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The Violin's Curse
from Little Evil Things, Volume IV

©2000 Frank Macchia and Tracy London

Music Composed & produced by Frank Macchia
Narration: Jim McDonnell
Boris: Alan Brooks
Esmerelda: Tracy London
Vladimir: James Harper
Performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra
Solo violin: Alexander Avramenko

[The following audio clips require the Quicktime plug-in.]

to hear "Little Evil Overture" excerpt.

to hear story excerpt.

Narrator: Long ago in the heart of Russia there was a small village of simple, hard-working people. In the Fall of 1879, this community experienced a phenomenon which has been the subject of folklore handed down through the generations. They call it "The Violin's Curse."

Sergei: Hey Boris, quit daydreaming and get back to work. I need help unloading this grain.

Boris: Okay, okay. You know, one of these days I'm going to own this place and then I'll be the one giving the orders. You'll see!

Sergei: Yeah, sure you will. And pigs will fly. You waste your life on silly dreams instead of working hard to build your future. When are you going to settle down and have a family?

Boris: When the right girl comes along.

Sergei: But what about Ludmilla?

Boris: Look I know what I want . . . I just haven't found it yet. Don't you worry about me. Now help me with this bag, you old grouch!

Narrator: Still in his mid-twenties, Boris Nemyepsky was liked by everyone in his village, but he was a dreamer with plenty of ambition for hatching grand schemes to make a quick fortune, as long as it didn't involve any hard work. No one in the village took him seriously, least of all the eligible young women. They joked that Boris might be nice to spend an afternoon with, picking mushrooms, but they certainly wouldn't consider marrying him. Despite his reputation, Boris knew in his heart it would all work out. When the time was right, he would find his soul mate.

One day while Boris was wandering down the main street of the village, gazing at all the wonderful items he would someday buy, he noticed a beautiful young woman peering into the music shop. She had long flowing red hair and the most exquisite pale skin he had ever seen. It was almost translucent. Her attire struck him as out of place for this particular region. She wore a long colorful dress that looked very much like what the old Slavic peasants wore years ago. Straightening his shirt, Boris strode up to her. As he got closer, he thought he could smell a faint scent of apples and cinnamon. It was an intoxicating aroma. He noticed that she was looking at a violin on display in the store window. She seemed to be a million miles away. Suddenly she was jolted from her reverie as she noticed his presence. She blushed crimson.

Esmerelda: Beautiful, isn't it?

Boris: Not half as lovely as you.

Esmerelda: It looks quite old. The stories it could probably tell!

Boris: No more interesting than yours. I was sure I knew everyone for miles around, but I've never seen you before. What's your name?

Esmerelda: Esmerelda. I just moved to this province with my family from a village far away. You have a lovely town here Mr. . . . ?

Boris: Nemyepsky. Boris Nemyepsky--at your service.

Esmerelda: Do you work here in town?

Boris: For now, I work at the grain factory, but I have a great future ahead of me.

Esmerelda: I'm sure you do. But, if you'll excuse me, I've lingered too long. I'm afraid my family is waiting for me.

Narrator: And with that, she turned and walked quickly down the street.

Boris: Wait! Wait just a minute!

Narrator: She didn't stop, but instead turned at the corner and entered an alleyway.

Boris: Please, Esmerelda. I must talk to you!

Narrator: As he ran down the street, he had no idea what he would say to her, but he knew he must see her again. As he reached the entrance to the alley, he stopped dead in his tracks. She had disappeared. Dejected, Boris turned and saw the back door to the music shop. He entered and asked if a red-haired woman had passed through, but the proprietor claimed that no one had been in all morning. As the shopkeeper rambled on, trying to sell Boris a balalaika, he noticed the beautiful violin that had transfixed Esmerelda. The instrument was made of a very deep, lustrous wood and was much more ornate than any other violin he had ever seen. Suddenly the air was pungent with the scent of apples and cinnamon.

That night, Boris couldn't seem to get Esmerelda out of his mind. He kept smelling that luscious aroma, her pale skin, her beautiful shimmering red hair, the way she turned crimson as the blush crept over her face. He hoped that he would see her again somehow. If he did, he swore to himself he'd handle the situation better.

The next day at the grain factory, Boris told Sergei about his crimson beauty.

Sergei: So let me get this straight. You only talked with her a minute or so and you don't know where she lives or even if you'll ever see her again, yet you are head over heels in love with this--Esmerelda--as you call her.

Boris: You're just jealous because of that whining beast of a wife you settled for. She's beaten all the hopes and dreams out of you. But that's not going to happen to me.

Narrator: And with that, Boris stormed out of the factory, trying to dispel the rage and hurt from his mind. As he reached the corner, he saw Esmerelda once again at her post, staring into the music shop window. His heart skipped a beat as a rush of emotion filled him. He was just about to run up to her and pledge his undying love, when he was stopped short by an idea. Slowly, he backed up to the side of the building, careful to keep himself just out of sight. From that vantage point, he watched her patiently. After a while, she walked away from the music shop and wandered toward the outskirts of town. Cautiously, Boris followed her through the village, always maintaining a safe distance. He followed her steadfastly through the forest for over two hours. As the rays of the afternoon sun finally gave way to dusk, Boris could see a campfire in the distance. Music filled the air--gypsy music. As he approached the camp, he saw several gypsy women dancing to the passionate music. As Esmerelda joined in, they laughed and clapped their hands to her sensuous writhing, their shadows dancing on the ancient wooden wagons encircling them. Suddenly the music stopped, leaving only the reverberation of the dancers' jewelry ringing out in the evening air. All heads turned to watch Boris enter the camp, their eyes glaring at him suspiciously. A swarthy man came up behind Boris, pulled out a large blade and brought it up to his neck, while twisting his arm behind his back.

Esmerelda: No! Don't hurt him. He's a friend.

Boris: It's true. I just wanted to talk to Esmerelda. I . . . I love her.

Esmerelda: You don't know what you're saying. You can't love me. It's impossible.

Boris: Don't tell me what's impossible. I always knew someday I'd find the right woman. Yesterday I saw you and your eyes told me everything--the passion, the pain. I know I can be a good man to you, if only you'd let me.

Vladimir: But it is not for her to choose. It is I who decides.

Boris: Who are you?

Vladimir: I am Vladimir, King of the Gypsies and Esmerelda's father. Our clan has been together for a very long time. You outsiders bring nothing but misfortune. So tell me, why should I give my daughter's hand in marriage to a man like you?

Boris: I have great plans for our future and will treat your daughter like the princess she is. I beg you, sir, my heart is true. If only there were some way I could prove it to you.

Vladimir: Let me consult with the Council of Elders. We will consider your request.

Narrator: Boris was tossed to the ground as Vladimir departed to speak with the council.

Esmerelda: Boris, you're crazy. You don't know what you're getting yourself into.

Boris: Shshsh . . . don't worry. I'll do anything to be with you, my beloved. You've captured my soul with your deep green eyes. But maybe you do not feel the same. Just tell me that you want me to leave and I'll go.

Esmerelda: No, Boris, I do care for you, but that's just why you should go. It will not work out for us. It cannot.

Vladimir: The Council of Elders has decided to give you a chance to prove your sincerity.

Boris: Thank you. I will do anything to win Esmerelda's hand.

Vladimir: Good, now listen carefully. Long ago there was a violin--an exquisite instrument. It was stolen from our people. Your task is to retrieve it and restore it to its rightful owners.

Boris: But is it a very long journey . . . ?

Vladimir: No further than your own village.

Boris: The violin Esmerelda was staring at?

Vladimir: The same.

Boris: But it's so expensive. Where would I get the money?

Vladimir: The Elders have spoken--Esmerelda's hand in marriage for that violin - a bargain is a bargain. How you obtain the instrument is up to you. But beware--do not come back to our camp without the violin or we cannot be held accountable for any danger that should befall you. Now go!!

Narrator: As Boris fled the gypsy camp, music and laughter rang through the forest. As he stumbled back toward the village, he made up his mind. He would steal the violin, but he must use the utmost care. If he were caught, he would never see his beloved Esmerelda again.

The next evening, as the shopkeeper snored loudly in the next room, Boris quietly broke into the music shop and slipped the violin into a grain bag he had commandeered from the factory. After making a quick exit, Boris made his way stealthily out of the village and into the woods. After a second trek through the forest, he again heard the gypsy music in the distance and smelled the aroma of apples and cinnamon. Excited at the promise of Esmerelda and anxious to be rid of the violin, Boris picked up his pace. Soon he reached the gypsies huddled around the campfire in front of the ancient wagons. Boris: It is I, Boris Nemyepsky. I have recovered your violin. Narrator: As Boris removed the instrument from the grain bag, all the gypsies crowded around, gasping at the sight of the violin. Suddenly, a deep voice boomed out from beyond the crowd.

Vladimir: Let us see what our new friend has brought us. Ah, the Rozinsky violin, stolen from our people more than three centuries ago. We've waited a very long time to reclaim you.

Boris: Remember what the council agreed. A bargain is a bargain. May I have Esmerelda's hand?

Vladimir: All in good time, my young friend. First we must make certain that this is the true Rozinsky violin. Esmerelda, play child!

Esmerelda: No. I do not want to play.

Vladimir: You will do as you are told.

Esmerelda: But . . .

Boris: Please, Esmerelda. I would be honored to hear you play.

Esmerelda: You know not what you ask . . . oh, very well, papa. As you wish.

A low booming sound could be heard in the distance. Thunder, assumed Boris, as Esmerelda picked up the speed of her etude. As the storm neared, the horses began to panic, but still she flailed away on the violin, surrounded by all the gypsies as if in a trance. Then something happened that Boris could not believe. The gypsies began to lose their solidity. Boris realized he could see through them! He cried out in fear, but still Esmerelda fiddled on. As the gypsies started floating up toward the heavens, Boris saw them smile as they disappeared into the clouds above. Suddenly, he realized that Esmerelda herself was losing her form.

Boris: Please, Esmerelda, stop playing! What's happening?

Esmerelda: Oh, Boris, I told you to go away, but you wouldn't listen. Listen now, my dearest, as I tell you the whole truth. Long ago, an evil horde of criminals tortured and killed every one of us to steal the Rozinsky violin, considered the finest ever made.

Boris: What are you talking about? You're not dead; you're right here with me.

Esmerelda: You know that's not true. Even now you can see my form evaporating. All is as it should be. We are very tired. For over three centuries, we gypsies have been haunting the earth, searching for our violin. If we could retrieve it, we could finally leave this world and move on to the next. But we couldn't accomplish it by ourselves alone. Only one true of heart could break the curse of the violin and release my family from this earthly prison. We thank you for that, Boris Nemyepsky. Know in your heart that I'll always love you.

Narrator: And with those final words, Esmerelda ceased her playing for just a moment. Her form came back enough for her to give Boris one last hauntingly cold kiss. Then she played the final cadenza on the violin and evaporated into the heavens. Legend has it that from that day forward, Boris wandered the woods in search of his beloved Esmerelda. Today, if you happen to be in the forest and smell the aroma of apples and cinnamon, be on the lookout for the lost lovers.

FRANK MACCHIA—Born and raised in San Francisco, Frank began performing and composing music at the age of twelve. At fifteen he had members of the San Francisco Symphony perform his music and was working locally with his own jazz big band. After graduating with a BM in Music Composition from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in 1980, he accepted a teaching position at the school. In addition to numerous awards for composition, he received a National Endowment Grant in 1980 to compose a 90-minute work for jazz orchestra. He moved back to the Bay Area in 1981 and spent his time performing and composing for a variety of ensembles, including his own band, which recorded an album in 1990 entitled "Frankie Maximum Goes Way-er Out West." This album garnered much critical acclaim and was voted one of the top ten albums of the year by the Oakland Tribune. After spending much of 1991 performing and touring in Europe he made the big move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film and television music composition. To date he has orchestrated on such films as Halloween: H20, At First Sight, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Private Parts, The Relic, The Apt Pupil, Most Wanted, Snow White: A Tale of Terror, Incognito, Oliver Twist, Bastard Out of Carolina, Wild Bill and Double Team. His composing credits include Cold Case, Ed the Alien, Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders, The Invader, Longshot, America's Funniest Videos, US Customs Classified and Panic In the Skies. He is currently busy creating the next volume of Little Evil Things.

TRACY LONDON—Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Tracy moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, at the age of 10. After studying voice at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Tracy attended the University of Michigan and graduated in 1980 with an honors degree in English and Creative Writing. Pursuing her love of performing, Tracy then attended the Drama Studio London, graduating with honors. She then went to work as a professional singer and actress in the Bay Area, appearing in such shows as Party of One and The Dining Room. After touring abroad, Tracy moved to Los Angeles where she is a working actress and writer. She has worked in both television and film, having appeared on such shows as Ink and Timecop, and is featured in the upcoming film City of Angels. She is also featured in several independent films such as The Next Tenant, Longshot, and Last Respects. Most recently Tracy appeared at the West Coast Ensemble in Sondheim's Company. Her other Los Angeles theater credits include Camelot, Oklahoma, Hapgood, and The Mousetrap. Tracy has also recently finished writing a feature film script entitled Nan, and is currently writing volume five of Little Evil Things.

For more information on purchasing any of the 5 CD's of Little Evil Things go to www.littleevilthings.com.

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