A Princeton professor has less than one night to live. His physician visits him in the hospital late in the evening. Dr. Dean is uncomfortable interacting with the dying man. He feigns optimism about the clinical situation and offers false hope but avoids eye contact with the professor and urgently exits the room. A compassionate nurse, Mrs. Roszel, is on duty. Before bedtime, she gves the professor a blue pill that dampens the constant pain in his stomach and also provides a pleasant sensation of weightlessness.

Out of nowhere, he hears a beautiful melody played on a violin. It is barely audible and imperceptible to the nurse. The professor has been a violinist since his youth, and the music triggers a flashback. Sixty years earlier, as a 15-year-old boy, he visited a small town in Italy. The silence of the village was punctured by heavenly violin music. Time slowed and then stopped. Light surrounded and permeated him before giving way to absolute darkness. Was it enlightenment or heatstroke? He awoke and saw a priest hovering over him.

Like that day long ago, the violin music now playing in his hospital room is still a revelation. The harmony reveals the mystery of the universe - the connection between time and space and light. Suddenly it is imperative that the professor shares this new knowledge before he dies. Calling fo Nurse Roszel, he attempts to impart to her what he has just discovered. She is baffled by the language but listens intently anyway.


The Violinist is one of seven connected stories in a collection highlighting the unique effects of music on individuals. Music not only resonates within us but additionally elevates, inspires, and enlightens us. This story has an ambitious agenda: the secrets of the universe, revelation, the transmission of knowledge, and the idea of music as a portal to God and otherworldly experiences. The Violinist poses two linked questions: How do we arrive at knowledge? How do we pass it along to others? For the protagonist of this tale, words and language are ambiguous. The character of the professor may be modeled on Albert Einstein.

The first three pages of the story effectively describe a doctor's difficulty in dealing with a dying patient. We sense the physician's awkwardness and instinct for distancing himself from the dying man. Yet the doctor's duty to simply be with his patient and his need to touch the man are equally apparent. Both the physician and nurse struggle to find the appropriate words to say to someone who is near death. Body language says more than words. The dying patient is relieved to be left alone.


Translated from Serbian by Alice Copple-Tosic

Primary Source

Seven Touches of Music


Aio Publishing Company

Place Published

Charleston, South Carolina



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