Thursday, November 12, 2009

A suite of poems

Today, in the usual Thursday-noon recital, a fellow-piano-major and I played Debussy's beautiful Petite Suite for piano, four hands. For the first two movements I played the upper part and he the lower, and for the other two, we switched places. We received a good deal of very flattering praise; it was, by all accounts, a pronounced success.

The suite, and some of the things Mr. Schene has said about it, were still turning over in my head after the recital; and when I got home I wrote down this little "suite" of verses. The music can be found on youtube (I'll put links in the titles). My readers may listen to them, and tell me how accurate my little images are.

Petite Suite
(Hommage á Claude Debussy)

I. En Bateau

The paddles slice the waters silently,
And in the peaceful golden light of noon
We glide along the river easily,
Far from the faintest thought of dark or ruin;
No ripples on the glassy water lie
To mar its softly pointillistic gleam,
And even the breeze sings, as it whispers by,
A tune I half-remember from a dream...

II. Cortége

The fairy-flutes are piping, far and high,
Sweet as the laughter of the elfin crowd,
And as their small procession marches by,
We cannot help but smile at them - so proud,
Tossing their braids, or curly-tops held tall,
Waving the spoil of a successful raid,
Flowers and nuts from some King Squirrel's hall,
Borne in a gay victorious child-parade.

III. Menuet

Cast off that melancholy from your face!
Upheld by an enchanting violin,
The pairs advance with charming ancient grace;
The minuet is going to begin.
The pipe and viol their harmonies unfurl;
Across the sward they sweep unerringly -
Balance together, step and step and twirl,
And we dream on, lulled by the melody.

IV. Ballet

One rich-voiced cello guides the airy tune,
And trippingly the children whirl away,
Carefree small fairy folk, beneath the moon,
Light-footed, lighter-hearted, bright and gay -
Until the waltz, with passionate romance
(That music is inebriety divine!)
Lifts us, who love, aloft into the dance,
Soaring on wings of song, of love and wine.


Anonymous said...

Agnes, that is amazing. This poetry of yours dances with a new life, and ripples reflectively in my heart. Usually, I have to put effort into reading others' verses (I am more a writer than a reader of poetry), but your accompaniments to the Petite Suite are different. Their color slackens nowhere.

The suite of poems recalls the opening poem of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and some of the subsequent adventures. Make sure to submit the four to the college poetry journal.

Also, it must have been very hard to play a piano piece with two people at once!

Agnes Regina said...

Crusader, thank you so much. I am glad you enjoyed these simple rhymes of mine. A good deal of the imagery comes from our beloved teacher, Daniel Schene, who paints the music for us so we can't help but play it as it should be played...

As to whether four-hand is hard - the coordination can be difficult at first, but after a while it becomes easy and Jason and I seem to be a good match for this kind of thing. (The videos are not our rendition, by the way, though I hope we came close to the accuracy and grace of the two professionals who recorded it.)

And -- oh, my, you're right! "All in the golden afternoon/Full leisurely we glide," and the rhyme of "En Bateau" are very close! Interesting, as I was not thinking of it at the time.

Someday you will have to come hear me play. Perhaps for one of my degree recitals! :)

Agnes Regina said...

P.S. We don't have a poetry journal at Webster that I know of, but... now I think of it... there is some kind of poetry contest in February. I'll have to remember to submit these, since you recommend it!

Gabriel de Erausquin said...

The best poetry yet to come from this inspired hand...
Beautiful, and perfectly in the mood of the music, complementing it and in some way completing it.
I am sure Debussy would have approved, and perhaps does now.

Agnes Regina said...

Thank you so much, Tata -- love you!!!