Musicians: July

Musicians: July – Pencil, ink, watercolor – 8.5 x 11 inches.

Few people, I imagine, attend rehearsals. An actual production is a different story: Actors appear on stage in costume under the lights; everyone knows their lines; the drama unfolds as it should from beginning, to middle, to end; the curtain falls to hearty applause from the audience; the actors reappear to take their bows; the audience disappears into the night; the next day a new audience arrives for another performance.

But rehearsals? Why bother to attend? Everything is being worked out, worked on, nothing is finished, everything is in flux. Will an actual comedy or tragedy eventually appear out of the mess?

Here’s a messy drawing, an example of a rehearsal. My sketch books tend to be ragbag accumulations of stuff: old train tickets, images from the Tarot, stubs from entradas to museums, quotations from the I Ching, drawings without intent or purpose, just a way of paying attention to the world, in this case a Sunday afternoon jam session at a local brew pub.

That was a summer ago. Today we are in a cold, gray, bleak January, in a parade of storms visiting us since sometime before last week. Ludmilla Khersonsky’s poem arrived from a January on the other side of the world where ordinary people like you and me are freezing to death without heat or electricity under skies that rain missles and bombs. I’m sorry to have carelessly obscured the last lines of her poem with pen and ink. They read:

“… Do not open, the door boomed./ Do not offer it anything./ Do not wear a pretty dress./ If it starts breaking in, hit it – hit it – with an axe.”

One thought to “Musicians: July”

  1. I recently learned that Chopin’s Polonaise in A major (the so-called Military Polonaise) was played as a protest on the radio day after day in 1939 when the Germans invaded Poland. Apparently Finlandia, by Sibelius was also written as a protest and statement of Finland’s independence. It was frequently played on the radio and also often censored by the Russians. Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 was written while he was in Vienna as Austria was being invaded by Napoleon. It seems musicians, poets (e.g. César Vallejo, España aparta de mí este cáliz), artists (think Goya, Picasso) can be relied on to speak artistically when vicious wartime comes.

    Thank you, Michael, for the reminder about art and war in this juxtaposition of the poem by Ludmilla Khersonsky and musicians rehearsing. (Rehearsing, I’d like to imagine, something subversive to protest the unrighteous Russian invasion of Ukraine.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.