King of Classical Music - Chapter 183
Manchester, Rome, Geneva…
Over the span of 15 days, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra completed four stops in the first quarter of their 2017 European tour. On the morning of April 15th, the world-class orchestra arrived in Paris, preparing for the second-to-last concert rehearsal of the tour.
As soon as he set foot in Paris, Qi Mu put away his luggage at the hotel reserved by the orchestra.
No matter where he performed so far, Qi Mu had always stayed with the members of the orchestra, so even if someone secretly left him a large set of keys while he was in Vienna, Qi Mu didn’t want to stay outside the hotel.
And now, in Paris, Qi Mu wanted to go out alone for the first time.
When Qi Mu passed on his intent for the evening to Dorenza, Dorenza said, “Oh, Little Seven, are you going to see Reed?”
Qi Mu didn’t conceal anything at all, “Yes. My teacher and I haven’t seen each other in a long time, and I heard his back has been acting up recently. I wanted to take the opportunity while I’m here in Paris to see him.”
Dorenza smiled gently, “Okay, Little Seven. How could I stop you from going to see your teacher? I also haven’t seen Reed in a long time. Why don’t we go see him together?”
Mr. Dorenza and Professor Akkad were old friends, and it wasn’t unusual for them to visit each other. Qi Mu agreed. “Ok, let’s go see Teacher together, Mr. Dorenza. I think Teacher will be very happy to see you too.”
Just after Qi Mu finished speaking, someone shouted, “Hey, Little Seven, Dorenza, are you going to see Akkad?”
The two turned their heads in surprise and saw Anthony approaching. “God, I like Akkad very much. I met him at a concert in Newcastle a few years ago. Little Seven… can you bring me with you?”
Brow furrowed slightly, Qi Mu thought for a while then nodded. “It shouldn’t be a problem.”
The other members of Wei Ai who had been eavesdropping all along immediately exploded—
“I also admire Mater Reed Akkad too! I want to go, I want to go too!”
“And me! I like Master Akkad’s《Devil’s Thrill》 the most! It’s simply music of the gods!”
Starting with Anthony, more and more members of Wei Ai raised their hands one after another, wanting to meet the world’s top violinist.
But Dorenza steeled his face and said sternly, “Reed is not in good health. Too many of us going is only going to disturb his rest. Little Seven, Anthony and I will go together. You all rest in the hotel.”
Dorenza was rarely so solemn and serious, but the members of Wei Ai knew their conductor was correct. There were too many people that wanted to visit and they would only disturb him. They could only ask Qi Mu to pass along their love and blessings to Master Akkad.
When the three arrived at Akkad’s home, the master was seated at a dining table itching a cup of hot cocoa. After he noticed the three coming, he was surprised but immediately welcomed them into his small living room.
Pouring another cup of hot cocoa and two cups of water in the kitchen, Akkad placed the cocoa carefully in front of Qi Mu then the other two cups carelessly before Dorenza and Anthony.
After these “polite” necessities, Akkad didn’t pay any further attention to his old friend or Anthony to the side. He focused on Little Seven, studied him up and down for a long time, then raised his head and barked, “Thin!” His tone was displeased.
Qi Mu shook his head, caught between tears and laughter, and said, “Teacher, Wei Ai is on tour. I have to walk around a lot, so I lost a bit of weight.”
Unexpectedly, Akkad snorted. He pointed at Anthony and said, “Look at Anthony. Why is he not thin at all? I think he’s fatter than three years ago by quite a lot!”
Qi Mu: “…”
Teacher, if you say that to Anthony, he’ll be sad…
“Master Akkad, you remember me?!” Anthony’s overjoyed voice interrupted Qi Mu’s thoughts. He turned and found the usually serious concertmaster was excited. “Yes, yes. I’m Anthony. We met at the London concert in Newcastle three years ago, Master Akkad!”
Akkad deigned a faint “hm” to Anthony , who was so excited his face was flushed scarlet, then turned to his lovely student. “So, Little Seven! Why are you so thin? Don’t you know how to eat good food when you’re away?!”
Qi Mu: “…”
Mr. Anthony, are you still Teacher’s loyal fan…
“Little Seven, listen to Teacher. You young people should put their bodies first! You’re not even 80 jin (88 pounds) right now, are you?”
Qi Mu’s eyes widened, and he retorted, “Teacher, I’m over 65 kg (143 pounts) now!”
“What!!! You’re only 65 kg right now?!!!” Akkad turned his horrified expression to Dorenza who was smiling all the while and demanded, “Dorenza, how have you tortured our Little Seven? 65 kg, 65 kg… just how light is that!!!!”
Dorenza, who looked like he’d been shot, smiled innocently: “^_^”
Then Akkad went on to say lots of things like: “Little Seven, you have to take care of your body. If you dare lose more weight, Teacher won’t see you again,” and “You know what, you have to eat three bowls of rice every day starting tomorrow,” and “No, no, no, you have to eat at least one steak every day!” And by the time he was finished, it was already late and the sun had already begun to set outside the window.
Since Wei Ai had to rehearse the next morning, the three of them didn’t stay any longer. When they went to the door, Anthony took Akkad’s hand and said excitedly, “If you have time, you must come see our concert the day after tomorrow!”
Akkad merely nodded and said calmly, “Little Seven is there. Of course I will go.”
Knowing Anthony only wanted to continue nattering on with his affection, Dorenza dragged the old man away and left the teacher and student alone.
Standing at the door, Qi Mu handed over the invitation letter in his pocket. The invitation to Wei Ai’s concert was light beige with fine patterns outlined in golden thread.
Akkad accepted the letter and stared at the handsome youth in front of him. After a long time, he sighed. “Little Seven, you became the deputy concertmaster of Wei Ai at this age. This puts a lot of pressure on you and gives you a lot of responsibility.”
In the quiet corridor, Akkad’s voice echoed. Qi Mu nodded solemnly. “Teacher, I will work hard. I never use my age to avoid responsibility. I will do my best.”
Akkad gave Qi Mu a meaningful look then sighed. “Teacher knows you’re a hard-working child, but sometimes you put too much pressure on yourself. You’re thinner than when you left Paris last year. Isn’t it painful for Auston to see you like this?’
Qi Mu couldn’t help smiling at the sound of that name. He shook his head. “He also wants me to eat more, but Teacher, I’m not very thin. You worry too much. It’s not that much pressure.”
Qi Mu said it lightly but Akkad knew how hard he’d worked as a student. He reached out and rubbed Qi Mu’s hair. “Ok, Ok, I can’t control you from Paris. But if Teacher sees you looking so thin next time… Well, I’ll make you look good!”
Qi Mu tilted his head and asked, “Teacher, what’s the standard for not too thin?”
Akkad thought for a moment. “Your height’s about 183 centimeters (6 feet)… then, Little Seven, shouldn’t you weigh about 80 kg (176 pounds)?”
Qi Mu: “…”
Teacher, your “not thin” and other people’s are totally different!
The teacher and student spoke for a while longer, then Anthony’s shout came from downstairs. Qi Mu went to say his goodbyes but before he could speak, Akkad suddenly said in a low voice, “The day after tomorrow, I will go see Wei Ai’s concert. Little Seven… don’t let Teacher down.”
Qi Mu was taken aback but then he smiled, “Teacher, I will work hard.”
Paris was as peaceful as ever. An old man stood at his window, watching the taxi carrying his student away. He squeezed the letter in his hand, nervous with anticipation.
His student was finally going to give him a grand performance!
Two days passed in a flash. On the night of Wei Ai’s concert, Akkad took out a neatly stored suit from his wardrobe. He ironed the black suit, tied his tie, and gelled his hair.
Dressed up, the eccentric and arrogant little old man disappeared. Standing in his place at the bottom of Paris’s Philharmonic Hall was an elegant, charming old gentleman.
He gazed at the oversized poster on the wall and his gaze lingered on the words “Deputy Concertmaster: Qi Mu” for a long time. Then, finally, he stepped forward and moved into the concert hall!
Tonight, the second-to-last stop of Wei Ai’s 2017 European tour officially opened!