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  #21  
Unread 05-21-2021, 01:44 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Julie - I've seen "Quick Change" a while back on Metrical. I loved it then and still do. It was nice to read it again! "Final Performance" is disturbing and very well written. I remember your long poem at The New Verse News. I enjoyed it a lot and will read it again later today. By the way, I've played The Nutcracker more times than I can count. I've also played Chichester Psalms several times, too, both in its original full orchestral version and also the chamber version. I think The Nutcracker is perhaps Tchaikovski's best piece. Chichester Psalms is one of Bernstein's most enjoyable pieces, too.

Last edited by Martin Elster; 05-21-2021 at 01:51 PM.
  #22  
Unread 05-21-2021, 02:22 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Lost Chords

He had the ears for quarter tones
before the world unloosed a din
akin to cannonades of stones
drumming on auditory skin

that tried in vain to cry, “Be quiet!”
He had the ears for quarter tones
till horns and helicons ran riot
with gongs and bells and bass trombones

exciting his minutest bones
with thrumming, raucous resonance
while, now, a warbler’s quarter tones
fall dead like birds that hit a fence.

At times, however, surf or rain,
when soughing into megaphones,
will almost touch the heart or brain
of one whose ears heard quarter tones.
  #23  
Unread 05-21-2021, 05:21 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Here's another poem which has to do with both planets and music. (I'll also post this in the Planet Poem thread.)

Celestial Euphony

As dark and distant spheres resound like whale song in our ears
***and cosmic microwaves caress our spirit,
we pioneer, alone, across infinities of tone,
***amazed that we’re the only ones who hear it.

While we glide amid the planets plump as plums and pomegranates,
***sailing with the interstellar current,
the sounds we make are quiet or they’re louder than a riot,
***but for grooving, neither’s ever a deterrent.

With clari-snare and flute-o-phone and tromba-sax and lute,
***xylo-horn and cymbal-harp and cello,
we shake our little craft with a great hurricane-like draft,
***cacophonous while synchronously mellow.

There’s no one at the wheel; the skipper capers to a reel,
***a jig, flamenco, jota, or a salsa.
While galaxies collide, we’re absolutely occupied
***as we zip through space in a ship as light as balsa.

If we chance on a black hole and, inattentive, lose control,
***free-falling ever faster in its eddy,
we won’t freak out or panic, we will go on being manic
***till the cosmos bellows, “Guys, enough already!

(Appeared in Lighten Up Online. It's also the first poem in my book Celestial Euphony.)

Last edited by Martin Elster; 05-21-2021 at 05:31 PM.
  #24  
Unread 05-22-2021, 12:11 PM
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F.F. Teague F.F. Teague is offline
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Hi Martin,

Thanks for enjoying 'Anacapri'. Debussy's one of my favourites too. I often listen to his piano music while I'm at work and I've written a poem inspired by each of his preludes.

I enjoyed your blues piece (combining music and planets). Quarter tones are cool and I like all the instruments in 'Celestial Euphony'. Congrats on your book too :-)

I'm heading back to Mussorgsky now. Here's 'The Old Castle'; the furtive flavour of the movement (particularly in Ravel's orchestral version) brought to mind a secret love affair when I wrote the poem a few years ago. Sorry it's a bit long!


The Old Castle

The stone wall stands so tall, for a moment he sighs
00and considers returning to town,
when a memory comes, of her beautiful eyes
00and her figure so graceful in gown,
then he sees a firm foothold, determines to try
00to make true on the promise he swore,
'I shall sing to my love of my love till I die,
00then my spirit sing love evermore!'

He embarks on the climb, scales the uppermost heights,
00and peers down into grand garden grounds,
lustrous lawns, beauteous blooms, clothed in moon's languid lights,
00and the guards on their stern midnight rounds,
but they do not glance up as they march swiftly by,
00and he tunes to the flowery floor,
'I shall sing to my love of my love till I die,
00then my spirit sing love evermore!'

He descends among lime limbs to crouch in long grass,
00then steals slowly alongside box hedge,
as soft lavender lemon balm southerlies pass,
00with the scent of the far sea and sedge,
then he hears distant waves breaking hungry and high
00and he calls to the warrior roar,
'I shall sing to my love of my love till I die,
00then my spirit sing love evermore!'

He approaches the tower door, made of oak beams,
00yet ajar for his flight up the stairs
to her turret room, till now viewed only in dreams
00but inspiring a thousand cantaires,
then he sings to his sweetheart until he is dry
00and he whispers, 'How I thee adore!
I shall sing to my love of my love till I die,
00then my spirit sing love evermore!'
  #25  
Unread 05-22-2021, 02:34 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Fliss, your poem reflects the beauty of the saxophone melody, the mystery of the harmonies, and the suspense of the rising clarinet sequence. I enjoyed it.

Thanks for liking those poems of mine. “Lost Chords” is in a repeating form called a quatern. So perhaps “quarter” kind of mirrors that, since each stanza is a quarter of the whole. But it’s actually a music term, a quarter tone being one quarter of a whole tone or major second (i.e., half a semitone).

I’m also glad you liked the blues piece and “Celestial Euphony.” The book, by the way, has an assortment of poems on different topics, including several on music and astronomy, but also a lot of poems about nature and how we interact with the world around us.

Last edited by Martin Elster; 05-22-2021 at 02:39 PM.
  #26  
Unread 05-23-2021, 12:01 PM
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F.F. Teague F.F. Teague is offline
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Thanks, Martin; I'm pleased you enjoyed it :-)

Incidentally, I rewrote the final stanza to make 'Interrupted Serenade' (another Debussy prelude). Here it is from the later poem:

He approaches the tower, but suddenly, 'Oof!',
00he trips over a hedgehog and groans,
and the guard-dogs are on him in fury, 'Woof-woof!',
00as he lies in the herb bed and moans,
then the guards come and grab him, ignoring his sigh
00as they throw him back over the wall,
'I shall sing to my love of my love till I die,
00then my spirit... oh, bugger it all.'

You're welcome for the likes. I'd heard of quarter tones.

Some time I'll pop to Amazon to see
if I can find Celestial Euphony.

Best wishes,
Fliss
  #27  
Unread 05-23-2021, 12:38 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Hi Fliss,

That Debussy pieces is one I haven’t heard too often. Parts of it remind me of parts of Images pour orchestre.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jp-C3Lbgo5M&t=13s

Have you heard this video?

Michelangeli - Debussy - La Serenade interrompue
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dzToTknolk

Here’s another rendition:

Daniel Barenboim: Debussy - La Sérénade interrompue (Préludes - Book I)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOhsImDNQ2A

Your last stanza is really funny! I love it. (Incidentally, I figured that you knew what a quarter-tone is.)

Since you expressed interest in my book (Thank you!), here is the Amazon link:
https://www.amazon.com/Celestial-Eup...1793202&sr=8-1

Do you have any books out of your poems? If so, I’d love to read it.

Best,
Martin

Last edited by Martin Elster; 05-23-2021 at 12:53 PM.
  #28  
Unread 05-24-2021, 02:28 PM
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Hi Martin,

Yes, I think that piece is one of Debussy's lesser-known preludes. It does sound like parts of the Images.

Thanks for the links to Michelangi and Barenboim; I watched and listened during a work break today. I like watching people playing the piano.

Re. Michelangeli, before he started playing he looked like he was going to fall onto the keyboard, and I enjoyed the facial expressions he adopted throughout the piece.

The Barenboim was interesting to watch, but I didn't find the elegant lady entirely convincing. I think the viewer is meant to imagine what takes place behind the pillars, but it wouldn't have been a bad idea to throw in at least a fleeting shot of an attractive man.

Thanks for enjoying the revised stanza. And thanks for the link to your book; I'll see if it's available on Kindle on amazon.co.uk

It hasn't occurred to me to submit anything to a publisher, so there are no books to read. A lot of my writing has taken the form of private commissions and I haven't had time to think about anything else with all the work going on too. You'll probably laugh at me, but I would like to set up my own little poetry press one day.

Now, here is 'Entry', inspired by Schumann's Waldszenen. I wrote it with Word-Bird (my mascot), who here is named 'Coo'. We posted the series on a site where Coo has quite a following. 'H'indeed' :>)


Entry

As Autumn daubs her colours in our views
0of chestnut, lime grove, oak across the way,
midst Summer's greens, those mid-September hues
0of bronze and orange, yellow, day by day,
we contemplate a trip to ancient woods
0within imagination, free from pain
and dressed in flowered gowns with matching hoods
0in fabric well designed for sun and rain,
to wander through vast avenues of pine
0or pause awhile by sweetly singing streams
and sing ourselves, while quaffing fragrant wine,
0the Waldszenen that come to us in dreams;
so, 'Let's begin,' quoth Coo, 'upon our tour
of plantings, hauntings, prophet-bird, and more.'
  #29  
Unread 05-25-2021, 12:57 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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That's lovely, Fliss. Here's something interesting I found:

On the set, Schumann wrote: "The titles for pieces of music, since they again have come into favor in our day, have been censured here and there, and it has been said that 'good music needs no sign-post.' Certainly not, but neither does a title rob it of its value; and the composer, by adding one, at least prevents a complete misunderstanding of the character of his music. What is important is that such a verbal heading should be significant and apt. It may be considered the test of the general level of the composer's education."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldszenen

I think it's a great idea to set up your own poetry press. I don't know what that would entail, but I'd love to see how it turns out.
  #30  
Unread 05-25-2021, 02:15 PM
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Martin, thanks for that very interesting quote. I like Schumann; I used to enjoy playing his piano music. One of my first piano books was called Il Mio Primo Schumann and it had a striking line drawing of the composer on the front cover. I've just found it here.

The proposed poetry press would most likely evolve from the proposed poetry blog, linking from poets' notes on the blog to some sort of e-publishing house. I like the idea of focusing on short poems.

That said, here's a slightly longer poem, lol, inspired by another Debussy prelude:


Puck's dance

Good day! I'm Puck. I've come to stay with you. You're asking why?
Lord Oberon just sent me. He's a mighty type of guy.
Well, Fairy King's his title. And he's short and dark and cute.
So here I am, upon your porch. I'm in my sharpest suit!

Invite me in? Why, thank'ee kindly. Ginger-pig! At heel!
Yes, here's my giant guinea pig. She loves her candied peel.
Down, Ginger! Sorry! She's just pleased to see you, in her way.
She'll be no trouble, just needs feeding thirteen times per day.

So, I can cook and I can clean. I like to garden too.
And all performed as one deft dance. Let's start. There's lots to do!
I'll prep a shepherd's pie and while it bakes I'll hoover stairs.
Your orchard's full of windfalls. Puck'll pick up all the pears.

Ah, handshake. Glad to be of service. Apron on, we're off!
Well, this is strange. The pie has changed. Behold, a stroganoff!
The stairs are in the hoover bag. The pears are on the trees!
And Ginger's drunk on perry, ha. She's waltzing on her knees!

What's that? Get out? I can't. His Fairy Highness sent me here.
I'm Puck. I've come to stay with you. I couldn't be more clear.
It's what I do. I come to stay. 'Til Obers calls me back.
When? I don't know. He never says. Come, Ginger. Let's unpack!
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