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POEM: ‘Masno Concerto Showcase — 2004’

Today we present a poem by James Riopelle. James notes that this poem was “written after hearing three piano concertos performed by the three finalists of the 2003 (Musical Arts Society of New Orleans) New Orleans International Piano Competition, in which each pianist performed a piano concerto accompanied by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Klauspeter Seibel.”

Outfitted, all, in white & black,
How tense each chin! How straight each back!
And each musician’s eye upon
The cocked & steady white baton.

The orchestra begins to play,
And lo! the centuries melt away.
Bows arc, strings hum, lips purse, sticks drum–
The notes fly light and frolicsome.

Piano enters like a breeze,
Blurred fingers race across the keys–
Now tense, now strike, now gently flow,
Across a wide arpeggio.

Upswells a sigh; upwells a tear–
The notes enchant each listening ear,
The last chord sounding far too soon–
Heaven on a rainy afternoon.

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