Sunday, February 28, 2016

No. 13 The Post

I look forward to February because it is always a creative time for me. Really, what else is there to do? February gives me the excuse to be inside myself. There are fewer social engagements as people enter a deeper state of hibernation and the weather releases me from the responsibility to go outside.
New York City teachers have a hard-earned break right in the middle of the month. Some years I spend the whole week in my apartment writing furiously and I am never happier than when that occurs. Other years I spend the week upstate, volunteering at a retreat center where I wash dishes, prepare food and clean. This year I went upstate. Between kitchen shifts I had some time to walk the many trails around the retreat center and think about the translations for Part II. I also snapped some pictures along the way.
The poem below begins the second half of the cycle of twenty-four songs. As I said in my last post, Schubert intended to end the cycle after twelve songs and then found the remaining poems, so there is a drastic change between Nos. 12 and 13 that is both programatic and occasional.
In "The Post" another person enters the wanderer's saga for the first time, but only as a faraway sound. The sound is a horse-drawn postal carriage whose horn announces the delivery of mail in the village he has left. At first the significance of this escaped me and I saw this song as a kind of prologue to the second half. But while I was in the woods last week I listened in the negative-degree stillness for sounds from the highway and I had this thought:
Once during a meditation retreat, construction traffic on a nearby country road suddenly filled a silent room with the disturbing sound of honking horns. The teacher instructed his students to contemplate the sound as just that: a sound removed from tone or association. "It's just a horn," he said. "No car, no traffic, just a sound."
What does a horn mean? In this song the horn is an invitation to the other side, to the other half of the cycle. It is a call from the liminal, the space between worlds, the border between sheathes of perception. Before this fulcrum point in the saga, the wanderer was walking away from something, now he is walking towards something.
This week at the retreat center I walked the grounds for days trying to get a picture of something mail-related for this blog post. Then one night I had a martini and discovered this old mailbox in a stairwell that I had walked down for years.

13. The Post
From the roadway there a post horn sounds
How is it that you so swiftly bound,
My heart?
The post brings not a word for you
Why surge so strangely as you do,
My heart?
Of course! It's from a place I've known
Where I once had a love my own,
My heart!
Would you like looking over there
And finding how the people fare,
My heart?

3. Die Post
Von der Straße her ein Posthorn klingt.
Was hat es, daß es so hoch aufspringt,
Mein Herz ?
Die Post bringt keinen Brief für dich.
Was drängst du denn so wunderlich,
Mein Herz ?
Nun ja, die Post kommt aus der Stadt,
Wo ich ein liebes Liebchen hat,
Mein Herz !
Willst wohl einmal hinüberseh'n
Und fragen, wie es dort mag geh'n,
Mein Herz ?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Come to our audience feedback performance of Winterreise: Wednesday, February 10 at 7:00 in the Lower East Side

Photo: Kathy Chapman

Darren Chase Performs Schubert's Song Cycle 


(Winter Journey)

Darren sings his own English translation of Schubert's work, followed by an audience feedback session to fine-tune the translation.

Hearing these famous songs in English opens a direct connection to the music. 

Darren says, "Audience input is essential to the process of creating a new, singable translation of poet Wilhelm Müller's 'Die Winterreise.' We want to hear impressions of this simple but reverberating piece about a man expelled from the house of his beloved into a cruel and contemplative winter's journey." 

Accompanied on the piano by Michael Scales

I close again my eyelids
My heart still warmly strains
Will green leaves grow in the window?
Will I hold my darling again?
-- Song 11, "Dream of Spring"

Photo: B. Docktor


Mark DeGarmo's

Solo Dance Program

A Series of Artist Portraits 

in Dance

Followed by reflective practice with audience participation

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

7:00 PM

Studio 517, The Clemente
107 Suffolk Street, Lower East Side, NYC 10002 

Admission: $20, Artists $10; Seniors & Students $5
To make a reservation, click HERE