Uri Hollander in translation: Days of the Tel-Aviv Conservatory
Days of the Tel-Aviv Conservatory
I had imagined a magic tower
and was thrown into a class of sneezing children.
A record fidgeted a Waltz, the tune of the unmarried.
And all the awful smiles.
The beginning was small and the end should greatly blunder
I hated the Wienies rattles and the feminine anklets
I hated the teacher's merriment and my surroundings
I was happy.
2. The test
The hearing was good, therefore string instruments.
A violin. a cello, perhaps.
I would have been fine with a recorder, but I wanted a piano.
There was a great conductor, and also a pianist, Bern-something, a Jew
and a homosexual. I believed it was a high level of pianism
and wanted as well.
The belief that the essence of motion is its contradiction
And that its goal is the respite.
A sound beat, since there is no beating sound.
And even at its highest peaks
a canister of the bourgeois soul.
Thoughts that have not crossed my mind
When everything was imaginary nature
And suffering was lessened by scales.
The spaciousness of imprisoned soul, reception and hoarding,
I did not look through the window, outside
4. The first concert
The first concert was probably not the first concert.
There were pots. Conducting records. There were self composing acts
In various occasions, always within the odd device, while
playing, in front of the audience: Who are you? What are you
doing here? Will you be able to think the music without touching it, will it play
on its own?
once I stopped, only to see. The glances were doleful.
The child has forgotten.
I remember to this day.
Preludes meant to be played
in front of a small audience.
A silent piece on a big stage.
To play a cloud. To play snow.
Epopees of gnomes.
An epigram of smoke.
To know a time purely
not through its costumes, not through its scholars, through its sounds.
To know music aware of its power
fleeing of eternity to be played and returning as it wishes
a few moments of breathing
accompanied by an arrogant trill, singing its freedom.
Then there were faces: a sleepy king and his nobles.
Then there were historians, and along with them
the crumbling objects of study
the wandering fragments
and one triple name, that used them to form his divine portrait.
On one of those days I longed for a flute.
The sounds of legends, the music language
of the story teller. An additional instrument
means bureaucracy, but finally all was set and done
and the first lesson was scheduled.
On the eve of the lesson Rabin was murdered.
The lesson was cancelled.
A musical rumor spread:
Every Wednesday, on the roof - naked girls.
There was a robust boy among us, who knew everything about Bach, and nothing about women, who said: if there are breasts, it is my prerogative.
With great awe we waited for him underneath the stairs, and when the sound of his steps got
closer, we twittered: breasts?
Unbelievable, he replied, a watermelon market.
He played sad cantatas, and won several prizes.
Every now and then competitions took place.
All for enhancement's sake and for the glory of improvement
and at the end there were also winners.
It was the first competition
in a big hall
and all the grandparents bit their fingernails.
I played Mozart
and won a commendation for 'performing a jazz piece'.
That competition's hero
became a basketball player.
The insult was smart. For many years it dribbled
in the court of my heart.
10. The last recital
The Italian pianist died and his piano died with him.
I remember the recording torments, the clothing, the bow.
He loved race cars
a truncate-headed piano grows two heads.
The air stood still for a long while.
And for days after.
Converting sound to word
was a forlorn reward
anyhow, the beginning was small
and the end should greatly blunder.
Eurydice was left behind.
'I like to use the languages of the various arts – literature, music, theatre...I think that is the spirit of the modern global era.'- poet Ivan Hristov spoke to SJ Fowler of 3AM magazine about the evolution of the contemporary Bulgarian poetry scene.
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At the Sofia Poetics festival, which was organised by Word Express participant Ivan Hristov, Scottish based poet Ryan Van Winkle caught up with fellow festival guests SJ Fowler and Tomasz Rózycki. To hear Fowler and Rózycki discussing their work and reading some of their poetry, listen to the Scottish Poetry Library podcast here.