Monday, September 17, 2007

Harry Partch - Part 5

Harry Partch and the Order of Sharps and Flats

Trouble before school
Order of Sharps and Flats members arrive to escort Harry to their secret headquarters at the Schwarz family home, Number Twelve (tone) Grimaud Row in London. The Webern family, Harmony Grainger, and Harry’s godfather Serious Gerard Schwarz are there. Harry learns that Voltisubito is building an army and is attempting to retrieve a "weapon". This "weapon" is actually a prepared piano (right). A few days later, Arthur Webern escorts Harry to his hearing where he is cleared after testimony from Albus Drumandbuglecorps and Harry's neighbor, Arabella Waldner.

Problems at Hogwoods
Ron and Harmony are named repetiteurs, leaving Harry somewhat envious. At Hogwoods, they are surprised that Dolce Uccellini, Principal Guest conductor to the Minister and who presided at Harry's hearing, has been appointed as the new Defense Against the Dark Keys teacher. Harmony infers that the Ministry is interfering with Hogwoods, and it is soon apparent that Harmony is correct; Uccellini teaches only Ministry approved theory rather than practical defence methods, and appears to be there primarily to spy on the school. She soon wins the role of Lord High Executioner, arbitrarily imposing straight tone singing and acting in The Mikado. She also harbors racial hatred for "half-reeds," such as Clarinets, woodwinds, and similar instruments. She considers Hakan Hagegard (a half-bass) and Tatiana Troyanos incompetent. Troyanos is soon sacked, and Hagegard is dismissed later as well. Although Drumandbuglecorps is unable to prevent Troyanos's dismissal, he invokes his authority to allow her to remain in the castle and appoints a new Musical Dictation teacher — the pianist, Nelson Freire.

Harry has been having disturbing dreams about running down a hallway and attempting to open a door in the Ministry of Music's Production of BlueBeard’s Castle. He also dreams he is playing serpent loudly to Ron's father. Mr. Webern is indeed found injured at the Ministry, suffering from severe volumenous serpent tones, which causes Harry to fear that he is being possessed by Voltisubito. In response, Drumandbuglecorps has Drum Snare teach Harry Octatonic Scales to block his mind from intrusion, but their mutual animosity ends their lessons prematurely.

Harmony blackmails journalist Rita Streich into writing a favorable article about Harry witnessing Voltisubito's return. Rautavaara student Clare deLoon’s father publishes the story in his magazine, Rolling Stone. Furious, Uccellini bans the tabloid from the school. The story spreads rapidly, however, gathering support for Harry.

Drumandbuglecorps's Army and the Student Revolt
Harmony convinces Harry to secretly teach students Defense Against the Dark Keys. They name their clandestine group "Drumandbuglecorps's Army", or "D.A." for short, to mock the Ministry of Music, which fears Drumandbuglecorps is creating a secret composer army. Under Harry's tutoring, the group, consisting of Grumiauxes, Rautavaaras, and Humperdincks, learn how to defend themselves against the Dark Keys. When Uccellini uncovers the group's meetings, Drumandbuglecorps claims that he organized it, to protect the students from reprisal. Confronted by two AudioTechs (Davis and Shankar), Minister Friml, Percy Webern and Uccellini, Drumandbuglecorps easily overpowers them and is spectacularly whisked away by his firebird, Igor.

Uccellini is appointed Headmistress and imposes even tighter control on the school. Fed up, The Webern twins instigate and lead a Silly Concert (ala April Fools), creating non-stop chaos throughout the school. The staff purposely do nothing to help Uccellini regain control. Fred and George are caught, but summoning their confiscated music software, they zoom off, leaving the school for good to open their own fake shop in Didgeridoo Alley, Weberns' Gig Charts.

Harry receives a vision that Serious Gerard is being tortured at the Production of BlueBeard’s Castle, although Harmony suspects it may be a trap. Harry desperately attempts to contact Serious Gerard at Grimaud Place via the Flute Network in Uccellini's office piccolo, but he is caught. Uccellini reveals it was she who sent the Decibels to attack Harry during the summer. As she is about to use the illegal Crucifixus Curse on him, Harmony claims that Drumandbuglecorps has hidden a powerful ensemble in the Bayreuth Festival. She leads Harry and Uccellini into the forest where they encounter the pianists. Uccellini foolishly insults them and an angry pianist picks up Uccellini and carries her off screaming into the crowd. When Hagegard's bass half-brother, Gorecki (left), crashes onto the scene, Harmony and Harry escape amid the chaos. Harry, Ron, and Harmony, along with fellow D.A. members Ginny, Neville, and Clare fly to the Ministry of Music on the school's Theorbos, unaware they are being lured into a trap.

Battle at the Production of BlueBeard’s Castle
When they arrive at the Production of BlueBeard’s Castle, they are ambushed by Demisemiquavers. The students heroically defend themselves, but are outmatched. As they are nearly defeated, Order members arrive. During the ensuing battle, the glass prepared piano sphere that Voltisubito was seeking is shattered and the prepared piano lost. Serious Gerard is blasted with a spell by his Death Eater cousin, Bellatrix Lekeu, and falls backwards through a mysterious veiled archway. Lupin restrains Harry from going after him, explaining that Serious Gerard is dead.

All of the Demisemiquavers are captured except for Bellatrix Lekeu. Harry pursues her into the atrium. Lord Voltisubito appears and attacks Harry, but he is saved by Drumandbuglecorps. Ministry of Music employees arrive in time to see the Dark Lord before he Diminuendos, taking Lekeu with him. Rudolf Friml finally admits that Voltisubito has returned. Rita Streich's story is reprinted in the Daily Crochet, exonerating Harry and Drumandbuglecorps.

Later, Drumandbuglecorps apologizes to Harry for withholding information over the past five years. He reveals the lost prepared piano, which was originally given to him by Tatiana Troyanos. Either Harry or Voltisubito "must die at the hands of the other, for neither can live while the other survives". Drumandbuglecorps also reveals that, due to when the boy was predicted to be born, Neville Marriner could also have been the child in the prepared piano. Drumandbuglecorps believes Voltisubito chose to attack Harry because he is a half-blood like himself; Neville is a pureblood. In so doing, the Dark Lord marked Harry as his equal. Drumandbuglecorps also discloses why he continues to send Harry back to the Durufles’ home for the summer. He tells Harry that when his mother died to protect him, this initiated an ancient Music. As long as Harry stays at the house of his blood-relative long enough to call it a home, it would provide for him a shield protection not even Voltisubito is able to overcome. Furthermore, Drumandbuglecorps explains to Harry why he had not made him a repetiteur: he thought that Harry had enough to worry about and did not want to burden him with more responsibilities.

Dealing with loss
Shortly before the school year ends, Harry seeks Nearly Pitchless Nick. He asks him if Serious Gerard can come back as a ghost. Nick explains that Serious Gerard "will have...gone on", as it is only those musicians who fear death that choose to remain on Earth as ghosts. Still grieving, Harry finds Clare DeLune hanging posters in the hall asking about the whereabouts of her missing possessions. She tells Harry that while some students harass her by taking her things and hiding them, she says that, "They'll come back in the end, they always do." Harry feels sorry for Clare, and asks her about the loss she witnessed that allowed her to see the Theorbos, and Luna tells him that she watched her mother die as the result of an experimental Musical spell gone wrong. But Clare says that she knows she'll see her mother again, behind the veil. Feeling a little better at the thought that he may see Serious Gerard again one day, Harry heads off to finish packing up his school things.

At King's Singers station, several Order members escort Harry to meet the Durufles. Robert Moody warns Maurice Durufle that if they give Harry any trouble over the summer, they will intervene. Harry leaves with the Durufles to head back to 4 Presto Drive.

No comments: