Trigon for an Old War: Three Drafts

Café Des Westens Kurfürstendamm


                   where we waited for that Bruckner
  concert to begin, drinking beer, remembering
  especially how the great Wilhelm
  Furtwängler conducted the adagio when Father 
  did it in his study Führer 
  in his bunker muted cellos in Berlin even better than
  Vienna even back when Rupert Brooke sat
  writing at our table about Grantchester, the Vicarage
  the clotted cream on ripe
  berries, blood
  a trifle if there's just enough for tea
  just enough tradition that's behind it all when
  Isherwood and Auden came out for 
  the boys working class the best
  ass of course and free of bourgeois English scruples
  about heavy brass and soaring violins
  klezmer music too although by that time Jews
  were you know Schoenberg Britten both 
  wrote songs for cabaret says humm
  it for me Mr Bowles (Paul, that is, working here
  with Copland then) or Sally
  named for him in fiction odd as this may sound
  but sally forth

←Back Next →.

Text sources for "Café Des Westens Kurfürstendamn".

Christopher Isherwood, Christopher and His Kind

Virginia Spencer Carr, Paul Bowles: A Life

Lillian Hellman, Pentimento

Muriel Gardiner, Code Name 'Mary'

Stephen Spender, Vienna

Elfriede Jelinek, The Piano Teacher

O.V. de L Milosz, The Noble Traveller

Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise, "Death Fugue: Music in Hitler's Germany"

Ken Smith, Berlin: Coming in from the Cold

John Hawkes, The Cannibal

Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

Bruckner. Anton Bruckner (1824 - 1896) Austrian composer whose symphonies are said to embody the final phase of German Romanticism. Bruckner's work was much admired by Gustav Mahler who described him has "half simpleton, half God".

Furtwängler. Wilhelm Furtwängler (1886-1954) Leading German conductor, controversial because he chose to stay and work in Germany throughout World War II.

Adagio. The second movement of Bruckner's Symphony no. 7. Hitler is reported to have favoured this symphony over Beethoven's 9th. A recording of Furtw&#angler conducting the adagio was played on Radio Berlin prior to the announcement of Hitler's death.

Grantchester, the Vicarage. Brooke wrote his poem "The Old Vicarage, Grantchester" during a trip to Berlin in 1912.

Isherwood. British writer (1904-86) Best known for his fiction set in Weimar Berlin.

Klezmer. Folk music of the Yiddish communities of Eastern Europe, continues to be influential in contemporary jazz and classical music.

Mr Bowles. Paul Bowles (1910 - 1999) American writer and composer. Befriended and collaborated with Aaron Copland. He knew Isherwood and Spender in Berlin in the Thirties, Isherwood used his surname for the heroine, Sally Bowles in "Goodbye to Berlin" because he "liked the sound of it and also the looks of its owner".

comments powered by Disqus