Posts Tagged ‘Elisabeth Schwarzkopf’

“A Kapitany”, Chapter 2 (“The Master” in Hungarian)

May 16, 2011

Armand Assante, the model for Vadas Dohenhy in “A Kapitany”

WARNING: IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY EROTICA, SEXUAL PORTRAYALS, DO NOT READ. 

 

I probably will have reason to regret this, but so what.  Life is made up of lots of regrets.  Luckily other things balance it out.

In 2007 I started the above novel.  It was a strange one, being of a definite bdsm nature, and I was totally out of the loop.  I had no experience or knowledge about this hidden (to me) world. I was a member of an erotica writing site and figured I could always ask questions.  Frankly, I didn’t know what questions to ask.  I did learn that you have to be very careful where  you ask for advice. That all advice isn’t equal and some of it downright dangerous.

But over the year I did learn something, enough to fashion what information I picked up into a novel.  I stopped writing around Chapter 18, then rather queered by the whole topic, but the other day, reading over it, I decided what the hell:  it’s a good story and I will finish it.

The picture at top is of the American actor, Armand Assante.  The main male character, Vadas Dohenhy in “A Kapitany” is  physically modeled after Assante.  Sometimes a physical nudge will create a story, and in this case, it did.  I have only seen two movies of Assante, but the physical movements and the face fit what I envisioned with Vadas.  This name in Hungarian means “The Hunter”, and Vadas fits this description. (Actually today, I was told by someone who speaks Hungarian far better than I do,  that “Vadas” means something more like ‘Warren”, whereas Vadasz is “Hunter”…Be that it may, I’ll holding onto Vadas)  He had turned 60, was a successful art thief, lived in Paris and Budapest and was bored.  He was, in bdsm parlance, a “Dom”. 

Some of this novel has been serialized on a site in England.  It also has been referenced in Dan Holloway’s novel in England.  I am going to float a chapter here and if there is any further interest, perhaps a few more.  I am going to finish it this summer and publish it.  The story intrigues me and I think now I can tackle it.  Perhaps it’s the pollen, the Spring fever, an interest in erotica again, I don’t know.  But I do know it’s a good story.  But it comes with a warning:  Don’t read if you are easily offended with sexual portrayals.  I have cut this chapter short because the sex becomes explicit further in the chapter.  I’m in enough trouble with family members due to the pointed nose of one female (probably more) relative and I am sure she will be clucking her thin lips when she reads this.  On the other hand, perhaps she will loosen up.  Could happen.

Lady Nyo

 

Part of Chapter Two, “A Kapitany” 

The night before I was dismissed with a kiss on the forehead.  His car and driver took me home, but before leaving, Vadas Dohenhy told me I was to return here in two night’s time.  He didn’t ask me, it was more of a command.  His car would call for me and we were to dine in his suite.

I wondered at my lack of response to him.  What kept me from acting offended by his behavior? What kind of man demanded such stuff? At first, I thought it was the shock of being handled in such a fashion, but then again, I didn’t have a clue.

Perhaps that I was going to do exactly as he ordered said more about me.  But at that moment, I was deeply intrigued, and more than a little aroused at his control of the field.

The sexual handling played into some deep secrets, then again there was something not quite ‘right’ about the whole scene. I knew I was over my head, feet not touching the bottom, and at this point I was willing to let Vadas Dohenhy pull me around the water.  He was something new and different. I was ready for a change.

Precisely at seven I was picked up by his driver, a hard-looking man who made no attempts at small talk.  I was nervous, and sucked at my bottom lip until I had to reapply lipstick before getting out of the car.  Knocking at Vadas’ door, he opened it almost immediately, but was talking on his cellphone in rapid Hungarian as he pulled me into the room.  Still occupied, he stripped me of my jacket and taking my elbow, led me to the sofa, gesturing me to sit.  He turned and walked to the window, where he continued in rapid- fire Hungarian, too fast for me to pick up anything except “egam” and “nem”.  Yes and no. 

“Excuse me, Elizabeth, that was unexpected but important.”  He had flipped the phone shut, threw it on his desk.  His pronunciation of “Elizabeth” was very Hungarian, more like “A-liss-a-bet” to my ears.  I made a mental note to ask how he had learned my name.

Without further comment, he turned to the console and poured two glasses of  wine.  Crossing the room, he handed me a glass and sat down on the sofa.

“This is a good Tokay.  You are familiar with our national wine?”  He sipped from his glass, his eyes on me.

The only times I had tasted Tokay, I found it coy, too sweet.  “I am, a bit.  But those times did not like it at all.”

“Ah! Then you had a bad Tokay, too common.  Perhaps a blended dessert Tokay.”

This, my Elizabeth, is the famous “Essence”.  It is fabled and rarest of all, from the first run of the Aszu grapes.  It is very sweet, but not like sugar.  It is like honeyed velvet.”

I raised the glass to swallow, and Vadas spoke sharply, startling me.

“No, no, Elizabeth!” He put out his hand to stop me.  “First, smell the wine, let it get into your nose.  Breathe deeply the grapes. Smell the warm sun, the cool rain. Smell the soil of this region of Hungary, at the foothills of the mountains. Think of the black soil that supports the growth of these beautiful, black grapes.  You know the Essence will restore the dead to the living.”

Vadas was smiling but something in his manner told me he believed it all.

I took a deep sniff of the wine, its heady scent rising up the glass into my nose.  It was a strong, warm smell, and I could only think of how it must taste.  I sipped a bit and let it sit in my mouth.  It was warm and sweet and broad, as it swept my mouth like a piece of velvet.  I looked up at him, my eyes showing my surprise.

“Ah! You see?  It is the essence of life, of beauty, of seduction!”  Vadas face was excited, I supposed, by the poetry of his words.   I could agree and took another sip of the Tokay, now completely warming my mouth.   It was, as he said, a very seductive wine.

“Do you like music, Elizabeth?”  His voice cut into my thoughts of the wine, now slipping down my throat.

“Very much, Vadas.  My father played French horn.  I grew up with a lot of German music.  He played in an orchestra before I was born.”

“Ah! Then you know Strauss?” Vadas eyes gleamed as mine mellowed with the wine.

“Yes, especially “The Last Four Songs” and his very last, “Malven”.  Also some of his lieder.”  I didn’t think it right to mention I had worked to death “Going to Sleep” the third of the “ Last Four”. That was, after all, a lifetime away.

Vadas eyes registered his surprise at my words.  “Those are pretty sophisticated pieces of music for an American woman.  You do know that Strauss was in the Nazi Party?”

I did, but thought Vadas’ question might reflect that he was a Jew. “I think many musicians and artists joined because of the pressure, and they were after all, artists. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf  was one.”

“Ah! Betty Blackhead!”  Vadas chuckled and I laughed, thinking that a particularly American joke.

“It took a long while to pry her clamshell open.” Vadas continued.  “I don’t believe she admitted her membership until only a few years before her death, and by then, who would touch her?”  Vadas’ eyes shone, his chest heaving with gentle laughter.

“Would you like to listen to “Elisabeth”, Elizabeth?  I nodded my assent, delighted he would have this music available.

Vadas placed his wine glass on a side table and walked to his desk.  Picking up a large remote, he aimed it at the console, and pressed some buttons. A door opened and within moments the first strains of  “Spring” sounded and by the time the fourth song started, I knew this was a big mistake.  How foolish of me!  Those glorious suspended strains of music cut to my soul and so much buried sadness came bubbling to the surface.  Schwarzkopf’s ability, only possible in a German singer singing German music, of creating the absolute lyricism of linking word to word in such a weave tore at my heart.  Tears had collected in my eyes I knew would spill down my face and wash away my makeup. I took a hurried sip of my wine to hide the turmoil that must be showing and the knot in my throat grew with the glory of the wine in my mouth.  Too fast to hide, tears spilled over lower lids and I felt Vadas lean over and put his hand on my chin, turning my now-wet face to his.

“Elizabeth, Elizabeth, why so sad?  What memory is attached to this music?”

*Ah, Vadas, I thought, do not show me any mercy! That will only encourage my weeping. Take me in your arms and bite my lips with your teeth, detour the pain of my heart to some other place! *

My cheeks were wet, mascara staining my skin.   I must look like a raccoon to Vadas.  He moved closer, but the bastard did not turn off the music. Ah, he was cruel and knew I was putty.  He did pull out a white handkerchief and gently wiped my cheeks, blotting up the mascara running like black blood from my bottom lids.  He even held it to my nose, but I wrenched it from his hand with an attempt at some dignity.  Blowing strongly, I tried to regain some composure.

“I am sorry, Vadas.  Perhaps I should leave.  This music is hard on the memories.”

“No, no, Elizabeth.  Do not leave. I have invited you to dinner, and you understand how we Hungarians feel about food refused.”

I laughed.  Yes, I did know.  It was a gross insult, and something I had learned in my childhood.

“Good, you laugh and it is like the sun comes out at midnight!”  Vadas chuckled and came closer. I lifted up my head towards him and felt his arms encircle me, pulling me to him.  His eyes searched mine, an unexpected tender expression on his face and I closed my eyes with a sigh. His lips brushed mine and then press down in earnest.  Vadas of the long kisses!  I was relaxing into his embrace when there was a knock at the door.  It was room service with our dinner.

Vadas broke off his kiss, and looked at me regretfully.  If there was one time in my life that I could have gone without food, this was it.

Room service left after arranging covered platters on the large table that was obviously used for purposes other than eating.  Stacks of folders and loose papers were moved by Vadas from the table and then he held out my chair to sit.  He poured more wine, this time taking another bottle of Tokay from the wine cooler.  I was curious as to what food Vadas had ordered and surprised when he removed my cover and I had a large salad.  A lovely salad, but still a salad.  Vadas though had a large steak, potatoes and vegetables.  I looked pointed at his plate and then at mine and raised my eyes to him. 

“Ah! Women should not eat meat. It is too heavy for their systems.  Better they dine on light foods, maybe with a little fish, a little fowl,  but never meat.”  He was serious!

I smiled and started to eat my salad, watching him cut his steak.   With a laugh, he held out a piece to me and insisted on placing it in my mouth.

“I will feed you like a baby bird, but only from my hands will you eat meat. Understand? Men eat meat, it is good for the blood, but too much taints a woman’s nature.” 

I had no choice, but there was a nice piece of salmon under another cover.

Vadas enjoyed his steak, talking between swallows.  “You remember I told you I make the choices now?  You did agree to my words as I remember.”

“Yes, Vadas, as long as you don’t attempt to starve me.”

“Ah, Elizabeth, you will not starve in my presence.  A man takes care of a woman, whether his or another’s.”  His wit did not interrupt his attention to his food. He had a good appetite.

“Here, you don’t drink enough wine.  This is a different Tokay, but in America they always serve it too cold.  We will let it warm up, breathe, and finish off this bottle of Essence.”

He would get me drunk, and then starve me!  I laughed, for the wine was very good and went well with the salad.  He told me to drink only water with the salmon.   The next bottle of Tokay would be for our dessert.

Dinner over, he proposed we dance a bit, as they do in Hungary after a meal.  He played around with the remote, and some music came from the console. I was not familiar with this, but it was slow music, and rather nice.  Vadas reached out his hand and pulled me up to him, and led me to the middle of the floor where we could dance.  He was much taller, but more so, a large man, built solid.  There was something powerful about Vadas that went beyond his stature.  Perhaps it was his confidence, his ability to control the situation.  I was not used to such a man, and frankly, was a bit unsettled by his behavior.  It was strikingly different and alien.

He held me lightly, not crushing me to his body, but respectfully like a man would in public.  Every once in a while he would pull back and look at me, smile, and just the feel of his body, close enough for me to be very aware of his masculinity, was alluring.  He didn’t seem to be in any hurry to bed me, and I had toned down my expectations. This seemed to be what he wanted– a long, slow seduction.

A few more dances and I had to excuse myself.  When I returned, Vadas was sitting on the sofa, and he patted the seat beside him.  I started to sit down, when he pulled me over into his lap, cradling me in his arms.  He busied himself with unbuttoning my blouse, and laying both sides open he saw my black lace bra.

“Ah, Elizabeth, Elizabeth , what am I going to do to you?”

I thought those rather strange words from Vadas.  “What am I going to do with you” would have made more sense, but then again, Vadas was rather strange.

“You have beautiful Hungarian breasts, Elizabeth, large and shapely.”

I laughed, lying in his lap like a child, half exposed.   “Is everything Hungarian good, Vadas?”

“No, not everything.  Bureaucrats, government, police, most laws that don’t let me do what I want.  But I am looking at half- Hungarian breasts, and they are beautiful enough.”

“You are a romantic, Vadas.”

“Don’t confuse your American ideas of romanticism with mine, my dear Elizabeth.  You would be rather surprised.”

There was a little threat in those words that should have made me uneasy, but the Tokay interfered with my senses. Regardless how much Vadas drank of the wine, his remained clear.  He unzipped my skirt from the side, and pulled it down my legs, leaving me dressed only in my underwear and stockings.  I must have made an impression, for his dark eyes dilated and he sucked in his breath.  He pinched my nipples through the lace of the bra and then stroked my crotch with his strong fingers.  I was getting very aroused. Suddenly Vadas picked me up in his arms and set me vertical to his lap, my legs straddling him, my breasts at his mouth.  With a flick of his hand, he released the hook and pulled my bra from my shoulders.  He took one breast in his mouth and sucked and swirled his tongue around my nipple.  I threw back my head and groaned, grinding my hips into his lap.

Suddenly Vadas threw me across his lap, with my buttocks in the air, and slapped me hard with his left hand. I screamed out, yet he ignored my cries and continued to slap hard on my rump.  He stopped and stuck his hand between the cloth of my panties and into my flesh. 

“So, Elizabeth, you must like this rough play.  You are wet like a river. Now, dear Elizabeth, I want you to kneel before me. I want you to excite yourself with your hands.”

Vadas pushed me off his lap, I rolling onto the carpet beneath his feet. Looking up at him with great anger, my hair obstructing my face, I addressed him as sharply as I was able.

“No, I will not do that, and you will not treat me like a child.  I am a woman, you remember that, not a child to be spanked.”  I rose to my knees, my fists clenched tightly, for at that moment, I could have flown at him and pummeled him with all my strength.

He was smiling down at me, but his eyes were hard. “Elizabeth, perhaps you forget what we agreed.”  His voice was very low, and I strained to catch what he was saying.

Vadas rose from the sofa and stood over me.  “Stand up, Elizabeth.”  He extended his hand to help me rise. As I stood, Vadas pulled me into his arms, holding me where my feet could not touch ground.  I knew he appeared powerful, but holding me to him, my entire body pressed against his, made me realize that I was not in control of the situation.  Vadas was, enjoying my almost naked body against his, even my struggling to be released.

“Vadas, put me down, right now!  I demand you put me down!”

“Ah! You demand I do your bidding?  Well, I am the man and you are the woman, and I have the upper hand.  And will continue to have.  You, Elizabeth, remember our agreement.”

I was ticklish, and Vadas realized this.  Holding me to him with one powerful arm, he poked at my ribs until I was squirming and laughing in spite of my anger.  Suddenly, Vadas threw me on the sofa and I realized from my position that he had an erection.  I struggled to raise myself on my arms, looking at him through hair that now covered my face.  I was aroused, too, with our struggle, and glad to see it had moved Vadas in the same way.  He seemed less forbidding now, only a man.

Vadas saw were my eyes fell, gave a grin and lay down on top of me, his erection poking me where it was most desired.  Supporting his upper body with his arms, he attempted to sweep my hair out of my face.

“Elizabeth, you are such a little slut, but I can’t resist you.  You don’t know the rules yet, and I, who do, violate them this one time.  You bring my bull’s blood up.”

I laughed underneath him, my chest and belly heaving.  “Bulls Blood” was a Hungarian table wine, common, not elegant like the fabled “Essence”.  It was the difference between pennies and pounds.

Vadas kissed me tenderly, stood up, extending his hand to me.  I rose, and in one smooth gesture, Vadas had me in his arms, this time carrying me towards two closed doors.  Without dropping me, we entered his bedroom.  In the middle was a large poster bed, rather old fashioned in taste.  Vadas dropped me on the side of the bed and I looked up at him, my eyes studying his figure.  With a smile, Vadas started to unbutton his dress shirt.  I sat up, swinging my legs over the side of the bed, stopping him with my hand.  Sitting there, with him close by the side of the bed, I reached up and unbuttoned his shirt, kissing his bare stomach.  I slipped my arms around his torso, and stretched to lay my head on his chest, comforting myself with this intimacy.  Vadas had a hairy chest, something I was not used to. It felt strange to my face, tickled my nose. I breathed in his scented skin. Vadas threw off his shirt, his torso broad, a man of substance, not a boy before me, but a man in all the glory of his masculinity.

Part of Chapter Two, “Az Kapitany”

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted 2007-2011

THE SOPRANO, Part One.

September 26, 2008

This is an experimental piece, trying to describe the almost indescribable, at least for me.  It is the first part of several planned, and will depict the relationship that develops between the soprano and maestro over the course of working together on some difficult music in preparation for performance.  The ‘test of wills’ will be constant in the story, no real idea how it all ends.


THE SOPRANO/ SHORT STORY (Part 1)

Twenty minutes into the session and Eva knew she was lost.

She knew it was a test of wills.  You attempt to get your feet under you. You develop an opinion on what the music expresses.  That was crucial for interpretation.  But she couldn’t get to first base with this maestro.

He was coaching her, a well- known professional, also a conductor.  Eva was in London, her first time abroad under contract.  She was excited and nervous and sobering up fast under the hands and comments of Richard.  He worked her like a pony, and not with velvet gloves.

“Again, and this time open the mouth more.”

He flashed his eyes at her and she seesawed between annoyance and compliance. She knew there a period of adjustment between singer and accompanist.  Both of them would fight for dominance in interpretation.  Then things would settle down and they would begin to learn from each other. Once that began, she could turn her attention to the music, and sometimes magic would happen.  This session with Richard looked like frayed nerves and a coming train wreck.

Eva bridled at the ‘open mouth’.  That could go either way, depending upon the note sung.  Too open on the top would give a rawness, and perhaps sharpen the tone.  Pavarotti had just died, and a lot of tenors and a couple of baritones were glad of it.  In the last ten years his techniques were brutal. Some tenors were hurt vocally by his coaching. She was mindful of the lesson and mindful of protecting her voice.

They were working on a piece of Strauss lieder,  “Du meines Herzens Kronelein”.   The title was part of the first line, “You, little crown of my heart, you are pure gold; surrounded by others, you appear even lovelier.”  This was such an achingly beautiful melody, stroking like a lullaby, rocking like a cradle.  It was deceptive to sing because while lyrical in intent, the rhythm would push and flow with a constancy, surging on certain phrases, and falling back with a seductive curl around another phrase.  It was certainly emotive music, and really an advanced piece.  Commanding the German was another concern, but except some unexploded ‘d’ and ‘t’, she felt she had most of it.  It was all in the matter of placing it right in the bottom of the mouth and pursing the lips.

Two pages of unremitting agony!  The range was only Dflat to Gflat, no struggle there, but though she knew her intonation to be on the mark, Richard would find fault in the pronunciation of “Kro” with the umlaut. She wasn’t producing enough ‘cru’ for him. They were going round and round in circles and she was getting frustrated.  Even her breathing was off, a cardinal mistake and something that developed with nervousness.

“Look Eva, a break.”

Richard stood up from the piano. Taking her elbow, he led her over to the large window looking over the street.  They were in still in London, but in a quiet suburb with trees and sidewalk strollers under the leafy green canopy.   This apartment had been picked for the location to the hall.  She had three months to prepare, and she needed time to settle and dig into the music.  This contract was important.  She knew there were lots of other sopranos out there who could easily replace her. Eva needed to work her tail off.

Richard was tall, slender. He stood behind Eva, rubbing her shoulders, loosening her muscles. She let her eyes close and her head fall to one side. She needed this break.  It was an unexpected kindness, his hands working out the tension.  Eva felt him pull her back against him, whispering ‘hush, hush’. Both arms went around her waist and he settled his hands on her stomach.  A little strange, a little intimate, but in this business, the physical came with the training.  She had been told to sweep the floor, to rearrange books on a shelf, all the while singing a passage.  She even fenced a few stanzas while singing her head off. So, all in all, this really wasn’t unusual, just unexpected from this stern Maestro.  No sign of an erection poking her in the back, so she relaxed into his body.  This was part of “getting out of the way” something she attempted to do with every performance. Loosening the ego, the fear of failure, and allowing the music to course through her, to seep into every part of her body.

“Stay right here. Don’t move.”  Richard walked to the stereo and picked up the selector and again the disc of “Du meines Herzen Kronelein” started playing.  It was of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf recording in the late 1950’s when she had turned from light lyric soprano to lyric-dramatic.  Eva was at that stage now, when there was a significant extension in the middle workaday range, and she was enjoying it.  Too low, the voice fell out, she would have to be older to embrace those changes, but for now, she had extended her vocal range to enviable dimensions.  This piece of Strauss was perfect for this period of her vocal development.

Richard softened the volume, and came back behind her, placing his hands over her stomach, spreading his long fingers possessively over her lower abdomen. This time he moved with the swaying, lullaby rhythm, pulling her body with his in perfect unison.

“Close your eyes, Eva, trust me. Trust that I have you, I won’t let you fall.”

His voice was a low whisper in her ear, soothing, a soft chant she wanted to give herself to, a cradling lullaby, soft and calming her senses.

And so it began.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2008


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