Saturday 13th January was my first experience of the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. One thing and another sadly prevented me from hearing the first half of the concert’s Genesis Suite, but luckily arrived in time to hear the incomparable Concerto for Orchestra by the Hungarian composer Bela Bartok.
I had the idea of a sort of live poetry stream as the concert was running. Although we were in almost complete darkness, I set about this challenge, jotting ideas in my notebook and couldn’t believe how natural it felt. The concert began with a reading of a letter Bartok wrote to his friend whilst writing the concerto. The letter talked in great detail about how much the natural imagery surrounding him inspired the writing of the piece. We were also prompted by a back- drop of nature scenes, each refleting a movement of the concerto.
The orchestra were so detailed and expressive in their use of colours. Each member knew their role and were frequently given clear direction and artistic inspiration from Rattle. He struck me as the work’s true soloist and was indefatigable in his commitment, charm and love towards both music and orchestra.
The poem beneath is a totally unedited version of what I wrote as the music was playing. It was so tempting to edit it as I was typing it up, but I felt it important to stay true to the words that came to me in the moment. This new style of poetry has never felt so natural, this down foremost to the orchestra’s poetic excellence!
The mist is sort of solid
It’s humming a cheerful tune
Laden with discontented discords
The mist clears to expose
Such a raw urgency, a coarse tension
Imagery of such hills as these pushes
My vast imagination further-
A blanket of interweaving paths
None quite explored, and yet cheerfully
To be shown either side of a peace,
A deep sleep encircled with pungent colour
And warm horizons slowly encroaching
This clan chuckles
In thirds, a joyful good morning
A mockery of our silent peacefulness
Some stark hunger to provoke this
Creeping, a hide and seek
Where’s my laughter faded to
Once upheld by strong sun stokes
Mischief in pairs
One, two, three to brighten
Our dreary winters
Seasons, both heavy and light
Inhabit the clearings in our conscious mind
An elegy for those swimming in grief
Such as this
A deep hole of loss, a pool of tears
Need never be understood-
Too close for comfort
These variants on love and death
A memory kept alive through shortness of time
The fear is greeted with a shaft of sweetened light
The darkness is softened, knelled in our joy’s
Images of meadows etcet. Etcet.
Is this all too obvious?
It feels so genuine!
Let’s sit another hour
This love is so bright and blooming
And it intercepts our longing for
Great swathes of energy
Hurl us towards this huge beacon
Energy to fill intensities of sorrow,
A persistent murmur of peace.
Here sits the contemplative
A rising joy, that these days have strengthened
In their outbursts they raise us up to Him.