Alfred Schnittke, Symphony no.5, Concerto Grosso no.4, 1988
We have a different sense of time ... as a “simultaneous chord.”
– Alfred Schnittke
Spectres of Mahler
and no doubt Marx
are stalking the corridors
of a grand hotel in disrepair
round which Alfred is pedalling
never at rest
never at home.
Mahler’s murmuring to himself
a ghostly piano quartet
he forgot to complete
(his memory’s not what it was).
Marx props up the bar toasting his failures
or beckons seductively from the bath
his beard spread out
like a net.
Both Ms are decomposing.
Sometimes Alfred turns a corner
to be confronted by the pair
their voices a sudden shining:
Come and play with us, Alfred.
Come and play with us
forever and ever and ever and ever.
Jonathan Taylor is an author, editor, critic and lecturer. His books include the novel Melissa (Salt, 2015), and the memoir Take Me Home (Granta, 2007). His poetry collection is Musicolepsy (Shoestring, 2013). He directs the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester in the UK. His website is www.jonathanptaylor.co.uk.
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