Letter: In Memory — Maestro of All Maestros

the riderless podium
the empty pot
the open score
brilliantly lit in the darkness
but minus the maestro
the notes were but fly specks
upon the page
not the music

we stood
we clapped
a thunderous tribute
to genius
it would have gone on
for hours
had they not turned on the lights
had they not started to play
as best they could
without him
but not even hours
not even days
nor months, nor years of applause
would not have fully acknowledged
the gift he gave to music
to us

I watched him intently
so many, many times
from the first concert in the theatre
where Maazel and Bronfman and Frankel
played the Tchaikovsky Am
though virtually every concert in Castleton
to London for 1984 and to New York for his final Mahler’s 8th
I watched the subtle minuet
the tip of his baton (was it the one Mahler used?)
the dance of his bow
upon his Strad
I watched him conduct
with his eyebrows
and his glance
and the glare
of an unapproving eye
but it was not the gesture
it was not movement, nor the motion
but his will
for his will was enough
to lead
a symphony of a thousand
or a quartet of eight
and it will be enough
to lead all the music
to come
in this festival
we have all come to love
thank you, thank you, thank you
maestro of all maestros
thank you

Paul Reisler
Kid Pan Alley

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