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The Magic Shop

Recording details                                      

1. Overture

It was the day before Christmas. Masha and her mother were about to go to the fair. Since the morning Masha had a feeling that today she was going to experience something… extraordinary. The Christmas market overwhelmed her with its busy rustle, fragrant spices and jolly laughter. All of a sudden, in the middle of the road where from time to time beautiful carriages swooshed by, Masha saw something in the snow. It was a puppet or a toy, but somehow looked as though it were alive. Her body turned numb: a carriage with tree horses was racing directly towards the toy. Following some magic call, Masha obediently rushed to the road and grabbed the toy just before it would have been trampled.

Beside herself with excitement, she finally had a chance to have a closer look at what she was holding. It was a little gnome dressed in green boots, a blue jacket and a red cap. Masha pressed the toy to her chest tightly… and suddenly she saw, right in front of her, a dazzling-bright shop window with a glowing sign: “Magic Shop”.

The shop window was full of amazing toys, and they appeared as if they were real. They smiled and bowed to Masha. At the entrance door stood a man in a black cloak and a hat tipped down over his brow. He must have been the shop owner. He invited Masha to come inside.

And unexpectedly her mother appeared. She had been looking for Masha and was very worried. The girl wanted to show her Mom this wonder, the Magic Shop, but it had disappeared… and the Christmas fair whirled around with renewed vigour!

2. Christmas Eve

In the evening Masha was alone in her room. She arranged all her toys in couples on the floor pretending they were dancing at a ball. The whole day she kept hold of the little gnome and now, holding it tightly in her arms, she danced with it and was the true princess of this toy ball.

3. Little Gnomes

Masha didn’t remember how she fell asleep on the floor among the toys. She couldn’t say how long she had been asleep when she was awakened by a quiet chime. Candles gleamed everywhere, and little gnomes were dancing in the middle of the room. Masha could even count them – there were exactly twelve dancing as numbers on a clock, each representing an hour. At the end of their caps were tiny bells – this is where this gentle jingling had come from!

4. Pathway to the Magic Shop

One of the gnomes approached her and took a bow. Masha recognized the gnome she had saved on the street – only now it was not a toy! Suddenly, the window opened quietly and moonlight filled the room. The little gnomes took the girl by the hand and walked along the moonbeam path… Masha did not recognize her street! Everything seemed unfamiliar. Although it was winter, she didn’t feel cold. Being with the little gnomes, she realized she had nothing to fear and that they wanted to let her in on an amazing and magic secret.

When they finally arrived, Masha immediately recognized the shop she had seen at the fair. The door was open, and Masha could hear noise, jolly laughter and the tuning of a big orchestra from inside. When she walked in, she was even more surprised to see a huge, bright, spacious room with beautiful columns and fountains even though from the outside it looked like a small shop. Indeed, there was a big orchestra on the balcony. The conductor bowed courteously to the Host standing in the middle of the room and everybody around him took a few steps back. There were many guests in marvellous costumes and masks. They politely clapped welcoming Masha to the ball.

5. Opening Fanfare

The Host announced that they are very pleased to have Masha as a guest of honour, because she had saved one of the little gnomes who, as gnomes often do, had been travelling along the paths of time when it got lost and turned into a toy. The Host signalled and Masha was immediately seated in a big soft chair. The fanfare sounded and the ball opened!

6. Shepherd Boys

Masha was first greeted by the shepherd boys. They danced with such grace and elegance! While they were dancing, the color of their costumes changed along with the music.

7. Malvina & Piero

When at the end of their performance the shepherd boys completely dissolved into thin air, the squirrelly coquette Malvina and a very sad Piero appeared in the middle of the room. One could read on his pale face that he was rather in love with his own sorrows, and not Malvina.

8. The Sheriff

Malvina and Piero yielded the floor to the valiant sheriff wearing a cowboy hat, banging the spurs on the heels of his boots and shooting his pistols. Accompanying him were his cowboy friends, slightly intoxicated. They were jumping over each other, turning somersaults, standing on their heads, shooting at empty bottles as if it were in a tavern!

9. Little Cooks

The next performance was even funnier! Several happy little cooks appeared in the middle of the room carrying a huge pot where something was bubbling and gurgling. They were followed by a fat chef who was giving short instructions while continuously chewing on something…

All of a sudden, a fluffy little chicken popped up out of the pot and started dancing together with the cooks.

10. Tango

The spotlight shot over to a beautiful couple – a lady in a dazzling-white dress and her gentleman in a black tuxedo. With the swift motion of the conductor’s baton, the orchestra revved a hot tango.

Masha was deeply amazed and overwhelmed with joy. She had never seen anything like this before. There were so many miracles, lights and so much music! Every performance was so unique and extraordinary that it took her breath away! Impressions overwhelmed her and she felt as though her heart would now jump out of her chest and burst into a thousand pieces!

11. Matryoshka Dolls

The lights dimmed slowly, everybody became quiet, and matryoshka dolls elegantly glided into the room.

12. The Minstrel

This tranquil mood was carried on by an anonymous minstrel. He was very sad and his purple dress made his face look even paler.

13. Moraziana

The appearance of Latin-American dancers brought out a particular excitement and general enthusiasm. Multicolored costumes, skilled and confident moves, unbelievable mimics and gestures, the music splashing with joy – all this reinvigorated the evening.

14. The Star Gazer

“You do not know from the bird’s song, how much it has yet to live…
There’s nobody on the road this late autumn evening”.

This is what the star gazing poet was singing about. His song was not emotional on the surface, but had a sea of spiritual concentration, calmness, as if everybody’s eyes turned inside.

15. The Wizard

Now Masha was nervous. The Host was distant and terse. When he came closer, his smile barely recognizable at the corner of his lips, Masha got the shivers. During his fantastic performance, it became clear that he – the Host – is not only a wizard, but that he is the great commander of all kingdoms on earth. He was constantly changing faces, but the scariest moment was when he suddenly began to grow, the ceiling disappeared, and the wizard rose to the clouds.

16. Closing Fanfare

When Masha came back to her senses, the room was still full of guests, dazzling lights, noise and laughter. The Host was holding her hand as if saying, “Calm down, there’s nothing more to fear”. He waved his hand, the fanfare blared and all the performers of this magic ball appeared for the final dance.

17. Finale

18. The Organ Grinder

Everything vanished with the last chord. It was early Christmas morning. Masha found herself alone on the market square, under a big beautifully decorated fir tree. The town was waking up. Here and there lonely strangers went by muffling their hands and noses from the falling snow. Masha heard the sound of a hand organ near by. Glancing at the organ-grinder, she saw familiar features in his face. That was him – the Wizard of the “Magic Shop”!

Engulfed by a great wave of sorrow, Masha felt a sudden pain in her heart. She was terribly sorry that everything had ended so soon and would not come back again. She had nobody she could tell about it and nobody who would believe her. She felt so lonely and quietly started to cry.

19. Epilogue

The sun was high. The snow sparkled under its light. Only now Masha noticed that she was holding the little magic gnome. He was a toy again, and only his tiny eyes kindly and joyfully looked at the girl. Soon she felt as if her eyes were covered with a silver veil, as though light clouds of fog wallowed up and absorbed the whole town… the organ-grinder… the Christmas tree… herself… Somewhere something babbled, rustled and prattled, strange sounds dissolved in the distance. The heaving waves carried Masha higher and higher… higher and higher… higher and higher…

© 2011 Little Tragedies