A tribute poem written for Maestro Mitchell Klein, Conductor of the Peninsula Symphony Orchestra.
The poem is written in three “movements” to imitate a classical piece. The first movement is my experience of what it’s like to listen to a classical piece…a sort of day dream story. The second movement is taken from 30 years of programs Maestro Klein introduced. The last, third movement, is inspired by the scrap book the orchestra made to celebrate his 30th year.

 Click here to watch the video

I. Rhapsody in White Andante grazioso

Shhh….you can hear it…!

the silence of the snow-covered valley

a cathedral of ice crystals dazzle in sunlight~

the painter draws one curled note of a lone winter bird

waves his brush like a magic wand and

pixie dust particles prance across the stage

the players entranced, the house in a spell

a masterpiece begins to unfold

snow crystals sizzle as the sun moans its dominance

next, song birds string together their wake up calls

the morning horn, the violet flute, the flutter of clarinet

as the master paints like a wizard

directs the winter’s day transition from purity

to cinematic symphony unveiled

the oboe, a stroke of blue

the tint of a piccolo, the fractals of ice

the cymbal and brush across snare, the crunch of snow

the artist, this wizard, paints faster now!

dashes his brush

to catch the heart of the violas, the soul of the cellos

directs the the trace of the spider-legged trees, weighted by a rainbow of icicles.

in the background he beckons the bass to fill the sky with

a trail of smoke from a lonely farm house chimney

the painter, his passion is rhapsody now!

he will transform the scene yet further

not a sound will he make, not a whisper will leave his lips but his magic wand it waves and reaches

he speaks with his heart, his eyes

invisible tendrils reaching across his stage

from heart to heart, from focused eye to eye

a genesis is happening here that is inexplicable…

a village forms on the canvas in my mind’s eye, where there was only snow-covered countryside – a Viennese waltz breaks the ice

and listen! A parade of baroque, as shop keepers open their doors

the day as bright as Chopin!

Spring begins to bud as green as Verdi

and with it, romance, introduced with the grace of a choral harp

the young man sees his beloved and his devotion is conveyed in wordless ensemble: a Mendelssohn affair of the heart

the painting is complete with the lovers’ union

and as the sun sets on the magician’s canvas

the music dims to shadow.

the artist’s arm draws away

we are gently lifted down,

transformed by our journey through a symphonic tale

to find ourselves returned to the silence of snow.


 II. Around the World in 30 Years Vivace, anima

instantly! time shifts, the magician-painter moves forward a century

we are welcomed with Appalachian Spring

we receive the gift of giddy Gershwin gliding gallantly into our golden ghettos

this artist is no longer a painter but an alchemist, channeling the colors, the shapes, the character and emotions of the unseen world into music

suddenly! a tango in 2/4 claps to a start, a young man precisely pulses with the woman in red to the heat of Spanish guitar on their heels…

this wizard with the magic paint brush goes offbeat now

he paints jaggedly, it’s a mystery, this jazz with xylophone hair and striped trumpets popping

this hypnotist, this magician, he takes us from medieval poetry and musical soirees

to red violins dancing in our heads
and layering Rachmaninoff’s fugues like rainbows

he takes us around the world a few times in 30 years

we time travel to illuminate Carmina Burana, chase Puccini butterflies across the room

peacock folk songs polka to Hungarian dances

with Ludwig rarely left behind

…there’s even room for Sesame Street

the parts breathe together: the stage, the canvas, the magician – They are One

the wizard’s eyes and wand beckon the magic light in every star on stage

he magnetizes his constellations to orbit in unison, to form galaxies of passion

to shine and radiate their genius

telepathically, they engage to create a collective intelligence

he imparts light and imagination with his beating heart

illuminating the soul of each piece

and fills the house with helium balloons of harmonies, counterparts and magic melody

 

 

III. It’s a Family Affair Adagio Amoroso

father’s son, with cello bow in hand

your baton dances like a ballerina

creative rhythms move through your body like electricity through conduit:

the light is ON

and you shine it on the audience, the soloists, musicians…everywhere

your careful eye, inspiring heart, and curious soul

delight with the birth of new talent

you mentor and tend the garden of the beginner, the veteran, the seeker

gently leading each soul you touch, bringing to bright light

the tap dancers, the howl of the didgeridoo, the taiko drummers and the cultured and colorful guests who pepper our stage and spice our music

even earthquakes can’t hold you back: the show DID go on!

Abracadabra! you pull a bouquet of measures from your collective stars on stage

some call your stage magic the Klein Phenomenon

you say, “Play very cello-ish”

when you raise your magic wand-baton you make time stand still-ish

you have the ear,

to hear the kindness and the beauty

one-of-a-kind innovator man

these are the lyrics written to you, Classy Glockenspiel

as confident as you are gentle, giving us 30 unforgettable years of unfailing grace

you patiently help us paint a masterpiece of musical splendor

encouraging ever-changing interpretation

you bring beauty, kindness and music into our lives

your gift for teaching and programming

is our gift of learning, creating.

Approachable Hero, you are gracious

you give us good humor, even in difficult moments

Magic Maestro, you have been PSO’s good fortune

Mitchell Klein, you are our beloved conductor and friend.

Thank you for 30 years of magic!

Mitchell Klein & Maurine at his 30th year Gala

Mitchell Klein & Maurine at his 30th year Gala

Learn more about the Peninsula Symphony at: http://peninsulasymphony.org/

 

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