The Erotic Études Opus VI
Étude I - Ludwig (I)
The world changed, the night we met. I was a regular at Coffé Baum, though there was no telling when I would disappear from the table on one of my obscure missions, when inspiration struck me, and I was never questioned on these disappearances. That night, I was at the penultimate moment when my glass was empty, and I hesitated before calling the taverner once again, because I felt an increasing urge to bolt for the evening. Emil had captivated the group with another story I had heard too many times at school, and I was fading into that ennui which tempted me to return once again to my heap of uncompleted work.
And the door opened, letting in a breath of late winter air and shaking the rain off his hat, he came in. I turned on impulse to look, and my breath was arrested by his smoldering gaze, which he turned immediately in my direction, and I cast my eyes down, blushing.
As I feared, Emil had witnessed the brief exchange of glances, and called out his pet name for me. "Skulander, invite him over - don't you know who that is?"
"What?" I stuttered, all eloquence swallowed by the embarrassment of staring too frankly at a stranger. "No - who?"
"That's Schuncke - the best klavier virtuoso in Germany!" he whispered fiercely, probably hoping the youth would hear him.
Nicola, always most garrulous when drunk, shouted from our table: "You there - the pretty blond!" And since he was the only one to have just entered the room, Schuncke turned toward the voice. "Let us offer you a drink at our table. Pianist, aren't you?" Nicola persisted.
He smiled, and came over. Oh, when he smiled. And looked at me. "You're Schumann, right? The composer? You're the one I came to see." His voice was low-pitched, the diction, a hint of Schwäbisch, but distinctly High German. I nodded, blushing all over once again, and he had his hand out long before I came back to myself adequately to shake it. "They said I would find you here most nights. If I came late."
"It is definitely late!" Nicola cut in, leapt up, and pulled over a seat for him between us. Schuncke sat and with deliberate care, pulled his gloves from his hands. His hands…
He smiled gratefully as Nicola, playing host, set a stein of pils before him, and he took it up in his impossibly long fingers. He quickly became occupied answering a round of questions from the overly-informed Nicola about his latest concert tour.
a * s * c * h
"Do you remember?"
I spoke into the silence that followed the intensity of our passion, "Do you remember? the first night you walked into the Coffé Baum?"
Ludwig laughed briefly, low. "You couldn't stop looking at my hands." He held his hand out, and I stroked it lightly, sighing.
"So - beautiful…" I whispered, and his hand crept, seemingly of its own accord, up the side of my face as he leaned toward me. "And now, could you stand me again so soon?" he laughed again, and placed his mouth on my own. He was never sated, and despite my weariness, I would not refuse him: but he did not await an answer.
I was seized in his facile hands, enslaved to his hungry mouth… but after a brief attempt to arouse me once again, and failing, he leapt up, without a stitch on, and throwing on his robe, announced "There is one thing that revives you faster than a bottle of red wine," and sat down at the piano. And I knew what he would play: what he always played when I was coy or tired…
"Shh! Not so loud, the Hartsteins will have fits," I protested, and he objected, not losing the rhythm of the Toccata as he prattled.
"Oh, I would say they have had one round of fits already. You groaned like a dying sow when you came!" he said, and settled into the cadenza, drowning out my half-formed objection.
And as he played, I drifted into a waking dream of his marvelous white hands, his beautiful face, the magnificent energy with which he attacked everything he did… and sooner than I had expected, ended the piece with perfect execution (considering the full darkness in the room,) and with no less energy, pounced as I lay outstretched on the bed, seizing me in both hands as though I were a new composition, and said, "That should have fixed you, I daresay…" And I knew nothing more but the taste of his hot mouth once again upon my somewhat more enthusiastic organ.
"That was not the groan of a dying sow," I rebuked him, as we shared the smoldering taste of my last cigar between us. His breath caught painfully when he inhaled, and he shuddered with a deep cough. I knew that cough - Julius lay abed all winter with that cough. It was consumption. I said nothing, but grew quiet as the spasm passed, tempted once again to remind him not to smoke. But how could I? If it were the consumption, there was little to be done, and one cigar more or less would mean nothing.
Ludwig. The very image of Friedrich Schiller in life… tall, slender and blond, the curls falling to his shoulders in graceful waves. What enamored me of him more than anything, was watching him play, with the studied aggressiveness of a man certain of his virtuosity. The first night he played for me, he performed the first piano sonata of Chopin. As he completed the final chord, glanced up to see the look upon my face, and in one fluid movement reached over with his left hand to caress my face, and kissed me.
"You are the ideal audience," he murmured. "Do you want to hear some more, or do you have something else in mind?" Suddenly shy of the attention and of the unexpected kiss, I did not reply, and in the silence, he laughed quietly and took my hands, placing them on his shoulders, his next kiss lingering upon my lips.
"I see you're the shy type," he said conversationally, popping my jacket buttons open one by one.I arrested his hand, holding it for a moment, attracted by thesheer lean musculature that could produce such beauty from the piano. "Play something else, first." He took a breath, and turned, repositioning himself at the keyboard.
"Very well, then. Shall I play something by you?" Without waiting for answer, Ludwig dashed flawlessly through the Opus 1 variations, and before I knew it, he finished, resting those beautiful white hands upon the keys, and gazed once again into my face.
"All right then. What now?"
"I wish to be the ideal audience," I replied, and rose, taking him by the hand.
We undressed one another slowly, interrupting one another with more and more passionate kisses. My heart was beating fast, as I slipped his shirt from his shoulders, revealing his hairless chest, the hollow of his belly… and he whispered hoarsely as he reached the top button of my trousers, "Let me taste you, first," freeing my already-aroused organ from my clothes. He knelt, grasping it tightly and guided it into his open mouth.
I gasped, and sunk my fingers into his blond curls, steadying myself against the onrush of sensation as my new lover swallowed me whole. For long moments, I could neither think nor speak, as I rapidly approached an unavoidable climax from the pressure of his insistent mouth, and pressed my hand against his shoulder to let him know. But he knew…
"My God," I groaned as my climax escaped me, and I shuddered from head to foot. The shuddering subsided, and Ludwig stood, smiling a wet smile.
"Fast, but good," he remarked. "Like a Mendelssohn concerto," and placed a salty kiss on my mouth.
I found my way, shakily, to the bed and lay down, before realizing that he had left the room. He called from the kitchen "Do you have any wine?" and I replied "Icebox." He emerged with the single bottle of Weißherbst I had put there the previous day.
"Icebox, my my. You are quite the aristocrat," he commented, as he twisted out the cork, and plopped down next to me on the bed.
"My mother told me it is not worth having wine without an icebox. She had it sent."
"Wise woman," he said, setting down the glasses on the headboard. "Am I pouring for two?" and I nodded. We drank in silence for several minutes.
"Ludwig," I started reluctantly, placing a tentative hand upon his shoulder, "There's something I would like to ask you to do."
"That is what is so cute about you. You are so bold when you write, and so shy in person. What would you like me to do? Play the violin now?" He had taken a position lying on his side, still half dressed in his linen trousers, and gestured with the now-empty wineglass.
"I want you to fuck me," I said. "You don't have -" but before I could continue he had leaned down and silenced me with his mouth.
"I'd love to. Just one more glass of wine. And have you any lubricant? Salad oil? Butter?" Then he rose, and wandered back into the kitchen to search.
"No salad oil. I have lots of butter…but how about mineral oil?
It's in the cabinet there."
"A little more seemly," he remarked, bringing the bottle back in with him. "Curious you'd have this right at hand…" he smirked, unbuttoning his trousers, and knelt at my side.
"My god, what is that?" I pointed at his penis, frightened by its size.
"Oh, nothing special. Change your mind?"
"No - " I replied reluctantly. "But be careful."
"I have done this before." He saw the look that passed my face. "Ah, no worries. Cousins only, virgins both, pure and disease free." As he rubbed the oil on himself he grew completely erect. "Now if I'd used butter, I would be utterly delicious toasted," he joked. I lay panting slightly as I watched him prepare himself for me.
And he was careful, teasing me open gently with his fingers; despite this I let out a gasp upon first entry, and he halted and withdrew immediately. "Are you all right?"
"Nervous," I answered, tight-lipped. "Don't stop. Don't stop now."
Very slowly, very gradually then, he proceeded, until I opened my eyes and the look of strain on my face, passed. "You can open your eyes now. I'm in." I had not realized that I had closed my eyes and held my breath. "Now we can wait a bit."
By degrees, I relaxed, feeling a constant but no longer uncomfortable pressure from his delicate, gradual entry. And as though some affirmative signal passed between us that I was only slightly aware of he began at first still quite gently, to pull back and thrust, each time with more force, until he had established a regular rhythm.
By the rise of tension on his face, and the increasing pace, I could sense his approaching climax, which distracted me momentarily from the impending pressure of my own, when like a seizure it overcame me in a spasmodic wave which engulfed Ludwig moments later, and wracked his climax from him in several bursts. I was breathless.
He withdrew carefully and we collapsed in one another's arms. He spoke close in my ear, "I did it, didn't I?"
"Yes, yes, yes, you did it, my God…" he reached up then, with his mercifully long arms, and retrieved the wine bottle, and poured what was left into our glasses, offering a toast to success.
Much later, I woke to a distant sound, and got out of bed and went to the door. It was Ludwig down the hall in the toilet, coughing. It seemed to go on, and on, and a familiar anxiety awoke in me, an anxiety I had felt for so many years for Julius. It seemed his coughing would never stop. After a time, I could not bear listening, and returned in dread to the bedroom. The joy of our mutual pleasure, the erotic discovery we had made in one another, was marred by this moment in the dark hallway. Before he returned to bed, I wiped away the tears that had slipped down my face during the horrid spasm of his fit. He had not told me, but he hadn't needed to. I knew that Ludwig was sick.
Oh, that year. Was it even a year? The marvel of our love, the endless hours at the piano, the inspiration that arose in me, because of him…
I began a larger piano work, a series of intricate variations for which I had no title, except the numeric designations I, II, III… I had just composed IX when he arrived back in Leipzig from a brief tour in Prague, and teased the manuscript out from under my pen. "And what is this?"
"Études. Variations, like in the ABEGG, but more structured." My hands yearned toward the manuscript, unfinished, vulnerable, but Ludwig would not surrender it.
"Here, let me." With the sight-reading ability of true genius, he took the first reading at almost full tempo, and I was amazed. "Starts off easily enough…" and he turned to II. "Ah…" and he leaned in, concentrating. As always, my pleasure was provoked by watching him play, sitting at his left hand. I caught the inkwell slipping along the edge of the piano from the vibration of his playing, and closed it carefully, and sat, listening in silence, as he played the first nine Études for the very first time.
"I know what you should call these," he announced when he got to the end of the manuscript. "The Symphonic Études. These are studies for a symphonic movement. I can hear it in the left hand."
Symphonic Études. I mulled that over. Rather grand for a solo piano work, I thought. But to be so called by the best virtuoso in the country… perhaps the idea has merit!
"The Symphonic Études. Has anyone ever called anything by that name? I don't want it to be ridiculous up against Bach's or Schubert's or -"
"I'll look into that. But I think you should consider it, nonetheless. Amazing how much inner voice you achieve with those arpeggios… and you, with ink all over your lip, what do you do, bite your pen?" He leaned forward from the piano bench and put a kiss over the purported ink blots. "Mmm, tastes like India ink. Must be."
No longer shy of him, having achieved comfort in our relationship, I did not hesitate to drag him away from the piano and into the bedroom, setting the inkwell down at last.
"What do you think? This is the first time you've seen the place in daylight since we got it!" While he was away, I had arranged for our things to be moved into new lodgings nearer to the Gewandthaus, where I was now giving lessons half time. Now that he had returned, we would have a party to celebrate not only our new home but our new endeavour, the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. I had a large number of critical reviews stored up which I had not submitted to the Leipziger Musikalische Zeitung, because I feared the editor's hand restraining my opinion of the New Germans, as they called them. Advertising is all it was. I would not advertise, not even my own compositions! Leave that to the competitors, if they dared.
"It will do," he said briefly, embracing me. We made love, half on the bed, half on the new Persian carpet, and began to plan for the inauguration of the Zeitschrift.
Everything was hurried that year. In the small hours of the moist, cold night, when Ludwig slipped out of bed for his regular fit of coughing, I could sense that our time together was short, and growing shorter.
Download The Erotic Études in PDF format.
Requires Adobe Reader.
The Erotic Etudes Index
[ I ]
[ II ]
[ III ]
[ IV ]
[ V ]
[ VI ]
[ VII ]
[ VIII ]
[ IX ]
[ X ]
[ XI ]
[ XII ]
[ XIII ]
[ XIV ]
[ XV ]
[ XVI ]
[ XVII ]
[ XVIII ]