The next day, we traveled on to Philadelphia.
Though, as usual, all of our time was spent either at the rehearsal studio, at the hotel, or in transit between the two.
And, thanks to that sheet music, her shut-in tendencies were exacerbated even further.
I re-examined the other scraps of paper in the box that had carried the scores. There wasn’t any other sheet music, but I did find something else of interest.
I sent it to the office in Tokyo, just in case.
And now—the day of her solo recital at the Verizon Hall in the Kimmel Center had arrived.
Would that man be there?
“I’ve changed the plans for tonight’s encore. There’s something I’d like to try, if you’ll bear with me.”
She advanced to the center of the stage, welcomed by applause of a full house whose souls she had in an eagle grip.
In her deep blue dress, she was magnificent.
Another sigh rippled through the crowd.
Her performance tonight had been, once again, superb.
She had never taken first place in a worldwide piano competition. But right now, she stood shoulder-to-shoulder with those who had.
…No, when it came to Beethoven, Chopin, Schubert, Liszt, Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, I felt she had outdone them all.
In fact, she might have reached a level that could compare favorably with Ashkenazy at his peak, or Pollini.
She had more than earned international acclaim.
…Excepting the fickleness she occasionally displayed.
“Two weeks ago, I found an old score in a flea market in Washington. I have it here.”
A buzz ran through the audience. Understandably so—that dirty, worn-out sheet music ill suited her beautiful dress.
On the other hand, there were a few in the audience who were grinning to themselves, seeing the start of that aforementioned personality wrinkle showing itself once more.
Kazusa Touma had pulled something outrageous for her encore multiple times in the course of this very North American tour.
“This old, four-page score, folded in half, is believed to be at least a hundred years old. In German musical terms, this is known as a bogen, or bögen in the plural. There are three of these four-page bögen, with twenty-four staves per page, divided into four bars. In other words, this is an incomplete score of forty-eight bars. I have been considering the idea that they may be the hand-written pages of a great composer who died some hundred and twenty years ago.”
The buzz intensified.
As the hall was approaching uproar, I heard a loud voice from the midst of it, shouting, “Wrong!”
A single man left his seat and took off running down the stairs, heading toward the stage.
It was him.
I rushed out from the wings and stood in front of her. Security guards had also appeared and surrounded him.
“You’re wrong! It’s not! It can’t be!”
“If you continue to cause problems,” one of the security guards said to him, “we will have to restrain you. Please calm down.”
“Assume what you will, but if this sheet music here is indeed his own, it will be examined carefully, and sooner or later it will have to be applied.” Kazusa-san’s words were measured. “I have been told by the Society that we are very near to the truth.”
“Y-You sent it to the Society already?”
“Yes. I sent it digitally.”
She smiled sweetly.
“Gaaaah…!” The man collapsed, with his head in his hands. “There was no need for that to be found now…”
I spoke up. “And what’s wrong with something being found?”
“The version Rattle performed was complete… Rattle’s performance was perfect.”
“Oh, I see, so you’re a fan of Simon’s.”
“You’re referring to the supplemented complete version from 2012?”
“Wow, nice work, Koharu-chan,” she muttered in my ear. “Yes, it was a very nice performance, but I felt like something was missing.”
As she whispered to me, her voice was overflowing with a mischievous, alluring charm.
For goodness’s sake, my body temperature was already elevated from nerves. Did she have to get me even more heated?!
“Apologies for the fuss, everyone. Now, allow me to tell you my thoughts on the matter. I believe that these three bögen are in fact part of the missing score to the incomplete fourth movement of Anton Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony.”
A great roar arose from a part of the audience at this declaration.
“There is a melody and harmony written in connection with the transition into the coda, which follows the handwritten bögen that have been found to date.”
Yes, of course.
After looking up the seal from that bogen online, reading the commentary on the image, I had come to believe the same thing.
“After coming into possession of this bogen, I took it upon myself to interpret and supplement the ending to the fourth movement of the Ninth Symphony in my own way. I have arranged it for the piano, and today, as my encore, I would like to play it for all of you.”
And there it was. She intended to go through with it.
Even though the Bruckner Society had strongly requested that she not do it.
I had tried to talk her out of it the night before, even…
“However, the authenticity of this bogen is not guaranteed. So, simply think of this as a bit of entertainment. And, if you aren’t interested, feel free to leave.”
As though anybody who had bought a platinum ticket for this show would leave before the encore.
“Here we go, then.”
She spoke up to the security guards, asking them to let the man go free.
“I trust you’ll listen nice and politely, too?”