting thing. But not now, but
Dagny even clasped her hands.
– Oh, for how long!
“You see, I need to do it again.
– And what is it?
“You’ll find out later.”
“Unless in all your life,” Dagni asked sternly, “can you make only five or six toys?” Grieg was confused.
“No, it’s not,” he said uncertainly. “I’ll do it, maybe in a few days.” But such things are not given to young children. I make gifts for adults.
“I will not break it,” Dagny said imploringly and pulled Grieg by the sleeve. “And I will not break it.” Here you will see! Grandpa has a toy boat made of glass. I erase the dust from her and never even broke the smallest piece.
“She totally confused me, this Dagny,” thought Grig with vexation and said what adults always say when they get embarrassed before the children.
– You’re still small and do not understand much. Learn patience. And now give the basket. You can hardly drag it. I’ll escort you and we’ll talk about something else.
Dagny sighed and handed Grig a basket. It really was heavy. In spruce cones there are many pitches, and therefore they weigh much more pine.
When the forester’s house appeared among the trees, Grieg said:
“Well, now you will reach it yourself, Dagny Pedersen.” In Norway, there are many girls with the same name and surname as you. What is your father’s name?
“Hagerup,” Dagny answered, and wrinkling her forehead, she asked: “Will not you come to us?” We have an embroidered tablecloth, a red cat and a glass boat. Grandpa will let you pick it up.
– Thank you. Now I do not have time. Farewell, Dagny! Grieg smoothed the girl’s hair and walked towards the sea. Dagny frowned and watched him go. She was holding the basket sideways, bumps fell out of her basket.
“I’ll write the music,” Grieg decided, “on the title page, I’ll order Dagny Pedersen, the daughter of the forester Hagerup Pedersen, when she’s eighteen years
Everything in Bergen was the same as before. Everything that could muffle sounds-carpets, curtains and soft furniture – Grig had long ago removed from the house, leaving only an old sofa that could accommodate up to a dozen guests, and Grieg did not dare to throw it away,
friends said that the composer’s house was like a lumberjack house. imagination, he could hear among these white walls of magic things – from the roar of the northern ocean that rolled waves from the haze and wind that whistled over them his wild saga, to the song of a girl lulling a rag doll.
The piano could sing about everything – about the impulse of the human spirit to the great and about love. The white and black keys, running away from Grieg’s strong fingers, yearned, laughed, thundered with storm and anger and suddenly fell silent at once.
Then in silence for a long time only one small string sounded, as if Cinderella, who was offended by her sisters, was crying.
Grigg, leaning back, listened until this last sound died down in the kitchen, where the cricket had long since settled.
It was heard that, counting the seconds with the accuracy of the metronome, water was dripping from the tap. The drops said that time does not wait and it would be necessary to hurry to do everything that is planned.
Grieg wrote music for Dagny Pedersen for more than a month.
Winter began. The mist wrapped the city in the throat. Rough steamers came from different countries and dozed at the wooden wharves, quietly snuffling the ferry.
Soon it began to snow. Grieg saw from his window how he flew obliquely, clinging to the tops of the trees.
It is impossible, of course, to convey music in words, no matter how rich our language is.
Grieg wrote about the deepest charm of girlhood and happiness.
He wrote and saw how a girl with green, shining eyes ran to meet him, gasping for joy. She hugs him by the neck and presses her hot cheek against his gray unshaven cheek “Thank you!” she says, herself not yet knowing what she is thanking him for.
“You’re like the sun,” Grieg says to her, “Like a gentle wind and early morning, you have a white flower in your heart and filled your whole being with the fragrance of spring.” “I’ve seen life.” Whatever they say about her, believe always that she’s amazing and I’m fine, I’m an old man, but I gave the youth life, work, talent, gave everything without a return, so I’m maybe even happier than you, Dagny,
you’re a white night with its mysterious light. . From your voice startled heart.
blessed be all that surrounds you, that touches you and what n ikasaeshsya you what pleases you and makes you think. “
Grieg thought and played about everything he thought. He suspected that he was being eavesdropped. He even guessed who was doing it. They were tits on a tree, sailors roaming from the port, a laundress from a neighboring house, a cricket, snow falling from the overhanging sky, and Cinderella in a darned dress.
Everyone listened in their own way.
The tits were worried. As they spun, their crackling could not drown out the piano.
Spirited sailors sat on the steps of the house and listened, sobbing. The washer unbent her back, wiped her reddened eyes with her hand, and shook her head. The cricket crawled out of the crack in the tile stove and peeked into the crack behind Grieg.
The falling snow stopped and hung in the air to listen to the ringing that streamed from the house.
And Cinderella looked, smiling, to the floor. Beside her bare feet stood crystal shoes. They flinched, colliding with each other, in response to the chords that came from Grieg’s room.
Grig valued these listeners more than elegant and polite concert attendees.
* * *
At eighteen Dagny graduated from high school.
On this occasion, my father sent her to Christiania to visit her sister Magda. Let the girl (the father considered her still a girl, although Dagny was already a slender girl, with heavy blond braids) will see how the light is arranged, how people live, and have a little fun.
Who knows what Dagny is waiting for in the future? Maybe an honest and loving, but a sparse and boring husband? Or the saleswoman’s job in a village shop? Or a service in one of the many steamer offices in Bergen?
Magda worked as a theatrical dressmaker. Her husband Nils served in the same theater as a hairdresser.
They lived in a little room under the roof of the theater. From there you could see a bay full of sea flags and a monument to Ibsen.
The steamers shouted all day to the open windows. Uncle Nils had studied their voices so much that, according to him, he knew unerringly who was buzzing – Norderney from Copenhagen, the Scottish singer from Glasgow or Jeanne d’Arc from Bordeaux.
Aunt Magda had a lot of theatrical things in her room: brocade, silk, tulle, ribbons, lace, old felt hats with black ostrich feathers, gypsy shawls, gray wigs, boots with copper spurs, swords, fans and silver shoes worn on the bend. All this had to be sewn, repaired, cleaned and ironed.
On the walls hung paintings carved from books and magazines: gentlemen of the times of Louis XIV, beauties in crinolines, knights, Russian women in sarafans, sailors and Vikings with oak wreaths on their heads.
In the room you had to climb a steep staircase. There was always a smell of paint and varnish from the gilding.
* * *
Dagny often went to the theater. It was an exciting activity. But after the performances, Dagny did not fall asleep for a long time, and even cried sometimes in her bed.
Frightened by this aunt Magda calmed down Dagny. She said that one can not blindly believe what is happening on the stage. But Uncle Nils called Magda for this “hen-hen” and said that, on the contrary, one must believe everything in the theater. Otherwise, people would not need any theaters. And Dagny believed.
But still Aunt Magda insisted on going for a change to the concert.
Niels did not argue against this. “Music,” he said, “is a mirror of genius.”
Niels liked to express himself loftily and vaguely. About Dagny he said that she looked like the first chord of overture. And Magda, in his words, had magical power over people. It was expressed that Magda sewed theatrical costumes. And who does not know that a person changes every time he puts on a new suit. That’s how it turns out that the same actor yesterday was a heinous murderer, today he became an ardent lover, tomorrow he will be a royal jester, and the day after tomorrow a national hero.
“Dagny,” screamed Aunt Magda in such cases, “shut your ears and do not listen to this terrible chatter!” He himself does not understand what he says, this attic philosopher!
It was a warm June. The white nights were standing. Concerts took place in the city park in the open air.
Dagny went to the concert together with Magda and Niels. She wanted to put on her only white dress. But Nils said that a beautiful girl should be dressed in such a way as to stand out from the surrounding situation. In general, his long speech about this was limited to the fact that in white nights one must always be in black and, conversely, in dark, glisten with white dresses.
It was impossible to argue with Nils, and Dagny wore a black dress made of silky soft velvet. The dress was brought by Magda from the dressing room.
When Dagny wore this dress, Magda agreed that Nils was probably right – there was nothing more to emphasize the severe pallor of Dagny’s face and her long, scaly braids, like this mysterious velvet.
“Look, Magda,” Uncle Nils said in a low voice, “Dagny is as good as if she goes on her first date.”
– That’s it! answered Magda. – Something I did not see around myself a crazy handsome man, when you came on the first date with me. You’re just a chatterbox. And Magda kissed Uncle Nils in the head.
The concert began after an ordinary evening shot from an old cannon in the port. A shot meant sunset.
Despite the evening, neither the conductor nor the orchestra members switched on the light bulbs over the consoles. The evening was so bright that the lanterns burning in the foliage of the lime trees were lit, evidently only to give the concert a gracious look.
Dagny first listened to symphonic music. She had a strange effect on her. All the overflows and thunder of the orchestra caused Dagni to have a lot of pictures, similar to dreams.
Then she flinched and looked up. It seemed to her that the thin man in the dress coat, announcing the program of the concert, named her name.
“Is that you who called me, Nils?” – asked Dagny’s uncle Nils, looked at him and immediately frowned.
Uncle Niels looked at Dagny, either with horror or with admiration. And just looking at her, holding her handkerchief to her mouth, Aunt Magda.
– What happened? Dagny asked. Magda grabbed her hand and whispered:
Then Dagny heard a man in a dress coat say:
“Listeners from the last rows ask me to repeat.” So, now the famous Edward Grieg musical piece will be performed dedicated to the daughter of the forester Hagerup Pedersen Dagny Pedersen on the occasion of her eighteen years old.
Dagny sighed so deeply that her chest hurt. She wanted to hold back her sigh with tears, but it did not help. Dagny bent over and covered her face with her hands.
At first she did not hear anything. Inside, the storm was stirring. Then she finally heard the shepherd’s horn sing in the early morning to him in response to hundreds of voices, scarcely shuddering, the string orchestra screeches.
The melody grew, rose, raged like a wind, rushed along the tops of trees, tore leaves, rocked the grass, beat in the face with cool sprays. Dagny felt a rush of air coming from the music, and forced herself to calm down.
Yes! It was her forest, her homeland! Its mountains, songs of horns, the noise of its sea!
Glass ships foamed water. The wind blew in their gear. It! the sound imperceptibly passed into the chime of forest bells, into the whistling of birds, tumbling in the air, in the aukane of children, in the song about the girl – in her window the beloved threw a handful of sand at dawn. Dagny heard this song in her mountains.
So, it was him! The gray-haired man who helped her bring home a basket with fir cones. It was Edward Grieg, a magician and a great musician! And she reproached him that he does not know how to work quickly.
So that’s the gift that he promised to do to her in ten years!
Dagny cried, without hiding, with tears of gratitude. By that time, music filled the entire space between the earth and the clouds hanging over the city. From the melodic waves on the clouds appeared a slight ripple. Through it the stars shone.
The music no longer sang. She called. I called for me to a country where no bitterness could cool love, where no one takes happiness from each other, where the sun burns like a crown in the hair of a fairy fairy sorceress.
In the influx of sounds suddenly arose a familiar voice. “You are happiness,” he said, “you are the brilliance of the dawn!”
The music subsided. At first slowly, then all growing, applause burst out.
Dagny got up and walked quickly to the exit from the park. Everyone looked back at her. Maybe some of the listeners came up with the idea that this girl was the one Dagny Pedersen, to whom Grieg dedicated his immortal thing.
“He died,” thought Dagny. “Why?” If you could see it! If he had appeared here! With what swiftly beating heart she would run to meet him, hug her neck, pressed her wet cheek to his cheek and say only one word:
“Thank you!” – “For what?” he would ask. “I do not know,” answered Dagny, “because you did not forget me, for your generosity, for discovering in front of me something beautiful than a man should live.”
Dagny walked along the deserted streets. She did not notice that Nils, sent by Magda, was following her, trying not to catch her eye. He swayed like a drunk, and muttered something about the miracle that happened in their little life.
The darkness of the night was still lying over the city. But in the windows, the northern dawn was already engaged in weak gilding.
Dagny went to the sea. It lay in a deep sleep, without a single splash.
Dagny clenched her hands and moaned from the vague sense of beauty of this world that she herself had not yet understood, but embraced her whole being.
“Listen, life,” Dagny said softly, “I love you.”
And she laughed, looking wide-eyed at the lights of the steamers. They swayed slowly in the clear gray water.
Niels, who stood at a distance, heard her laugh and went home. Now he was calm for Dagny. Now he knew that her life would not pass in vain.