Gustav Mahler, Symphony 10, 1910
Once written that nine-note discord –
a wound in A-flat minor
cut open by high-A on trumpet –
can never be un-written
never be unheard
never be exorcised
haunting everything after it
like the annunciation
of a wife’s infidelity
like an orchestral unconscious,
the dissonant repressed liberated
by a visit to Freud in Holland.
It lurks round the corner of every phrase
in the remainder of the Adagio
is lying in wait in the Scherzos
is something to trip over in Purgatorio,
is unleashed again in the finale
and even reminiscences
of long-ago Adagiettos
cannot stop it bleeding out of the score
into the twentieth century beyond.
Jonathan Taylor's books include the novels "Melissa" (Salt, 2015) and "Entertaining Strangers" (Salt, 2012), the memoir "Take Me Home" (Granta, 2007), and the poetry collection "Musicolepsy" (Shoestring, 2013). He is Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester. His website is www.jonathanptaylor.co.uk.
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