Photo by Candia Dixon-Stuart
Aeolian harp, Alpenglow, dendrology, gibbous moon, Il Bosco Che Suona, luthier, Magnificent Sorella, master craftsman, Mother nature, musical instrument maker, Pale di San Martino, terroir, topography, Val di Fiemme, violin
btristan Predazzo (TN) 5 Sept, 2009.
L’abete di risnanza gives you wood
from the Val di Fiemme, the Magnifica Sorella.
In that forest of harmony is Spruce,
cradled by Pale di San Martino;
warmed in turn by Alpenglow and then chilled.
Prolonged, reduced solar activity
narrows its rings; matches them to your wrinkles.
Your belly has developed fine grain lines;
your voice has a sylvan modulation.
You haunt Il Bosco Che Suona,
a seasoned genius, skilled in selection.
Work is a divertimento for you.
The gibbous moon is your precise signal
to select the slow-maturing timber
to be quarter-sawn; air-dried in your shop.
The vibrating air, combined with your breath,
creates singing sap, needles, resin,
responsive, like an Aeolian harp
and the terroir gives you vine ash for your reds,
which stain your hands, transforming you to live tree,
bridging the gap between man, instrument,
climate, topography, dendrology.
When your master craftsman fingers relax
and your touch becomes lighter and lighter
and Fortune fells you just where you have stood,
for aeons, those in your shadow will grow,
more vigorously for having known you
and your arcane method of fusing strength
with Mother Nature’s flexibility.
They will internalise resonances
from tonewoods subject to your discipline.
Autorotation will spread all your skills.
Though, in the beginning was Man and Tree
and an inhospitable mountain range,
now Nature has been given her own voice.
an alternative tuning.
In the Sarabande,
Bach’s audience is showered
with Baroque pollen
and hears cello strings vibrate
in harmony with
the frequency of a bee.
The musician’s taut thighs grip;
ground the instrument.
Way up in the clerestory,
there’s a resonance
which might have provoked a hum
from the composer himself.
The concert was a couple of years ago, but planes are flying over
as we read of Ukraine being a focus of global interest yet again…
Two equal partners: piano and cello
bemuse the bat-stilled, fusty atmosphere.
Birdsong, muffled bells quietly interrupt;
counterpoint the sonata’s elegance.
Grace notes, acciatura mesmerise.
I follow an elbow’s flamboyant flash,
the audience transfixed on numbing pews.
The Allegro non troppo fades away.
Mercifully, no one claps before the
Allegretto quasi Menuetto begins.
Brahms played this piano accompaniment,
so intensely, that Gansbacher complained
his cello contribution was effaced.
There is no remonstration possible
as stained windows darken and behemoths,
such as extinguished the lights of Baghdad,
ravage pale skies over Lechlade-on-Thames:
Operation Rolling Thunder, Cold War,
Desert Fox raise apocalyptic heads.
Bikini Atoll, The Vietnam War,
Syria, Kosovo, Afghanistan.
Professional musicians persevere,
as Sarajevo’s lone cellist once played.
And we carry on listening – trying
to sublimate the Stratofortress engines,
sensing we are under the Dragon Eyes,
as they loiter over the leaded roof.
Their performances lead to a Boneyard.
Brahms lovers sense there are no smart bombs,
nor are there conventional munitions.
The faint music from calm spheres in deep space
is a Wiegenleid above sonic booms
and communicates the power of peace.
Photo by Candia Dixon-Stuart
In the 70s there used to be an advertisement for Knight’s Castile soap. The
jingle was sung by Cleo Laine:
Knight’s Castile is a bird in flight-
Shimmering, golden and the price is right-
(Cue for husky falsetto mimicry)