15 June 2020. 47 pp. ISBN 978-3-901993-78-7 (= PSPS 36)
£7.50 (+ 2.00 p&p), €7.50 (+ 2.00 p&p), US$ 11.00 (+ 3.50 p&p)
"By turns plangent and triumphal, Moments Musicaux eloquently evokes the world of composer, performer, and listener. This is a stirring transposition of music into poetry. No one writes about classical music with greater force or feeling than John Greening."
"It’s as though John wrote these poems just for someone like me – his reverence and love for music and musicians, what certain pieces, people and places have meant to him throughout his life, he has shared with skill, honesty, often a very contemporary humour and above all a language that will have any lover of music nodding and smiling in recog-nition."
"I can think of no poet better placed to write poems inspired by music than John Greening. Here he draws on the fruits of a lifetime’s love of and immersion in music. These witty, informed, tender, and pertinent poems delight in music, inhabit music, create a concert hall of the mind and the senses for their audience of readers. Here are poems formal and informal, performative or taking their ease, demonstrating rue, engaging in reverie. In Moments Musicaux poetry conducts itself through a variety of encounters with composers, performers, symphonies and rondos. Alongside the music the natural world makes its essential presence felt, and key aspects of history give added illumination throughout. From the opening poem’s lovely punning riff on Marianne Moore’s aphorism (“beyond all this fiddle”) to the intriguing “Fugue: after Arioso Dolente”, written for Anne Stevenson, this is a wonderful journey for music-lovers and for connoisseurs of poetry. These poems create, again in Miss Moore’s words, “a place for the genuine”. Bravo! Encore!"
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Table of Contents
Excerpts from Moments Musicaux
After the Interval
Such disappointment that the celebrated
Belgian violinist was indisposed,
unable to perform, would be replaced
by no one of note. You knew you were fated
never to hear him play, though you had waited
since 1945. You could have passed
on the second half, but (not to waste
an evening out) you stayed. And now it’s started,
the river flowing darkly by the Strand,
that flower-summons, Big Ben’s harp-harmonics,
and cymbal rush hour. ‘A London Symphony’
you’d never heard before, whose movements send
you back to find your blacked-out heart is on its
way downstream, towards the unrationed sea.
For you, The Sound
of Music, for me
Speckbrot and a
small beer while
to the Austrian
dialects that fill
this little Stube.
The mustard on the
Brot is fiery.
In my rucksack
and Mahler’s Sixth.
The local man says
as I spill the last
of the small beer
down my white
Reviews of Moments Musicaux
"Those who have enjoyed John Greening’s earlier collection, The Silence, or indeed any of his other excellent books, will be delighted by the arrival of Poetry Salzburg’s pamphlet, Moments Musicaux, which, again, reflects Greening’s appreciation and deep understanding of music. [...] it is a pleasure [...] to be led through."
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