Sunday Music Poem and Video: Allegro for Haydn. Music says that fredom exists.

This poem conveys a political message, but with a humorous tone. For the poet, although playing the piano music of Haydn offers escape from the hard tasks of daily life, the music offers strength and resolve against oppression: "The sound says that freedom exists" and "I raise my haydnflag... We do not surrender. But want peace."

The video below is a live performance of Franz Joseph Haydn's Piano sonata no. 46 in E major, Hob. XVI:31. Vadim Chaimovich, piano.

Allegro by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly. From Music's Spell edited by Emily Fragos.

After a black day, I play Haydn,
and feel a little warmth in my hands.

The keys are ready. Kind hammers fall.
The sound is spirited, green, and full of silence.

The sound says that freedom exists
and someone pays not tax to Caesar.

I shove my hands in my haydnpocket
and act like a man who is calm about it all.

I raise my haydnflag. The signal is:
"We do not surrender. But want peace."

The music is a house of glass standing on a slope;
rocks are flying, rocks are rolling.

The rocks roll straight through the house
but every pane of glass is still whole.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

2 comments for “Sunday Music Poem and Video: Allegro for Haydn. Music says that fredom exists.

  1. Paul Freeman
    October 7, 2011 at

    Haydn is a very curious choice as an expression of freedom, given the social context Haydn operated in. If the poet is simply saying that music transcends and survives the local temporal forces, then Mozart might have been a better choice, or Beethoven, both of whom appear to have been essentially free spirits. And every pane of glass did not remain whole in the concentration camps where many fine musicians died – no music without the musicians to play it – or are we talking Plato’s region of universal Ideas here. Carping I know, because the imagery is good and effective, but the impact was lost for me as I tried to shake off the image of Papa Haydn.

    • October 7, 2011 at

      What you say is true, Paul. Haydn does not represent the subject of freedom as well as Mozart or Beethoven. I wonder why he chose him. It would be interesting to hear the poet’s response to your comments. I just looked him up and he’s is alive and well, having just won the Nobel Prize for literature.

Comments are closed.