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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: River (08/31/06)

TITLE: Phantom River
By david grant


Cue Track 5. Click.

Instantly Iím canoeing down the river of ďToccata and Fugue in D Minor,Ē that insane organ piece made famous by the Phantom of the Opera, and written by Johann Sebastian Bach

The angry water roughly assaults my little boat as I push out into the melodic stream. Abusive waves beat at the edges of my headphones and try to drown my CD player.

The fugueís impatient current rushes me through the canyon that used to be my musical taste. Quickly it carries away my emotions, throwing them up and down and over several waterfalling keyboards. The flowing melody drenches my ears with weird notes that are discordant, deftly diminishing, and wet with thundering flat 7ths. It also splashes me with sharp 3rds and a deluges me with odd 4ths. I am gasping for breath.

It jams me between jagged white keys and tosses me up and on to rocky black notes, where I'm laid bare by its dynamic whippings and left bleeding in its non-resolving repetitious flow. Then I roll back into the rushing river and the nightmare begins anew. Iím too exhausted to cry for help, but I raise one hand above my submerged head. The organist laughs wickedly at my futile attempt to obtain rescue and begins the piece again.

Surfacing for an instant I see more danger ahead. Every minor chord has a major swirl of angry water waiting behind it. There is a musical depression waiting to drown me in the next boiling measure. Kicking and stroking doesnít help. Iím destined to be sucked in.

Changing time from quarter threes to half fours, the musical rapids skip and dive, rest and hold. Then Iím thrown forward into the grip of a maddening harmonic swirl. Whimpering and worried for my soul I am pulled down own into the dark depths of my headsets.

In the circling water I am cut by vibrating sharps, and bruised by flat vibratos that rush by and leave their cruel marks before I can defend myself. There is evil laughter in the water as well that taunts and punishes me. What a fool I was to play this track, it teases.

In the backwater of my headsets I float among rotting rock ní roll jams and country music licks. A broken gospel plank keeps me afloat in the darkness. It is my only hope and I know I must cling to it for life. I swim away from a dangerous old show tune coming toward me.

There' is no escape and eventually I drift aimlessly like a dead man in a deep musical wallow. The composer eventually pulls me to the shore and apologizes for his rudeness, with a snicker of course.

Now I know how the Phantom became mad! Someone get me a mask for my torn face and a wimpy starlet for the bow of my boat!

Oh, and push me back out into the river again, just for the fun of it.

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This article has been read 959 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 09/09/06
Oh, I love this! You took a difficult metaphor and ran with it perfectly. What amazing talent! Describing music as a river, like describing a color in terms of taste. Awesome.
Donna Haug09/09/06
Oh my! That was a wild ride. You obviously know music. I loved your ending!
Birdie Courtright09/11/06
Wow, this is great! So much action I felt like I needed a life jacket to stay afloat. I remember learning to 'hear and see' the action in classical music when I was about 7 or 8. I thought then, and still do that it became intriguing instead of boring at that point. I'm not a musician, so the reference to the notes were above me, it reminded me of that 'seeing, feeling' learning experience as a child. This was a wild river ride though and I loved it!
Sue Dent09/11/06
Have you lost your mind?! LOL A DAVEY for this one for sure. I'm going to watch Phantom of the opera now . . . errr . . . swim to Phantom of the Opera. WoW! I can't believe you had that in you!!! Masterful writing!
Donna Powers 09/11/06
Wow! What a unique POV! I know this piece well, and can relate to your frustration in playing it. I never considered its "riverlike" qualities before, but now I'll never be able to hear it without remembering your piece. Very well written!
Marty Wellington 09/11/06
Wow, I think I just went over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Yep, I'm breathless. What an interesting twist on the river theme. Noticed a few minor typos (which I'm sure you've seen already), but this was truly marvelous--worthy of the "Phantom" DAVEY, I'll venture. (wink, wink)
Joanne Sher 09/12/06
Oh wow! This is SO amazingly, masterfully done! I second the call for a phantom Davey! What amazing description!
Sharlyn Guthrie09/12/06
Metaphorically magnificent!
Valora Otis09/14/06
Wow! What a masterful gift you have. I'm surprised you didn't place with this. I could feel the river and the music and I'm just sitting here in awe. Wow!
Edy T Johnson 09/19/06
Now, this is definitely a river beyond the pale of most writer's imaginationings. I think exquisite is the only word that comes to mind to describe my reaction. I love your word selections and the images you create to pull us along on your journey. And, now I must go find that Bach CD so I can hear and experience what you did all for myself!