Thursday 16 June 2016

A poem from 1996 by the Swedish writer Jesper Svenbro

Fugue in C major

Why was Buxtehude played so often
at church concerts in the nineteen fifties?
That at least was the case in Skåne;
and the reason was probably that his organ compositions
had been published in the early part of the decade
by Josef Hedar from Lund.
For us who were young then it was of course difficult
to appreciate the change
that this must have brought about:
for it was as if his music had been played
since the beginning of Eternity.
But somewhere I felt the importance of the moment
when the organist without pedals
let the fugue in C major take to the air!
I wanted to learn how to play.
The church hovered between heaven and earth.
It could have been the Mariakyrka in Helsingborg
where Diderik Buxtehude, twenty years of age,
once gained his first position.
Buxtehude in Helsingborg ...
It is so light in the space around the church just now:
the trees are still bare,
father stands there in his vestments in the spring breeze
conversing with an extremely white-haired Josef Hedar.
And the church door is ajar.
What is it they are talking about?
They stand in the echo of the fugue
that seems never to want to die away
and do not notice that the composer himself
has recently hurried past
and already has got so far out to sea
that he cannot be seen for all the light.

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