SMALL VIOLIN CONCERTO
NENIA OF NIOBE
GREAT VIOLIN CONCERTO
ENCOUNTER WITH CHOPIN
VIOLIN CONCERTO, CONT.
“O JOY, THE SPARK OF GODS!”
At the high noon of the Century
These dark verses as wind in the rocks,
Myself, Kochanowski’s poor scholar,
I wrote them in the Olsztyn forests.
For you these songs, my favor bright
Let them cover your name as a veil
You’re a glove in a winter night
And water in a summer day.
My muse, take these crippled strophes,
Into your dark hair, let them entwine.
You are the wedding song of my road,
The world’s only spark, the only shine.
Dear, when these words will fade away,
When wind in the rocks finally calms,
In the sun, grandson will glimpse a shade,
This will be shining of your eyes.
Out of shape, out of joy,
Days and nights by the shore,
Turned into stone —
Forlorn daughter of Tantalus,
Forlorn wife of Amphion,
Niobe, mother of misfortune —
Seven daughters, seven sons,
Arrows hit them by the dawn
From Diana’s and Apollyon’s bow.
Hollow all around, out of life,
Even no electric lights,
Only stone on the stone.
Cold eye of the sky above,
Dark cloud quakes below,
Water tastes the stone.
On the sphere distant sail,
But it goes a different way,
And chilly night comes on,
Out of shape, out of joy.
Far away rampant storm,
Gale sings around.
Niobe in despair stands,
Coil of snow over her head,
Over the musician’s wife,
Over wife of Amphion,
Over daughter of Tantalus
On her eyelids — snow.
Tears of stone do not fall,
Gloom and dark is the dawn,
Only gulls bewail.
Such an antiphon was written by poet Taliarch, the son of the cooper, when he was drowned in sorrow. And he wrote it for the fivemost magnificent bells of the city of Byzantium.
The name of the first bell was Eutyphron;
The second’s — Archangelus;
The third’s — Nicolaus;
The fourth’s — Gerion;
The fifth’s — Acroceraunia.
These were the names of the bells.
When the bells were ringing the Taliarch’s antiphon, they said that their music veiled thousand and two hundred domes with a golden shadow, crows gained golden wings, clouds became more and more green and the statue of Niobe on the Michael Archangel square apparently became more and more joyful.
First came Eutyphron and called
that later escaped to Rome, blubbered one could hear tones all of the bells: and Eutyphron’s, and Archangelus’, and Nicolaus’, and Gerion’s.
Gerion was most overjoyed from all of his five brothers bells; and, while listening to him, statue of miserable Niobe nearly streched out her arms as if she were asking for a comb.
When dark days came and Mahomet II with his troops invaded the city, the statue of Niobe collapsed and her head broke apart from the body.Poet Taliarch, the son of the cooper, ran out from his cellar, seized the head and escaped with her to Florence.
Almost one and a half century passed after the death of Dante.
This is an outline of the history of the Niobe’s marble head, of the Niobe from Nieborów.
What a wind, what a fate was seizing you
Over the roads of Europe vastly spread?
Who hold you in his hands, who esteemed,
Utmost beautiful, half Slav half Greek head?
Who drove you in a carriage through the drift?
Who moved you over the seas in a trunk?
What a bishop broke his “Pater” to meet
Your eyes’ deepness divine and got drowned?
What a crime you witnessed? What disgrace?
In what country, on what a hazy way?
What a rascal put a torch to your face,
To your nose, perfect as a sun ray?
Where were you? Where? On which street
A thief carried you and nearly crumbed?
O, shiny marble head, black mystery
Of the antiquaries from Rotterdam.
Maybe Don Juan hold you in his hands?
Maybe Durer, Holbein, Titian, Lucas Cranach?
Maybe Phillip-Emmanuel lost his mind,
The great son of Johann Sebastian?
Maybe in some deep Venice night forlorn
Titian gone crazy staring at your head
And with a bit of a sarcasm he adorned
Your dazzling hair with a myrtle wreath?
O, you, the great head, the shiny marble
How was your autumn? Your spring?
Which coils of Europe you had to ramble,
As if over the Dante’s mortal ring?
What a dust veiled your head? What a wind?
What a snow storm? What a May shower?
While drifting in rubies of the Black Sea
And falling as a star at the Azov shore.
You settled there. And there you had been found
Near the Don river, deep in your low-life
But please tell me, I have to be profound
I need to know, as if you were my wife —
In nineteen fifty, in some deep night,
Enchanted, I’m asking you as a man:
“Your goddess’ eye was — in who’s sight,
Maybe in Avignon? Maybe in Bremen?”