Lorenzo Martini was a gifted violinist. He had learned to play while still a young boy. By the time he reached the age of 13, he could play anything written by classical composers by sight. In fact, he could play a composition perfectly after hearing it only once.
Lorenzo was too independent to sign a contract with a major orchestra, but he often made a guest appearance. After all, he could not play the violin concerto of Beethoven or Brahms unless he had an orchestra at his disposal.
He preferred to give his own concerts. At these concerts, he often performed music of his own composition. Sometimes he came to a concert hall equipped with nothing but a few themes and played impromptu variations on them.
Typically, he would begin a concert by playing a moving theme, sometimes in a minor key. He would then offer a few simple variations of the theme, followed by variations of ever increasing complexity, until the audience with stunned by his breathtaking virtuosity. He concluded with a coda that made their heads spin.
The second movement offered a change of pace. He repeated the original theme at a slightly slower tempo. The poignant variations that he offered affected the audience deeply. Only the most stalwart refrained from tears.
The last movement used the same thematic material, but in a playful fashion. Sometimes it frolicked outrageously, but usually the humor was more reserved. As soon as he played the final note, thunderous applause immediately followed.
As time passed, his reputation grew to such an extent that people began to tell stories about him. It was whispered that the powers of darkness had endowed him with the marvelous ability that he possessed. They thought that he was a modern Dr. Faustus who had sold his soul to the devil.
The rumors amused him. When questioned about his alleged friendship with Satan, he usually smiled mysteriously or tried to look diabolical. He was a good actor, and his best devil imitations occurred when he was interrogated by newspaper reporters.
When he was 22 years old, he married Tina Fiducci. She was a devout Christian, and at first he was not too enthusiastic about her piety. However, she was a wonderful wife, and he began to feel that God was responsible for the happiness that he enjoyed with her. Out of gratitude, he began to attend church regularly with his wife.
They were blessed with two children in the first three years of their marriage. The oldest was a son named Giuseppe; the youngest was a girl named Mona. However, soon after the birth of Mona, tragedy struck.
A cult of Satanists led by Samiel Hawser believed the rumors about Lorenzo’s association with the devil. They thought that if Lorenzo joined their cult, his popularity would attract members. They approached him in private and urged him to join. When he refused, they kidnapped him and made some vain attempts to brainwash him.
Finally, they threatened to kill his wife and two children if he refused to join. This forced him to negotiate with them. He still refused to become a member. He did not want to undergo the satanic initiation rites, and he rightly felt that his wife would not want him to join under any circumstances. However, he said that they could tell others that he was a member if they liked, and he offered to play for people interested in membership.
As expected, many prospects appeared when they heard that Lorenzo was a member and that he would even play especially for them. Strangely, none of the prospects ever became members, even though some of them had been keenly interested in Satanism.
There was a good reason why no one joined. Lorenzo could literally speak with his violin. He used themes that vividly portrayed the love of God and the glories of heaven. If the devil was in the heart of a listener before Lorenzo played, the soul of the prospective Satanist was raised to heaven by the celestial melodies that the violinist played. Even the members were affected. Many left the cult and started going to church.
Eventually Samiel realized what Lorenzo was doing. After discussing the matter with his leading members, they decided to kill Lorenzo.
However, the police raided their compound before they had the opportunity to carry out their plan. The cult had amassed a large number of illegal firearms, and they occasionally used them for murder. The police learned about this from one of the conscience-stricken members who had left the cult when he heard Lorenzo play. He told everything that he knew, and did not hide the crimes that he himself had committed.
Although the raid of the police saved Lorenzo’s life, it was not an unmixed blessing. The police thought that he was a member and put him in jail. They did not believe his explanations. He was indicted with the others and put on trial. Needless to say, all the newspapers reported the event. Radio and television stations also spread the news.
At the trial, many people whom Lorenzo had rescued from Satanism by his playing appeared and testified in his behalf. Their testimony was so moving that the prosecutor asked the court to drop the charges against him.
His wife had been disturbed by the reports that he had joined the Satanists, but she never really believed them. She took it to the Lord in prayer, and her prayers were answered in a marvelous way when she attended the trial.
After this, whenever anyone asked Lorenzo if he had acquired his marvelous ability by a pact with the devil, he categorically denied it. He was no longer amused by the rumors.