Knowledge

It don't matter what song
Dinah Washington sings, 'cuz
her voice makes 'em all
torch songs of indigo fire;













when a Sabbath breeze fingers your cheeks,
Otis Redding rings even deeper
inside the satin holes pocking
the thought of another pubescent staircase.

No. 59 from Sky
...
by Adam Henry Carriere

Elizabethean Poetry

Imreh Plays Bach












Through memory's doors I skip.
Knocking fall snow off my shoes
I skid across the marble floor.
The gym---concert hall tonight---
smells like it did forty years ago.
Sweaty socks glazed over
by pine disinfectant.

The audience is small.
Once we were many,
the town growing, not this worn
old woman, her treasures
extracted like local mines¹ ores.

The lights go down.
Imreh takes the stage
formed of Danubian delicacy
and steel---Rumanian,
redhead---redolent of eastern
Europe perfume
medieval monasteries,
minarets.

(Her shiny gray strapless top
with black velvet flowers and ivy
caresses her, silhouettes
slender hips,
slithers over a long black wool
skirt.)

She explains chosen variations,
inscrutable, immutable
Bach.
The old Steinway waits
as the artist seats herself.
Begins.
Appasionato.

Little girls move in the front row.
Feet dangle
in snow-damp Mary Janes.
Swing in time.
Excitement frees heavy coats
thrown over chair backs.

I am such a girl again;
Shirley Temple curls spring
stiff from stale beer, above
my taffeta redingote,
brushing sock tops.
My fingers, trained since four,
move with

Imreh's. Wrapped in the sound blanket
I play. In love with music,
with life,
defending against blizzards

Imreh finishes. Her steel butterfly hands
flutter to her lap.
She stands, receives accolades.
Instantly I'm old, yet now immensely
renewed in life.

Spheres Evolve

An ancient sage, bent
under wisdom took
his ease beneath a quieting
pine. He heard music
of celestial spheres,
calling wheat to dance
on nearby golden hills
or dirges or triumphal
marches sung in cosmic rhyme.
He heard waters cascade
through spring, sensed their
silence during drought.
Every season's song
beat in perfect time.













An august
astronomer now lays
these wheeled
orchestras to rest. Yet
no lesser lays
beat in his intuition's
breast. Lyrics seduce,
strum within his heart,
reach others
whose hearts thrum
in synchronicity. Their rhythm
drowns anarchy's
tin pan cacaphony;
peace, at last, is won.

...by Elizabeth I. Riseden

How to Listen to Music

A Beginner’s Guide to Live Chamber Music

Welcome! You’ve made one great decision: coming to a concert. Now what? Well, you’re reading the program, another good start. This is a little helper and guide for you in any concert situation, and by no means the only way to enjoy a concert. We thought you might like some tips and observations from a veteranconcertgoer and avid fan of music.

Chamber music is very special, and it is a good basis for other sorts of musical events too, perhaps inspiring you to catch your local symphony, church choir or even brass band. These groups have the same sort of interaction that chamber music does, only on a larger level – so things you observe and hear here, are likely to show up in those performances too.

Get Cozy
Arriving a little early always helps listening to a concert. Not only being comfortable in your seat and being able to chat with your companionbeforehand, you might meet the people around you. Often audience members are not only quite friendly but they’re there for the music or performer – just like you! Being in the concert hall early also allows you to hear the acoustics (does it echo a little or a lot?) and what sort of set up is on stage: is there an organ you’ll hear? (or perhaps you’ll see a pipe organ and be interested in hearing it at a future event?) Is the hall wooden or modern? Is the d├ęcor pleasing?

Quiet Please
As the lights dim and the musicians come on stage, make sure you’ve looked at the program and won’t crumple, rustle or make extraneous noise. Concert halls are designed for sound – so when you make other sounds – the musiciansand other audience members will hear them too! Whispering to a friend or companion can be done between movements or pieces, but it’s more respectful not to talk while the musicians are playing.

Listen, Look, and Learn
So as the music starts, my recommendation is to have an open mind. Great music will speak to the mind and heart – and good musicians will pass this along. A pianist, string quartet, even an orchestra or choir will express the melody even though there may be lots of other notes that you are hearing. One easy key is to observe a conductor (not usually found in chamber music!) who will guide the ensemble and the audience in important points: where are they looking, what sort of gestures arethey making? In chamber music, almost always one musician will start the group – it’s really fun to see who that is – because it often changes, even during the middle of a piece. Another great aspect is to see the performers communicating with one another – you’ll often see players smile and look at one another.

Applause Etiquette
Applause comes (generally) after a complete piece of music –a little different from attending a sporting event or speech, where you might cheer or clap after a goal is scored or important point in a speech is made. A good rule of thumb is to clap when the rest of the audience applauds. As for standing ovations, I really believe they should be special, for a moment whenyou are really moved – in over 3,000 performances I’ve heard, perhaps 30 of those did I really believe were once in a lifetime and I had to jump up with excitement.

Brain Breaks
Intermission or a pause in the concert is a great time to get up, discuss the concert, and further check out the program, venue et al. The concert will resume and you’ll see and hear even more great music. Afterwards, stick around if there is a “talkback” and ask the performers a question; or if the artists are available to talk to or sign autographs, go meet them. Almost every great artist I ‘ve met or interviewed enjoys meeting folks after the concert. Let them know how much you liked the concert!

Share the Experience
Finally, if you enjoyed the concert, share it with someone else. Bring a friend to the next one, or friends. Music is written by a composer, but needs two elements to be successful: performers and an audience. Performers are just that, they want someone to play for…thank you for being here!

...by John Clare

Powers, in Double Sonnet Form











In this our life, some passages sound low,
As if guitar or lute set forth the Theme...
At other moments, solo oboe sounds,
Or flute or lone voice honestly achieves
A clearer statement of It. Then, sometimes,
Trumpets, mass'd strings, an orchestra at full,
Develops line into a Pattern. Whole,
An architect's extension (in the mind)
Turns what began into a mighty phrase
Of Something Original...Then, we recall
Quiet guitar, the oboe, and tunes more
As firm theme's golden thread runs through its
trace
Or grand expression. Thus, betwixt two tiers,
We hear the music of our lives play'd out
In strife majestic or simplicities...
Music has pow'rs, as odors contexted do,
Thus t''evoke far more than pure theme's line
Or sounds harmonious should draw from mind
Or from emotions...Even phrases new,
Chords and progressions not from 'standard'
themes
Can wield this sorcery: opening zones;
Teaching dimensions hitherto unknown;
Ceding men wonders trapp'd in webs of dreams.
Glad bondage this--to trace a wand'rer's path,
Find new directions out, new certainties,
New shadows, doubts, concatenations--these--
Unlook'd for splendors, whose high peaks' heights
dash
All former norms of wonder into bits:
Life is the realm that music dares to plumb;
Theme the mind's one most-potent instrument.

...by Robert David Michael (Cerello)

Musical Vocabulary

Passed along from our friends at classicallyhip.com where we'd otherwise just lift it ...

Obbligato - being forced to practice
Dominant - What parents must be if they expect their children to practice.
Con Moto - yeah baby, I have a car
Allegro - a little car
Metronome - short, city musician who can fit into a Honda Civic
Lento - the days leading up to Easto
Largo - beer brewed in Germany or the Florida Keys
Con Spirito - drunk again
Tonic - A medicinal drink consumed in great quantity before a performance, and in greater quantity afterwards.
Soto Voce - singing while drunk
Piu Animato - clean out the cat's litter box
Colla Voce - this shirt is so tight I can't sing
Improvisation - what you do when the music falls down
Prelude - warm-up before the clever stuff
Flats - English apartments
Chords - things organists play with one finger
Discords - thing that organists play with two fingers
Suspended Chords - useful for lynching the vocalist
Time Signatures - things for drummers to ignore
Melody - an ancient, new almost extinct art in songwriting
Klavierstuck - A term used by German furniture movers attempting to get a piano through a narrow doorway.
Music Stand - An intricate device used to hold music. Comes in two sizes- too high or too low - always broken.
Concert Hall - A place where large audiences gather, for the sole purpose of removing paper wrappings from candy and gum.
Agogic - playing high enough on an oboe to make the eyes bulge.
Cadenza - slapping noise on office furniture
Fandango - grabbing the pull chain on the ceiling fan
Prima Volta - jump start with a battery
Refrain - proper technique for playing bagpipes
Smorzando - with melted chocolate and marshmallow

A Musical Memory...

In a small town in Wisconsin in the early 1940s, a small girl sits rapt in front of the console radio, building houses out of clothes pins (no Legos then) and listening to the Metropolitan Opera. I was that small girl, seduced into music first by Milton Cross narration of the plots and second by the music itself. That first opera was part of the Ring Cycle and (Melchior) and Traubel were singing the major roles. I had found a secret world.

My mother thought that I had lost my mind. "Why are you listening to that screeching?" she'd call from the kitchen. "I like it. I like the story and music." From then for sixty years (until KNPR, the NPR affiliate in Las Vegas, senselessly cancelled the broadcasts in the face of great community opposition) I was transported to the Met on Saturday afternoons during the season. Its loss was oddly devastating - it was only a radio program after all I tried to tell myself. But, of course, it wasn't. It was part of the fabric of my life, as it was for many others, and then it was gone.

Now, wonderfully, it's back. Sirius Radio's new Metropolitan Opera channel, broadcasts both live and from the archives, giving us more than we could have dreamed of asking from any other venue.

...by Felicia Florine Campbell

Da Blues...

1) Most Blues begin, "Woke up this morning..."

2) "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line like, "I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town."

3) The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes... sort of: "Got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Yes, I got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher, and she weigh 500 pound."

4) The Blues is not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch--ain't no way out.

5) Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft and company motor pools ain't even in the running. Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

6) Teenagers can't sing the Blues. They ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, "adulthood" means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7) Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or any place in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the blues in any place that don't get rain.

8) A man with male pattern baldness ain't the blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg cause you were skiing is not the blues. Breaking your leg 'cause a alligator be chompin' on it is.

9) You can't have no Blues in a office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.

10) Good places for the Blues:
a. Highway
b. Jailhouse
c. An empty bed
d. Bottom of a whiskey glass

11) Bad places for the Blues:
a. Nordstrom's
b. Gallery openings
c. Ivy league institutions
d. Golf courses

12) No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, 'less you happen to be a old ethnic person, and you slept in it.

13) You have the right to sing the Blues if:
a. You older than dirt
b. You blind
c. You shot a man in Memphis
d. You can't be satisfied

14) You don't have the right to sing the Blues if:
a. You have all your teeth
b. You were once blind but now can see
c. The man in Memphis lived
d. You have a pension fund

15) Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues. Sonny Liston could. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the blues.

16) If you ask for water and your darlin' give you gasoline, it's the Blues.

17) Other acceptable Blues beverages are:
a. Cheap wine
b. Whiskey or bourbon
c. Muddy water
d. Nasty black coffee

18) The following are NOT Blues beverages:
a. Perrier
b. Chardonnay
c. Snapple
d. Slim Fast

19) If death occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse and dying lonely on a broke-down cot. You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or while getting liposuction.

20) Some Blues names for women:
a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie
d. Fat River Dumpling

21) Some Blues names for men:
a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie

22) Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Debbie, and Heather can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

23) Make your own Blues name Starter Kit:
a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.)
b. first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Melon, Kiwi, etc.)
c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.) e.g.- Blind Lime Jefferson, Jackleg Lemon Johnson or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc. (OK, maybe not 'Kiwi'.)

24) I don't care how tragic your life: if you own even one computer, you cannot sing the blues.

...submitted by John Clare

The Symphony Shostakovitch Never Wrote











The neatly-gentrified Mtsensk District plaster
buckles in all the right grey-painted places;
the aged, yellowing windows rise and fall
in fashionable decay. A well-upholstered citizen's
slum, drawn to exacting state specifications.

Local housing authorities recommend the childless
to abandon empty ravagings and become a true home.
I found a bare mattress with a soft, sagging middle age
lying in the center of the room. Upon closer examination,
I am pleased to report the womb is uncorrupted

by any illusions of hunger. Smart comrades rent
their own firesides to eat there nightly.
Neither a heart's central heat
nor a bloodstream's warm water
can find domicile with me; I am no icon.

After five doses of vodka prescribed
by my black marketeer, I'm a mere after-dark
sight for our revolution's children.
Aurora's explosions sprawl naked across
the wall, dreamlessly, in bourgeois fever

trying to silence gunship blades echoing
from the Hazarajat right through to my pillows.
The unscreened view overlooks the dingy
proletarian neighbors, unauthorized residents,
and a tinkling factory, where obsolete radio

parts are inefficiently manufactured by badly
motivated workers who over-scent the local Metro.
In the bitter dawn, poverty-stricken May Day
hero workers gather round the closed windows
of our privileged district, marching

to the song of an infant poet, compelling
unsympathetic voices to show solidarity.
Were the pain of that night katyusha,
a great people's victory would be assured.
The unclad working class panorama would slam

rusted doors on the promised land, ransack
determined belief from our official atheism.
I invite a young collectivist neighbor to join me
in a meal. We feed on each other's secret poetry,
drinking the communal smell of our voices

in the candle's scarlet; unaligned, our bodies
soon form their own brethren ministry.
The flat was overheated with the neighbor,
our bodies calling for vodka, the floor our towel.
He leaves in the morning, but occupies my mind

like a liberating people. I evade my soft job
and picnic alone in the Gor'kiy, realizing
the neighboring fantasy is a careless footfall
down a crooked staircase. I know each naked
picture is a counter-revolutionary flight

of relentlessly westward steps no trial
will slow. Somehow my frightened tears remain
hidden until I reach my building and find him
waiting for me in my mailbox. Our bodies
take an exploitive angle under the aristocratic

slump in the wall, covered with the newly-unclassified
pictorial potpourri depicting the State secret
of my love's childhood, from the Masurian Lakes
to the Pripet Marshes. We begin to read hundreds
of official pages, thousands of approved words,

medal-winning chapters of caged images put down
on pages torn from the closed eyes of my young
neighbor, down on the brown Tajik carpeting.
With conspiratorial pride, I lie beside him
and gaze up at the colorful Sputniks looming

over our conversation. I then lie even more,
to the watchers, to the listeners, and to myself,
over and over, lying about love in general, and
this, my unapproved, underground love, in particular.
I feel every inch of our joined bodies being

faithfully documented by Sinyavsky and Daniel;
when my young neighbor finally falls asleep,
I chronicle this obscurantist passion of ours
in a small notebook autographed by hero-poet
Zhenia. The following weekend, we eat unshelled

Cuban peanuts and drink post-colonial African beer.
We do each other's banned homework between
our committee's approved texts. We crash
down aging Tsarist staircases to dissent,
and crash back up with medal-winning heroism.

We rest inside our bedded gulag, a mutual blasphemy
one great, unobeyed ukase, our traitorous lie
as yet unpunished in any Sibirskoye labor camp.
Over morning tea and bread, I muster the courage
to send my unclothed chronicles to another

confidential friend at one of the State
publishing houses. Weeks later, Zhenia himself
mails us a precocious reflection of my young
neighbor and I. We read the dangerously human
verse over and over until our tears overcome us.

With Shostakovich candle-lit in the certainty
of the background, we intrude in each other's body,
spending the Decembrist night in a mutual unlight.
Waking, without the poetry of freedom,
a distressingly human-like tear

fell from my eyes, drowning the sight
of my loved one, a brother poet steeped
in our mutual mother, this holy Russia.
Like a greedy litter, we clamor for her
drooping breasts, warm with the blood

of anonymous masses, sweet with the milk
of our masters, our dirty hands and uneven
teeth pulling, sucking and wailing as we
maneuver for more. Without our sleeping mother,
life is a rocky Baltic crag, a cold memorial

wind-swept with the adolescent mysteries
of a million Petersburg call-boys. I met
one such prostitute, a glorious people's
achievement, along one of the Neva's
crumbling bridges. Our speculative rapture

was realist art, elation enough to arrange
the next debased sunset, a falling curtain
of scarlet irony we and the State could take
enormous pride in. At our bus stop,
the exploding babushkas cast icicles at us

standing among them, naked in the March frost,
dispassionately knowing we so irregular
are but a pogrom away from baby Jesus.
Our continuing humiliated childhood was a village apart,
not on the maps, burned to the ground

in some battle no one remembers; its ashes
burn my feet as I inspect a gravesite,
accompanied by another Komsomol hustler,
who was very thorough in his feigned mourning.
I think my tears made damp white imprints

in the snow, but Komsomol wiped them clean,
and progressed to my heart: "Death is still
far off," he whispered, making me believe him
with committee-scripted words made of kisses,
and the even more terrible policies of his body.

The early illusion of our beautiful slander
took place, down in the Karelian pine needles,
unwatched and unremarked on by the passing animals,
cryptic time, or police surveillance; back
in the city, watching an arrest sidled me with fear.

Returning to my neighborless apartment gave me fatigue.
That night, less the Boyar, I slept alone, in a tomb
of my genetics and the misfortune of my metaphysics.
Like those lads I rent, these sensual stretches
come and go, withdrawn from the front by bumbling

generalship of my warmth; how ashamed one is,
alone in a train station lobby with censored
newspapers and Kazak cigarettes, counting
boys as if they were a marshal's medals,
waiting for sealed traina to make me older

and better versed. I can imagine the fear,
coming to the hero's cemetery to bid adieu
to sullen dreams of the wounded.
Our envious, old friends, Vulcan's cannon-fodder,
twisted needles in the hellish, Teutonic haystack

created whole rivers of spilt blood for our uncle,
promising drink to the parched livestock on the
edge of our Muscovite homeland. I congratulate
the kulaks, who now part with us. In their small,
untroubled villages, they are famous, but outside,

they are the very season of grey
that make the passage of depressing hours
knock trustfulness from my soul, because
my bureau knows, gloomily, they are the next
meal for the terrible steel.

My traitorous westward letter was a lament
for my imprisoned, naked brothers. Like
a reminder of a sobbing infant, stripped
and always in danger, their sweet light
died in the marble hall, under orders,

at once, at first light - unfit, unpatriotic,
and unrequited, my queer brethren die, lying
to the young about youth, lying to the liars
about the lie. I've been reading how such pure
blood falls apart. All of Moscow believed it,

but stayed mute, strange to the demolished
church of our lost Israel, our family's
wandering pastels lost in the gilt edges
of the apostolic icons squirrled away
in the rain-soaked timber of the Dnieper,

for children who might choose to pray
in the post-nuclear future. Despite
the danger, Komsomol kept calling me.
He kept coming to the Ministry, coming
every night in the laughable safety of my arms.

As a bad joke cracked over our last cigarette,
I asked for every one of my roubles back.
Without his usual street-ridden suspicion,
Komsomol produced them from his pants. He
rolled the notes into an exotic surrogate cigarette,

which we smoked after kissing through our laughter.
Komsomol wanted a honeymoon, but insisted it be kept
secret. Night licked the fires in my heart silent
believe me, not every love sprouts love - sometimes,
it just comes, like frozen breath on the train

coach window as the Finnish frontier was passed,
and we made love for the first time,
liberated and admitted into each other.
Komsomol's young, white body was a laid-back shore
that let me sweep over it, wave by wave,

with the dark green and grey depths of my uniform
surging behind, a grim threat to the sand castles
crumbling around the edges near his soul.
For troubled weeks, we rustled beneath the quilts
of a disappeared comrade's dacha bed, like Gogol,

gnawing into the boy until we became one.
The subway was really talking now. The saliva
had frozen on our lips and made them red;
We had put each other's overcoats on,
making a bad match. Our fur hats were neither

stylish nor very impressive; until the Zil
limousine came to fetch us home, back
to Dzerzhinsky Square, the crowd's sniggering
gave off smoke in its derision. Their subsequent
silence made the ensuing poetry of our whispers

more expressive, hiding in the black leather
luxury of the car. Each of our fingers were cold
until we wrapped them up and satisfied the last
side street we hadn't explored. Weeks would pass
until we could make unofficial love again,

on another train, perhaps this time unsealed,
to Prague, to read poetry under the Charles Bridge,
to feed on each other's appetite against the Hunger Wall.
The mere mention of Bohemia reduces Komsomol to a swoon.
Light died in the winter we called ours. Something

dangerous whispered, 'Give thanks for your tears,'
before the daylight fell to pieces. The bellow
of roaring tanks masked the cursed saltwater
flowing from our bridegroom eyes, our cross
of solitudes. In no time at all, the country

house was re-assigned to State servants
of better record and higher quality.
Our feeble hearts were reduced to a provisional strike.
The garden's yellow flowers held fast in solidarity,
but official censure soon put that to an end.

All we had left were the kind ringing of the icicles
that were once thrown at us with motherly love,
their delicate, dissident chimes our only friend,
their carillon lulling us to obedient sleep
despite the nonconformity of our frigid bodies.

The twentieth century sun bathed luxuriously
over our garden ice, making the snow glisten
like a collective growing diamonds instead of wheat.
Memories of the city disappeared under the skin
of the eternal ice and into the gentle white night

that walked past our private gulag,
making Komsomol whimper in captive despair.
What a rude sobering the spring is. Bewitched
by solicitous fathers' guiding, their advice
leaking like sewage from a clover field.

Dwarf birches have begun to blossom
through the cracks in our bedroom window.
Komsomol is very quiet these days, cast off from
his fellows in the cosmopolitan train stations.
He still writes a contented poem to me every day,

like Osip, hides it in my lunch for safe-keeping.
Something about our silent, two-comrade Soviet
is brave, yet, we are betrayed. We live, and are alive.
We are completely free, but, even together,
we are without joy in the falling seasons.

...by Adam Henry Carriere