Possible harmonic combinations competed in the composer’s mind, his fingers roaming yellowing piano keys. Extracting a pen from an inkwell, he sang, scribbling his ideas down at a table covered with manuscript paper.
He played each part – flute, violin, viola and cello, and combinations of these, returning to write changes. He smiled. The flute quartet was finally complete.
As was his custom he took a concave mirror, painted black, from a drawer, removing a silk wrap. He gazed into it, letting his mind quieten, ready to receive impressions.
He sensed himself at a Salzburg opera house, invisible, watching an audience dressed in finery. A quartet played the just-completed concerto. The listeners were enraptured. Good!
Suddenly the impressions changed. Two young women in flowing blue dresses and two young men in black suits played the concerto in a candle-lit church. The audience were strangely dressed, men wore long trousers and some women wore short skirts. The violinist’s hair was a wild halo.
Someone pointed a small device at the musicians, on which they appeared in a bright lifelike image.
‘Incredible! Surely just imagination?’ he thought.
Someone knocked at the door. Hurriedly he put the mirror away.
“Wolfgang, dinner’s ready.”