Poet Louise Vale responds to the enchanted spaces of Wilton’s Music Hall.
As It Was
[Fuse the future with a version of the past.
Take up your opera glasses,
breathe into former pleasures,
remember someone else’s bliss]
Welcome. Over clinking from the bar,
voices rise, a chatter of anticipation,
footsteps clatter, seats creak raised
and lowered, a ruched skirt swishes
down a row, its owner smiles, trips
and falls into now
where we catch her waistcoat in mid-air,
feel its lightness, note the faded cotton,
careful stitching, cry out at its emptiness,
marvel at its strength.
The positioning of the seats
dictates the song.
Space invades our thoughts
determines the direction
holds the sound
How far shall I sit from you?
Keep away – from – me
or I’ll stab you
with my bow
Do I want to look at you,
I mean in the eyes,
The wrong seat could be an improvement.
Where is the audience?
It’s a mistake to let them sit there,
as though it was up to them
If we moved their seats too,
would they become us?
How far away can we get
before we can’t hear each other at all?
The positioning of the hand
firm – gentle
precise – fluid
extended – restrained
It says practice, practice,
Muscle fibres pull
into monstrous twists
tendons tug on bone.
We hear only sound,
see only surface,
Johannnes Brahms-B Flat Major Quartet Op 67 (1875) Live at Wiltons’ Music Hall
Kreutzer Quartet (Peter Sheppard Skaerved, Mihailo Trandafilovski, Morgan Goff, Neil Heyde)
Wiltons Music Hall- 30th July 2010
Recording courtesy of Colin Still (Optic Nerve)
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