Fiction | July 24, 2018

On the morning of October 19, 1559, the organist and sometime mathematician Stefano Di Pasqua assumed the position of choirmaster of the Basilica of Saint Anthony the Lesser in the city of San Egregio del Costos. Had you arisen early that day to observe the city fathers as they greeted the new arrival at the basilica, you would have been disappointed. Stefano Di Pasqua was not a popular choice for the position (actually, no one had ever heard of him), and the city fathers stayed home. Far more qualified men had been not beaten out for the job but rather swift in beating their retreats from it. Cardinal Moschella’s determined search for a harmonious replacement for the disgraced former choirmaster Giuseppe Russo yielded in the end but a single candidate, Signor Di Pasqua.

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