Font size: +
1 minute reading time (227 words)

Poetry Corner: May/June 2017

Finger II


There was a pianist

who developed

a third index finger

not to play the piano with

though it sometimes did intervene

discreetly

in tricky passages

but to point things out

when both hands were busy


Once in a while

the finger shot from his nose

to expose an obstinate cougher in the hall

or emerged from beneath his tailcoat

beckoning a lady in the third row

In complicated fugues

you saw it rise to its full height

from under his shirt collar

indicating the theme in retrograde

Occasionally

when the harmony got muddled

it even turned against its owner

repeatedly knocking its knuckle

on his cranium


Whatever it wished to complain about

remained a mystery

for clearly the pianist was doing his best

and the audience

at such moments

held its breath


When subsequently

the finger disappeared

into the pianist's left upper pocket

one could sense

in the hall

a certain relief

The man with the videocamera

who had managed to record the scene

nodded off

and the critic

eager to retain the exact wording

wrote down the title of his piece

One finger too many

                                        — Alfred Brendel



From Playing the Human Game: Collected Poems of Alfred Brendel (Phaidon Press, 2011), courtesy of Alfred Brendel.


You have to be a member to access this content.

Please login and subscribe to a plan if you have not done so.

Letters to the Editor: May/June 2017
Collabara: A multifunctional program
 

Comments

Already Registered? Login Here
No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

About Piano Magazine

Piano Magazine is the leading resource for pianists, piano teachers, and piano enthusiasts. We bring you informative, interesting, and inspiring ideas on all aspects of piano teaching, learning, and performing. The official name of Clavier Companion magazine was changed to Piano Magazine in 2019.

Follow us on

Terms of use

Have Questions?

We are happy to help.

Editorial questions? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Advertising questions? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subscription questions? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Technical questions? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Cron Job Starts