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Robin’s Story: ‘Autumn’ Thursday, 11 March 2010

Posted by edincityoflit in Stories.
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The Scottish Chamber Orchestra has supported Carry a Poem 2010 by asking artists featured in their February concerts to tell us about their favourite poems. These were published in 3,120 concert programmes during the month.

SCO Principal Conductor Robin Ticciati’s story was published in the concert programme for L’Enfance du Christ:

The idea behind this poem has always moved me a great deal. I came across Rilke’s Autumn during a cold October in my last year of university: a time of mixed, uncertain emotions about the future mirrored by the miraculous changing of nature’s own landscape. The feeling the poem gave me was one of extreme hope combined with a new way of thinking about the image of falling. Falling is everywhere in music, whether it be melodic shapes, harmonic progressions or even dynamics. However, just as in the poem, there is often so much hope within moments of despair and loss.

It struck me that it is this precise synthesis of feelings that emerges throughout L’Enfance du Christ. Much of the work is spent either with the anger and depression of Herod or in the hushed, weary world of the Holy Family’s Flight into Egypt. The main theme the narrator sings in Le repos de la Sainte Famille (Part II) is made up of descending fourths, carried by a falling harmonic bass line. Yet as we hear the family’s struggle, it is this sighing, falling figure that gives the listener a sense of hope: that this family is somehow being held.

Autumn

The leaves fall, fall as if from far away,
like withered things from gardens deep in sky;
they fall with gestures of renunciation,

And through the night the heavy earth falls too,
down from the stars, into the loneliness.

And we all fall. This hand must fall.
Look everywhere: it is the lot of all.

Yet there is one who holds us as we fall
eternally in his hand’s tenderness.

by Rainer Maria Rilke

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