Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Improviser

I tried to bring him into my music. For four days and nights he knocked himself out trying to play what I'd written.

                                                        Eleni Kariandrou


I placed him in a chorus of strings and drum

to move the story of Medea

in a slow procession of song, to articulate her passion

and malice that glimmered like seawater

against the walls  of her throat

as she wept, betrayed and breathless.


He could not blend or breathe

in this Hellenic choir. He fell from myth,

floundered in the melody of my score.

His bones became mute, pipes that lost their wild  song,

their gypsy ache for  road or sea. A shorebird

who had forgotten how to forage

for random scraps, his elemental shadow.


And I cried basta!, Never again!

Its  feminine echo possessed

by the finality of an ancient play. The whole thing --

a tragedy.
The painting is called "Gypsy" by artist, Nic Dartnell.

This was based on an article by Eleni K. ( author of the epigram's statement) who is a composer and wrote the musical score for an opera about Medea. Eleni is a woman who composes traditional music using the ancient instruments that were applied in old world Greece. She tried at first to engage a gypsy flutist who was an improviser, someone who played his music by spontaneous inspiration and feeling. He was brilliant but also a free spirit. And she learned that when he tried earnestly and very diligently to fit into the disciplined world of her music, he was like a caged bird. He was denied the surroundings and freedom to rely on his natural instincts and ways of composing.

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