Guy Gallo-On Playing the Habeneck Strad

Posted on May 16th, 2012 by


On Playing the Habeneck Strad

 by Guy Gallo

I was not prepared

I expected terror —

Lineage bearing down —

To cramp my hand.

 

Yes, I dropped it over and over

For a second, imagined splinters

About my feet. I didn’t clutch.

It wouldn’t let me.

 

Then it was there, lodged

On collarbone, and so light

As if Berlioz’ ghost had taken

Some fraction of the weight.

 

How long, I wondered,

Since this tender conglomeration

Of wood and physics

Had suffered so rank a beginner

 

Surely there was once a child

Or a fat aristocrat

Or an awkward curator. And

Now there was me.

 

I played, so badly, and still

It thrilled even to my touch,

Inviting, amused, clear-toned

Smilingly unforgiving.

 

New York

October, 2000

 Copyright 2000 by Guy Gallo. 

 

Michael Finnissy-Song 13

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Concert performance-London 1999

Peter Sheppard Skaerved

Stradivari 1734 (Habeneck)

Poet and dear friend, Guy Gallo

Michael Finnissy listening. London 2009. Photo; Richard Bram