Home World Literature Rakhmaninov’s Sonata – A short story from Uzbekistan

Rakhmaninov’s Sonata – A short story from Uzbekistan

Rakhmaninov’s Sonata – A short story from Uzbekistan

The mystery of music, which for centuries has shaken the human heart, comforted her and made her happy, embodied her pure love and painful hatred, spread quietly throughout the room with the help of the piano.

[author title=”Sherzod Artikov” image=”https://sindhcourier.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Sherzod-Artikov-Uzbek-writer-Sindh-Courier.jpg”]Sherzod Artikov, short story writer and poet, was born in 1985 in the city of Marghilan of Uzbekistan. He graduated from Fergana Polytechnic institute in 2005. He was one of the winners of the national literary contest “My Pearl Region” in prose in 2019. In 2020, his first book “The Autumn’s Symphony” was published in Uzbekistan. In 2021, his works were published in the anthology called “World Writers” in Bangladesh, “Asia Sings” and “Mediterranean Waves” in Egypt in English language.[/author]


Rakhmaninov’s Sonata

Nilufar was overjoyed. Finally, sitting in front of the piano she was able to play the sonata of her favorite composer without a score and without making a mistake anywhere. This situation was extremely exciting news for her. Because she had not been able to do it for weeks, and no matter how hard she tried, her efforts were in vain. In the end, her relentless and hard work paid off, lo and behold.

Now she can easily perform Rakhmaninov’s famous “re-minor” sonata in a long-waited first concert program without a score. According to this sonata, she no longer needs a score. Thinking of this, she was extremely happy and excited. Sometimes she would go to her red piano, sometimes she would stare at the picture of composers hanging on the walls of the room and she would walk back and forth. She even wanted to dance on tiptoe like a ballerina. But she was ashamed and changed her mind. If her twins had been there, no doubt she would have embraced them, kissed their faces, and shared her joy with them. Unfortunately, they are in a football boarding school. They arrive on the weekend. She regretted it. She wanted to share her joy with someone while she was preparing dinner. She could not contain it. That’s probably why she often glanced at the black telephone set on the shelf in the hallway. After a while she came to the phone. She picked up it and dialed the required numbers. Then the connection was restored and a familiar voice was heard from the receiver.

“I’m in a meeting.”

“Are you coming home early today? “ She said, overjoyed, not caring that her husband is at the meeting.

“What’s up? “ Her husband asked in surprise.

“Everything is good,” She continued, trying to calm him dawn. “If you come, I will tell you. A wonderful event happened.”

“Okay, I will.”

Her husband’s voice stopped ringing. She assumed the connection was lost. Although she was a little upset by that situation and put the phone back on in frustration, she remembered her success again and was in a good mood. She smiled contentedly as she looked in the hanging mirror in the hallway.

Nothing and no one could hurt her at the moment – because she had achieved a huge success for herself. To that day, she could only perform Beethoven’s sonata dedicated to Eliza, Brahms’waltzes, and two or three of Chopin’s small nocturnes without score. But they were short musical compositions that any amateur pianist could perform. They did not require extra training or talent. Pakhmaninov’s sonata, on the other hand, was longer in length and more complex in structure, and if the attention to these two elements was neglected, it would confuse the performer and force her to make a mistake. Even when performed with a score.

“What’s the matter?” her husband said.

He had fulfilled his promise and returned early from work. Nilufar saw him and applauded with joy. She imagined that on the day of the concert she would come in the same way – beautifully dressed and with a bouquet in her hands. And she was overjoyed to think that this dream would soon come true. With such thoughts, she gently took her husband’s hand and walked towards the room where the piano was standing. She entered the room and pushed the brown chair there close to the piano. She asked her husband to sit on it. Her husband, who didn’t understand anything, sat helplessly in the chair. She stopped in front of the piano.

“I will play Pakhmaninov’s “re-minor” sonata without score,” she said, sitting in a chair. “Listen carefully!”

She pointed her index finger at her husband like a child, her cheeks flushed with excitement. Then she put her finger in front of her nose and jokingly said “tss” to her husband. Then she began to play the sonata without a score. The mystery of music, which for centuries has shaken the human heart, comforted her and made her happy, embodied her pure love and painful hatred, spread quietly throughout the room with the help of the piano. This time the melody embodied the memories of the past in the human heart. The sonata always reminded her of her childhood. When she was a student at the conservatory, when she was included in her personal program in various competitions, whenever and wherever she performed, she remembered her childhood. It was the same a while ago and yesterday. It is the same now. She would move her long and slender fingers over the black and white keys and play it flat. And sweet memories of a distant carefree and happy childhood came to mind one after another. Wrapping a white handkerchief around her mother’s forehead and baking hot bread in the oven, her heart sank for a moment as a prelude to memories. As a child, her mother always baked bread in the oven on Sundays. She was carrying a basket that was bigger than she was, and she couldn’t move anywhere near it. After the loaves were toasted and swelled, her mother would cut them up and throw them in the basket. And she would spread them out to make the bread cool faster. In the meantime, she would put the dwarf’s milk-soaked poignant in the pocket of her jacket, both warmly and secretly. After that, she would suffocate the poignant in the water of the stream flowing through the streets and enjoy eating the cakes leaning on the apricot tree. When the sonata reached halfway, the memory of her childhood came to life even more vividly. Lo and behold, she is tapping on the rotten wire in the street and returning the numbers. She’s small, like a squirrel. Her hair is blonde. Even then, everyone called her “blonde”. She was counting numbers non-stop, and her comrades were hiding in different places at this time. After a while, she was looking for them everywhere. “Berkinmachoq,”* she sighed, her hands, which were constantly moving on the keys, suddenly weaken.

On summer days, she would not come from the street, ignoring the cherries hung by her father on her ears, and waving her hair, which was braided like willow twigs by her mother. She was much more playful. If it snows in the winter, it would be a holiday for her. She would make a Father Christmas with the kids in the middle of the street or play snowballs with endless fun. Until evening, she would lead the sledge her father had brought.

Not long after, she went to an uncle’s pot, which he was selling nisholda* at the beginning of the street. As a child, during the months of Ramadan, that uncle would always fill her cup with nisholda . By the time she got home, she was licking the top of the nisholda with her finger. She would have a dirty doll in her arms and shoes with water on her feet. “It would have been so sweet the nisholda,” she said casually. Then she recalled the days when she would go into every house with the children on the streets on the evenings of the holy month and sing the song of Ramadan.

We have come to your home saying Ramadan,

May God give you a son in your cradle…

They would sing that song. Here, she remembered. The song was long. Unfortunately, she only remembers the beginning. That’s how it would start. They would say it together with the children. Boys and girls sang Ramadan songs in unison, spreading a long table -cloth in their hands – On the doorstep of every home… Screaming… Neighbors sometimes gave money, sometimes sweets, fruits, and the table-cloth was soon filled with what they had given. Then, sitting on a rock at the beginning of the street, the children would evenly distribute the items gathered at it. She often got apple and chocolate chip cookies. The coins were taken by boys.

Tears welled up in her eyes as the sonata was ending. She realized that she was a child left behind and that she missed her dead parents so much. It hasn’t been long since her parents died. In fact, what taught her to memorize the sonata was not her ability, but her childhood nostalgia. She thought so. She had been performing this sonata a lot lately and with passion because she missed her childhood. This was also the reason why she decided to give a concert as a freelance artist. Probably, Sergei Rakhmaninov also missed his childhood in the United States during his years in exile. This is why he has performed this sonata many times on tours in American cities and has received applause. He deserved recognition. She looked at her husband questioningly after playing the sonata. There was a question in her eyes. The question was not “Did I perform well?!”  But the question was “Did you remember your childhood, too?” She also wanted to tell him about her first concert next week at the city’s House of Culture. Her husband was ignoring her. There was no interest in his eyes. Either the sonata reminded him of his memories, or his head was occupied with anxious thoughts.

“I play the sonata without a score,” she said with an open face because her husband didn’t speak. “I wanted to tell you that. I also wanted to say that next week will be my first concert- In the House of Culture. “

Hearing her words, her husband stood up like a man in despair. He came to her, scratching his forehead and loosening his tie.

“I hate that habit,” he said, pressing the piano keys once or twice as if for amusement. “You always bother me for trivial things. Here it is today. Because of this work, I will not be able to attend the presentation of our new product tonight. I’m missing such an event, unfortunately!”

Nilufar sighed and bit her lips hard. She whispered as “I wish they were bleeding”, she didn’t want to let go of her lips between her teeth. Then she laughed sarcastically in her head and closed the piano indifferently. Her hands and bloodshot lips trembled. Her husband shook his head when he saw that she was silent and walked towards the door.

“By the way,” he said walked out the door. “I have to go in the morning. There will be a wedding at our general manager’s house. So iron my gray suit. It has been on the shelf for a long time without being worn. It may be wrinkled.”

Involuntarily, Nilufar looked at her husband sadly. There was no trace of the joy that filled her heart. She did not want to get up; she could not move them at all, as if a stone were tied to her legs.

“I’ll iron it until you’re done eating,” she said in a broken voice.

So she closed her ears tightly. With that she tried not to hear the sounds ringing in her ears. But it was useless. The happy, spotless, and carefree voices of her and the children, which had remained under her ear as a child, did not go away.

We have come to your home saying Ramadan,

May God give you a son in your cradle…


*Berkinmachoq – Children’s hide and seek game.

*Nisholda– sweet made in the month of Ramadan

Translated into English by Nigora Mukhammad