Mozart, 1935

(1997)
"Mozart, 1935" is a song by Scott Wheeler, setting the poetry of Wallace Stevens.  This song was commissioned by Carol Korty for bass Dale Macurdy.

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The audio recording provided in the audio playlist to the right is used with the permission of the composer and features baritone William Sharp and pianist Donald Berman. To listen, please click on the track name itself.
Mozart, 1935
by Wallace Stevens

Poet, be seated at the piano.
Play the present, its hoo-hoo-hoo,
Its shoo-shoo-shoo, its ric-a-nic,
Its envious cachinnation.

If they throw stones upon the roof
While you practice arpeggios,
It is because they carry down the stairs
A body in rags.
Be seated at the piano.

That lucid souvenir of the past,
The divertimento;
That airy dream of the future,
The unclouded concerto . . .
The snow is falling.
Strike the piercing chord.

Be thou the voice,
Not you. Be thou, be thou
The voice of angry fear,
The voice of this besieging pain.

Be thou that wintry sound
As of a great wind howling,
By which sorrow is released,
Dismissed, absolved
In a starry placating.

We may return to Mozart.
He was young, and we, we are old.
The snow is falling
And the streets are full of cries.
Be seated, thou.

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