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The Piano Teacher

When Mitzi presses fingertips to keys
And consummates a chord,
You sit beside Chopin and pound your knees
In rage against the horde
Of Cossacks smiting Warsaw to appease
The blood-lust of their Lord.

A crowning fugue at Sanssouci, to please
Great Frederick; music scored
To cure a kingdom's creaks, an organ's wheeze.
How old Sebastian roared:
As though he lives till Mendelssohn and sees
His manuscripts restored!

What's this: impressions of a tropic breeze;
Young innocence implored
By passionate crescendos, and agrees
To practices abhorred?
Ravel remains infectious, like disease,
By critical accord.

She modulates to Mozart; now you tease
And titillate a bored
Nobility, who squirm and scratch their fleas.
How loftily ignored
And relegated by the Viennese
To posthumous reward:
The dolce living that a girl can squeeze
From largo lessons and vivace fees!

 

©2001 Lewis Bruser

Notes:
Sanssouci was Frederick the Great's palace.

Johann Sebastian Bach was invited to visit Frederick, an accomplished musician himself. Informed of the arrival, he broke off a meeting, announcing that "old Bach is here."

Bach was neglected for 75 years after his death, until Mendelssohn revived the "Saint Matthew Passion" and founded the Bach Gesellschaft to search out and publish his music.

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