Aesthetic Realism Online Library Poetry by Eli Siegel

A First in Music

Sometimes, what is near has to be seen as if it were not near.

Today, in my own home, Martha Baird told of how the Opposites, Sameness and Change were one in music; and how the opposites other than Sameness and Change were one in music, one in ourselves—if we see it—and one in the whole world of every minute, every happening, every distress.

It was in my own home, this showing; and I married her who spoke—but all time was present, and, I believe, what is to be.

The talk was not everything: there was scraggliness, faltering, uncertainty; but music was shown to be the structure of the world, was shown to be our desire, was shown to be with all the arts as a description, a replica, a containing of the world as strife and repose, horror and the bearable, the splintering and the one, the hideous and the absolute.

Benny Goodman was used: and Gene Krupa was used: and they were ready.

Antonio Vivaldi, and his sound, showed might and gentleness, difference and sameness—the unexpected and the inevitable as one.

Resurrected, glorious, buoyant, everywhere Antonio Vivaldi of now; and once, more confinedly, of the eighteenth century!

The graceful, exploring, transitional Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart of the bounding, sidestepping, falling, curving, insisting, reversing, proceeding Linz Symphony, was used by Miss Baird, all for a musical first.

Mozart is the opposites seen Mozartianly.

And Beethoven: there was stealthy, uncertain, level quiet changing on its own power, as itself, to a rise and a crash with sharply ascending, wide, uproarious confidence—what was in quietness and apprehension, changed while itself into transmuting crash.

Baird said, It was the opposites.

It was a first in music.

For Baird said it was the opposites:

Not hintingly, implicitly, uncertainly—but straightforwardly and forever.

Music rejoiced with a new, assertive clearness.

It is a beginning.

There was a drinking song of Beethoven,

Sung with a loud, clear guttural, in redolent, profound German by a singer of these days.

The opposites were in the Wein, Wein, Wein.

The opposites were in the trumpet,

The opposites were in the drums.

The opposites were in the Emperor Concerto managed deftly, circuitously, and loudly by Ludwig Van.

Vivaldi instanced the opposites in the Italy pre-American Revolution.

God, what a junction: astute helter-skelterness!

Martha Baird, yours is a first.

Others may not say so, but Music feels clearer, with today, August 20, 1964.

There is no reason why this should not be so.

What, after all, were the world, Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven (otherwise Ludwig Van), Handel, Monteverdi, and yesterday's thrush and cataract working for?

You have told the central thing.

Music is clearer.

Music is more.

Music is more of our lives, more assertively, kindly of our lives.