Daniel Dockery

animî nostrî dêbent interdum âlûcinâri

Home of published musician, recording artist, mathematician, programmer, translator, artist, classicist, and general polymath.

March 6th, 2013

Melancolia m-a prins pe stradă
Sunt ameţit.
Oh, primăvara, iar a venit…
Palid, şi mut…
Mii de femei au trecut;
Melancolia m-a prins pe stradă.

E o vibrare de violete:
Trece şi Ea;
Aş vrea,
Dar nu pot s-o salut;
Oh, şi cum a trecut,
Într-o vibrare de violete.

Nimicnicia m-a prins pe stradă;
Am adormit.
Oh, primăvara, iar a venit
Pal, şi uitat…
Vals funebru, depărtat.
Melancolia mă ţine-n stradă…

Melancholy’s caught me on the street,
Spring has come again,
pale and silent….
Thousands of women have passed by;
melancholy’s caught me on the street.

A vibration of violets,
she passes by;
I wish to,
but cannot, greet her—
and now she’s passed
into a vibration of violets.

Emptiness overwhelms me on the street,
Spring has come again,
pale and forlorn….
Like a funeral song in the distance,
melancholy holds me on the street…

George Bacovia, Scântei galbene, “Nervi De Primăvară” (1926; Yellow Sparks, “Spring Anxiety”).

February 23rd, 2013

Iubito, şi iar am venit…
Dar astăzi, de-abia mă mai port―
Deschide clavirul şi cântă-mi
Un cântec de mort.
Şi dacă-am să cad pe covoare
În tristul, tăcutul salon,―
Tu cântă-nainte, iubito,
Încet, monoton.

Love, I’ve come again…
but today, I cannot bear myself—
open the piano and play for me
a song for one dead.
And if I should fall to the floor
in the sad, silent room,
continue playing the same, love,
slowly, unchangingly.

George Bacovia, Plumb, “Trudit” (1916; Lead, “Worn down”)

November 9th, 2012

Duduia veşnic citeşte;
ştie clavirul, pictează—
şi nopţi de-a randul veghează,
şi poate, de-aceea slăbeşte.

Se crede, şi unii o spun—
dar totul rămâne secret—
Duduia viseaz-un poet,
bizar, singuratic, nebun.

The young lady’s always reading;
she plays the piano, paints—
and nights on end she watches, waits…
and, maybe, that’s why she wastes away.

It’s thought, and some say—
though it remains a secret—
the young lady dreams of a poet,
one strange, lonely, mad.

George Bacovia, Scântei galbene, “Unei fecioare” (Yellow Sparks, “To a maiden”; 1926)

Bacovia, “Dimineaţă”

November 3rd, 2011

The poem, from Scîntei galbene (1926):

O cafea neagră… şi-o ploaie de gheaţă,
Când spiritul mai arde culori în odaie—
O privire pe-o carte, pe straie,
Şi pasul mă îndrumă în dimineaţă.

Cum frigul tremurând ca o veste,
Tot plange de-al meu şi de-al tau…
Tot mai mult am rămas cu ce este,
Şi plouă cu-o părere de rău.

Am uitat dacă merg… încă tot mai iubesc…
Am ajuns la timp, ocup şi un loc.
Dar gândul apasă cu greul său bloc…
E numai vedere… nu mai pot să vorbesc…

Translation, “Morning” from Yellow Sparks:

A black coffee… and a hail of ice,
when the spirit burns more color in the room—
a glance at a book, at clothes,
then my steps lead me out in the morning.

When the cold, trembling from the news,
so mourns over what’s mine and what’s yours…
I am increasingly stuck with what’s left,
and it’s raining regret.

I’ve forgotten where I’m going… I’m still in love…
I’ve arrived in time, with a place to sit.
But the thought hits me like a brick…
There is only the vision… I can no longer speak.

Bacovia, “Piano”

June 19th, 2009

The poem:

Şi iar toate-s triste.
Şi azi, ca şi ieri—
potop de dureri.

Şi visul apune
în negrul destin…

Şi vremuri mai bune
nu vin, nu mai vin,
Şi nici mângâieri…

Şi iar toate-s triste,
şi azi, ca şi ieri….


Once more all is sorrow.
Today, as always—
a flood of pain.

And the dream declines
in a dark destiny…

And better times
come not, will come no more,
nor consolation…

And again all is sorrow,
today as yesterday….

Bacovia, “Nocturnă”

June 18th, 2009

The poem:

Fug rătăcind în noaptea cetății,
în turn miezul nopții se bate rar;
e ora când cade gândul amar,
tăcere… e ora lașității…

Te pierzi în golul singurătății
o, suflet, mereu de lume fugar;
e ora când Petru plânge amar—
ascultă… e ora lașității…

Translation, “Night”:

I flee, nocturnally wandering the city
as the bells slowly toll the midnight;
it’s the hour of bitter thoughts.
Hush! It’s the hour of hesitance…

You disappear in the desert of loneliness,
my heart, always a fugitive from the world;
it is the hour when Peter wept bitterly—
listen! It’s the hour of hesitance…

O for a Muse of… dust and bone?

July 18th, 2007

One that would still “ascend | The brightest heaven of invention,” in any event.

(Félix-François Georges Philibert) Ziem (the painter) was dining with two friends at the house of Paul Chevandier de Valdrôme at No. 39 Rue de la Tour d’Auvergne in Paris. The host, somewhat of an eccentric, kept a skeleton in one of his closets and displayed it to Ziem. When the latter met Chopin he told him about the skeleton and Chopin, becoming morbidly impressed with the story, asked Ziem to let him see it. A dinner party was arranged at Valdrôme’s house and during the dessert, Ziem mentioned Chopin’s desire. The skeleton was fetched by the servant and placed near the piano in the drawing room.

Ziem describes the scene that followed:

Chopin, his face pale and his eyes opened to their extent, had enveloped himself in a long winding sheet, and pressed against his throbbing breast he held the ghastly skeleton. The silence of the salon was all at once broken by the sound of music—slow, sad, profound, splendid music, music such as none of us had ever heard before. Immeasurably amazed we were as the beautiful sounds succeeded each other and were gradually fashioned into the world-renowned Funeral March. On to the end played Chopin, still grasping the skeleton, and so spellbound were we that not until the last note was struck did we really recover our senses. Then we hastened to congratulate the shroud-robed musician, and reached his side just as he was on the point of fainting.

So… anyone know where I can get a Muse like that?

Well, I mean, it needn’t actually be a corpse or anything; just something profoundly affecting enough to generate music of such quality. I haven’t been doing too terribly much in the way of new music lately, though of what I’ve done it’s certainly been terrible. Thus the search for a Muse.

Tonight, I have revisited a couple of older pieces, one original, one a sort of collage of other works, and made new, and I hope better quality, recordings of the same. If there’s interest, I will offer one here for any whose ears will endure it. That one, the original score, is the result of an evening spent with one of my own ghosts on the night of her birthday, three years on from her death. It is called “Nevroză“, after the poem of Bacovia that always brings her to mind.

Afară ninge prăpădind,
Iubita cântă la clavir,—
Si târgul stă întunecat,
De parcă ninge-n cimitir.

Iubita cântă-un mars funebru,
iar eu nedumerit mă mir:
De ce să cânte-un mars funebru…
Si ninge ca-ntr-un cimitir.

Ea plânge si-a cazut pe clape,
Si geme greu ca în delir…
În dezacord clavirul moare,
Si ninge ca-ntr-un cimitir.

Si plâng si eu si tremurând
Pe umeri pletele-i răsfir…
Afară târgul stă pustiu,
Si ninge ca-ntr-un cimitir.

Bacovia, “Nevroză”


Outside, it’s snowing horribly;
my lover’s playing the piano—
and the town looks as gloomy
    as snow in a cemetery.

My lover’s playing a funeral march,
and I puzzle myself wondering
why she chooses to play that…
    like snow in a cemetery.

She weeps and she falls on the keys,
and she whimpers painfully as in a fever…
in discord the piano dies,
    like snow in a cemetery.

And I lament, and, trembling,
spread out her hair over her shoulders…
outside the town is deserted,
    like snow in a cemetery.


You can hear the work on Last.FM or here:

This track may also be listened to or voted on at thesixtyone.com.

Daniel Dockery

animî nostrî dêbent interdum âlûcinâri

Home of published musician, recording artist, mathematician, programmer, translator, artist, classicist, and general polymath.

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