A Concert in Vienna, 1944

Howard Grady Brown

[November 2004.]


The hall was frigid, and the audience,
Dressed for early winter, kept their coats
That cloaked the Nordic runes inscribed on collars,
The Party pins rooted in lapels.
Unlikely penitents, the pilgrims to
This shrine sought refuge in arrested time.

Upon the dais to sound the Bruckner score,
Furtwängler guided every phrase beyond
Its measure, paced with his agogic pulse
The heart that beat within each separate note,
Drew ardent voices from the pages. Choirs
Of wind and brass and string intoned a prayer,

A song that rabbis would have recognized,
But rabbis never there could not have prized
This psalm: Allegro moderato searched
Through labyrinths to singular conclusions;
The Scherzo danced a round of wind and bells,
And framed the Trio’s harp-strung interlude.

And if Adagio ecstasies consoled
Line officers, who might have tithed with tears,
The record is unclear. So many tears
Never counted. Feierlich, nicht schnell,
The coda gathered crippled prophecies,
Healed them, gave them weight. From gravity

A panoply of themes surged into flame,
Consumed the shadows, dared to speak God’s name.


[Howard Grady Brown is a poet, playwright, pilot, printer and lover of classical music. Howard’s wife Anita is a retired singer and voice teacher. She and Howard reside in New York City. Howard has had plays produced off-Broadway and on television. He regularly contributes poetry and criticism to several websites and has published a chapbook, “Cobb Lane,” as a companion to his brother Larry Allen Brown’s CD of Celtic-styled pieces for solo guitar and small ensemble.]