Murtaz clomped into the conservatory, bringing with him an unwelcome blast of frigid air that extinguished the candles and blew the pages of music all over the room.

“For the love of God, close the door!” yelled Otar.

“Sorry,” said Murtaz, pushing it shut. Otar struck a match and laboriously relit each of the ten tapers surrounding his desk. Murtaz raised his eyebrows. “Such extravagance! Did you inherit some money?”

“The church door was unlocked,” said Otar, gathering the sheets from the floor and arranging them on the top of the pianoforte. “I have the greater need, so it’s permissible.”

“We’ll see what the priest says when you confess.”

“I don’t intend to ever confess, my friend,” said Otar.

“Oh? Ascended to the ranks of angels, have you?”

“Something like that. God himself has spoken to me. In music. Beautiful music.”

“You’re certain that’s God you hear, Otar?”

“It has to be.”

The Georgian composer Otar Taktakishvili’s life began in Tbilisi, Georgia on 27 July 1924. Born into a musical family and steeped in the ancient and rich culture of his homeland, he went on to become the dominant force in Georgian classical music of the 20th century, composing the Georgian national anthem. I’m friends with his grandson and namesake, a fine musician in his own right (as well as a first-rate physician). This story is not in any way based on these facts.

What Pegman Saw: Georgia


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