b.z. niditch | berg and schoenberg

Berg and Schoenberg

My late uncle
taught me counterpoint
theory and violin
knew both Berg
his mentor Schoenberg
and literally drove me
to learn
the twelve toned concerto
written for Alma
for her fiftieth
“Dem Andenken eines Engels”,
and it took ten years
of my life to grasp it
and though I met Krasner,
who commissioned it
only out of deference
to my uncle in his maturity
I never dared to attempt
to play it publicly,
but believe what the critic
Adorno understood
as “variation,”
my uncle always meant well
once he made me play
a Handel sonata in A minor
twenty times in a day
before the metronome,
in the studio hallway
far from the train station
and home,
Shoenberg’s concerto
also cast a spell on me
with my own sentimentality
on the great status
of music genius in Germany,
and of a child prodigy
who turned away
from his family’s
classical musicality
yearning only for jazz
and Beat poetry and plays
in his early twenties.

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