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D.F. Lewis
Published by Nemonymous

(written today and first published here)

The Brahms Sonata for Cello and Piano was playing unnoticed in the foreground. I knew its notes by heart so, even though the deliciously poignant music was ‘in my face’ as it were, I allowed it to seep towards the back of the head where memory and mind usually dissolve.

Despite much music being second nature to me, I had never been able to play it myself. Indeed, this specific music was so familiar, it felt part of me. Each performance I heard was merely a new fiction about the same reality, often with its special spacing or muscularity of sound dramatising the identity of self as clown or tragedian, hero or villain, sportsman or drudge, paper prince or proper pauper.

This Sonata’s singularities of Cello and Piano needed two performers, of course, but this evening it sounded as if one player worked a newly invented Celliano of Mind and Body with a freshly-discovered precision of time passing. Time passing in the hallucinatory regularity of its own Variations upon an irregular Theme.

It was then I sensed the stench. The perfect setting – carefully arranged in the summer arbour by my servants for purely hearing a personal performance of Chamber Music – was abruptly beset with that extraneous input by another of my bodily senses....

My sight was already blessed with picked flowers framing an unpainted sunset beyond the arbour. Unpainted, because being so perfect it only seemed to be a painting. My sense of touch was unsullied even by clothes – it being such a warm evening. The arbour was private, you see – except for the unconsidered servants sinking diplomatically into the trees’ deepening shadows and the prevailing spirit of Celliano merging with its own version of shadow playing itself.

Hearing was naturally intended to be the whole world for me, a reminder of which goal thankfully making me forget what was written above in honour of hindsight.

Yet the stench spoilt all that.

“One of the servants must have failed to seal some drainage system in the house close by or had inadvertently broken wind or maliciously dropped a childish stink-bomb – or whatever now created this diversion from the pure Heaven of Music.”

“Or perhaps Johannes Brahms was a fat composer. Incontinent, probably.”

“Or Death itself radiates its own shadow of stench backward from the body it knows it will eventually convert into a corpse.”

“There is always an undercurrent of smell, barely noticeable for most of one’s life, but coming to the fore as a stench proper or right royal fug at the least expected onward moment of time tripping up on itself. A wrong note. A misplaced finger on fret or discoloured ivory key. A lost bar disguised as a rest. A blink in the long hard gaze of future’s face....”

“Life’s sweet Sonata becomes fleetingly avant garde. A mellifluous poem loses its enjambement to become a work of prose with odd words or spaces between words now left undrained. And, then, if it becomes particularly uncultivated prose, it releases smells freely above the surface of its otherwise perfect music of meaning. A slipshod effect here. An infelicitous flourish there. Or even worse. Worse and worse. Until the prose must end before the homes of its readers become unfit for sanitary habitation...”

The above statements in vocal counterpoint vanished into the nostrils of night. The listener did not even feel the arms that lifted him from the arbour chair. Concert of Mind and Body in silent tuneless disarray.

Edit (3 May 09): There is a first tentative reading aloud of 'Celliano' here:
8 Thanks From:
Dr. Bantham (05-02-2009), G. S. Carnivals (05-02-2009), Joe Pulver (05-02-2009), Mr. D. (05-02-2009), simon p. murphy (05-03-2009), Spotbowserfido2 (02-06-2010), vegetable theories (05-06-2009), yellowish haze (05-04-2009)



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Celliano Nemonymous Downloads 0 05-02-2009 06:04 PM

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