Jan Erik Vold  Bill Frisell Arild Andersen

Jan Erik Vold 3

BLACKBIRD BYE BYE

Arild Andersen

Bill Frisell

POETRY  by  Wallace  Stevens

Kongsberg JAZZ Festival 2010

 

1   Jordnær anekdote / Earthy Anecdote

ARILD ANDERSEN: EARTH LOOP

2   Svart dominans, Snømannen, En magnifikos metaforer, Utsøkt nomade /

Domination of Black, The Snow Man, Metaphors of a Magnifico, Nomad Exquisite

ARILD ANDERSEN: HYPERBOREAN

3   Tretten måter å se svarttrosten på / Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Birdbird

RAY HENDERSEN: BYE BYE BLACKBIRD

4   Seks ladede landskap / Six Significant Landscapes

ARILD ANDERSEN: THE DAY

5   Keiseren av iskrem / The Emperor of Ice-Cream

ARILD ANDERSEN: BLUES FOR JEV

6   Et vannglass / The Glass of Water

BILL FRISELL: SHORTS

7   Anekdoten om krukken / Anecdote of the Jar

ARILD ANDERSEN: BACKE

8   Mozart, 1935 /Mozart, 1935

BILL FRISELL: DARK FEELING

9   Marken klaka, bladene visne / No Possum, No Sop, No Taters

            ARILD ANDERSEN: FAST TEMPO…

10   Madame la Fleurie / Madame la Fleurie

            ARILD ANDERSEN: FLEURIE

11A Elvenes elv i Connecticut / The Rivers of Rivers in Connecticut

            SPENCER WILLIAMS: BASIN STREET BLUES

11B Om bare å være / Of Mere Being

SPENCER WILLIAMS: BASIN STREET BLUES

12    Mannen med den blå gitar /The Man With the Blue Guitar (I–V, XXXI–XXXIII)

         JIMMY VAN HEUSEN: IMAGINATION

 

Personell: Jan Erik Vold – vocal, Arild Andersen – bass, Bill Frisell – guitar.

Recorded at the Kongberg Cinema House, July 5, 2010 by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.

 

Arild Andersen appears by courtesey of ECM Record Company, Germany.

Bill Frisell appears by courtesey of Savoy Jazz, USA.

 

All the poems written by Wallace Stevens, translated into Norwegian by Jan Erik Vold.

Poems in original are taken from Wallace Stevens: Collected Poems and Opus Posthumous, published by Alfred A. Knopf Inc, New York @ 1954, 1957. Printed by permission from the publisher.

Poems in translation are taken from Wallace Stevens: Keiseren av iskrem, a selection by Jan Erik Vold, published by Gyldendal Norsk Forlag @ 2009. Printed by permission from the publisher.

JAN ERIK VOLD READING

WALLACE STEVENS

WITH ARILD ANDERSEN & BILL FRISELL

AT KONGSBERG, NORWAY 2010

 

It’s great to be in Kongsberg, with Mr. Bill Frisell (applause), Mr. Arild Andersen, my old friend from forty years back (applause), and now this impossible poet  — here upstairs (pointing at an enlarged portrait of the poet, at the fond of the stage) — Mr. Wallace Stevens. He writes so nice and so strange and so … intriguing poems that I’ve been … trying to translate them for forty years. Last year this selection came out, The Emperor of Ice-Cream / Keiseren av iskrem.

So if some of you think otherwise, you’re in for a disappointment. Tonight, it will be Vold as a translator — and what’s been translated are poems by Wallace Stevens. A few pieces I might read also in English, in honour of our guest here. Arild made most of the musical arrangements, a couple of tunes are by Bill, and you might also recognize a few standards. Well Arild, I guess it’s time to get started.

 

1

A R I L D   A N D E R S E N :   E A R T H   L O O P

This is the very first poem in Stevens’ Collected Poems. It’s called “Earthy Anecdote” / ”Jordnær anekdote”. You’ll observe that his poetry is located in different states of the nation. Here we are in Oklahoma.

 

JORDNÆR ANEKDOTE                           EARTHY ANECDOTE

 

Hver gang hjortene kom klampende                   Every time the bucks went clattering

over Oklahoma                                    Over Oklamhoma, a fire-cat

stod en villkatt i veien og freste.                          A firecat bristled in the wa.

 

Overalt hvor de fór                           Wherever they went,

klampet de fram                             They went clattering,

og tok plutselig av                                Until they swerved

i en bue                                    In a swift, circular line

til høyre                                               To the right,

på grunn av katta.                           Because of the firecat.

 

Eller tok plutselig av                               Or they swerved

i en bue                                                In a swift, circular line

til venstre                                            To the left,

på grunn av katta.                           Because of the firecat.

 

Hjortene klampet.                                  The bucks clattered.

Villkatta fortsatte å bykse                           The firecat went leaping,

til høyre, til venstre,                                    To the right, to the left,

stod                                          And

midt i veien og freste.                          Bristled in the way.

 

Så lukket katta det klare øyet               Later, the firecat closed his bright eyes

og sovnet.                                            And slept.

 

2

A R I L D   A N D E R S E N :   H Y P E R B O R E A N

Here are four poems gathered into a group which could be called “The Four Seasons”.  We start in autumn, as you can hear. Then you know where we will end.

SVART DOMINANS                                                                                                                                                       DOMINATION OF BLACK

Om kvelden, foran peisen                             At night, by the fire,

ble fargene fra trærne                          The colors of the bushes

og fra det falne løvet                            And of the fallen leaves,

gjentatt og gjentatt,                                   Repeating themselves,

flakkende i rommet                                    Turned in the room,

lik løvet selv                                        Like the leaves themselves

som flakket i vinden.                         Turning in the wind.

Ja. Men fargen fra de tunge granene                        Yes: but the color of the heavy hemlocks

kom skridende inn.                              Came striding.

Og jeg husket påfuglenes skrik.               And I remembered the cry of the peacocks.

 

Fargene på deres haler                                The colors of their tails

var lik løvet selv                              Were like the leaves themselves

som flakket i vinden,                         Turning in the wind,

i tusmørkets vind.                            In the twilight wind.

De feide gjennom rommet                                    They swept over the room,

nettopp som de lettet fra granenes grener                                        Just as they flew from the boughs of the hemlocks

og landet på marken.                                   Down to the ground.

Jeg hørte at de skrek — påfuglene.                    I heard them cry – the peacocks.

Var det et skrik mot tusmørket             Was it a cry against the twilioght

eller mot løvet selv                              Or against the leaves themselves

som flakket i vinden,                         Turning in the wind,

flakket slik flammene                                 Turning as the flames

flakket i peisen,                         Turned in the fire,

flakket slik påfuglhalene                             Turning as the tails of the peacocks

flakket i den sprakende ilden,                Turned in the loud fire,

sprakende som granene                                    Loud as the hemlocks

fulle av påfuglskrik?                             Full of the cry of the peacocks?

Eller var det et skrik mot granene?                      Or was it a cry against the hemlocks?

 

Ut av vinduet                                       Out of the window

så jeg hvordan klodene samlet seg                   I saw how the planets gathered

lik løvet selv                                        Like the leaves themselves

som flakket i vinden.                         Turning in the wind.

Jeg så hvordan natten kom,                             I saw how the night came,

kom skridende inn lik fargen fra de tunge granene.           Came striding like the color of the heavy hemlocks.

Jeg ble redd.                                          I felt afraid.

Og jeg husket påfuglenes skrik.               And I remembered the cry of the peacocks.

 

 

SNØMANNEN                                     THE SNOW MAN

Du skal ha en sjel av vinter                            One must have a mind of winter

for å se på frosten og furugreinene                To regard the frost and the boughs

tynget av skorpesnø                                Of the pione-trees crusted with snow

 

 

og ha levd lenge i kulda                             And have been cold a long time

for å skue de nedisede einebuskene                  To behold the junipers shagged with ice,

og grana rufsete i januarsolens                 The spruces rough in the distant glitter

 

fjerne glans – og ikke legge                            Of the Jnuary sun; and not to think

noen armodslighet i lyden av vind,              Of any misery in the sound of the wind,

lyden av spredte løv                               In the sound of a few leaves,

 

som er lyden fra et innland                           Which is the sound of the land

fylt av samme vind                             Full of the same wind

som blåser i samme ødslige egn                   That is blowing in the same bare place

 

for den lyttende, selv ingenting, som             For the listener, who listens in the snow,

lytter i snøen og ser                           And, nothing himself, beholds

ingenting som ikke er der og det ingenting som er.                     Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

 

 

EN MAGNIFIKOS METAFORER             METAPHORS OF A MAGIFICO

 

Tyve menn som går over en bro              Twenty men crossing a bridge,

inn til en landsby                         Into a village,

er tyve menn som går over tyve broer                    Are twenty men crossing twenty bridges,

inn til tyve landsbyer                                  Into twenty villages,

eller en mann                                       Or one man

som går over en bro inn til en landsby.                   Crossing a single bridge into a village.

 

Dette er et gammelt refreng                         This is old song

som nekter å gi seg til kjenne …                     That will not declare itself …

 

Tyve menn som går over en bro              Twenty men crossing a bridge,

inn til en landsby                         Into a village,

er                                             Are

tyve menn som går over en bro             Twenty men crossing a bridge

inn til en landsby.                                    Into a village.

 

Som nekter å gi seg til kjenne                That will not declare itself

men likevel sier sitt …                                 Yet is certain as meaning …

 

Mennenes støvler dundrer                         The boots of the men clump

mot broplankene.                            On the boards of the bridge.

Den første hvite muren i landsbyen                     The first white wall of the village

skimtes gjennom frukttrærne.                             Rises through fruit-trees.

Hva tenkte jeg på?                               Of what was I thinking?

 

Slik går meningen tapt.                         So the meaning escapes.

 

Den første hvite muren i landsbyen …                 The first white wall of the village …

Frukttrærne …                                     The fruit-trees …

 

 

Og sommeren tar vi i Florida.

 

 

 

UTSØKT NOMADE                                NOMAD EXUISITE

 

Mens den enorme duggen i Florida                       As the immense dew of Florida

gir liv til                                               Brings forth

den bredfinnede palmen                         The big-finned palm

og den grønne, livshigende vinranken,                   And green vine angering for life,

 

mens den enorme duggen i Florida                       As the immense dew of Florida

føder lovsang etter lovsang                            Brings forth hymn and hymn

hos betrakteren                                    From the beholder,

som betrakter alt dette grønne             Beholding all these green sides

og alt dette gylne i alt dette grønne                         And gold sides of green sides,

 

og det velsignede morgengry                               And blessed morrnings,

som skapt for de flerrende farger               Meet for the eye of the young alligator,

og ung-alligatorens blikk,                           And lightning colors

da flommer det over, også i meg,                 So, in me, come flinging

av former og ildblaff og flammeflak.                 Forms, flames, and the flakes of flames.

 

            (announcing) Arild Andersen: “The Four Seasons”.

3

R O Y   H E N D E R S O N :   B Y E   B Y E   B L A C K B I R D

We’re back early in the previous century, we’re back around 1920, when these early poems were written. In American poetry there was an influence from the Japanse haiku form at that time, when the poetic school of imagism was introduced, which some of you might have heard of. Here comes one of  the most well-known of  Stevens’ poem, in fact the first one I translated and got published in 1970. ”Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”.

 

TRETTEN MÅTER                                   THIRTEEN WAYS

Å SE SVARTTROSTEN PÅ                         OF LOOKING AT A BLACKBIRD

 

I                                               I

Tyve snødekte fjell.                             Among twenty snowy mountains,

Det eneste som rørte seg                                   The only thing moving

var svarttrostens øye.                             Was the eye of the blackbird

 

II                                             II

Tre ting i tankene, jeg var                               I was of three minds,

som en eik                                           Like a tree

med tre svarttroster i.                           In which there are three blackbirds.

 

III                                            III

Svarttrosten hvirvlet der høstvinden fór.             The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.

Det hørte også med til pantomimen.               It was a small part of the pantomime.

 

IV                                            IV

En kvinne og en mann                                   A man and a woman

er ett.                                       Are one.

En kvinne og en mann og en svarttrost                     A man and a woman and a blackbird

er ett.                                       Are one.

 

 

 

V                                              V

Jeg vet ikke hva                              I do not know which to prefer,som er vakrest, tingene uttrykt                                     The beauty of inflections

eller tingene antydet,                                   Or the beauty of innuendoes,

svarttrosten når den synger                          The blackbird whistling

eller like etterpå.                                    Or just after.

 

VI                                            VI

Istapper fylte det høye vinduet             Icicles filled the long window

med barbarisk glass.                            With barbaric glass.

Svarttrostens skygge                          The shadow of the blackbird

gled over ruten, frem og tilbake,             Crossed it, to and fro.

stemningen                                          The mood

søkte i skyggen                         Traced in the shadow

en uforklarlig årsak.                           An indecipherable cause

 

VII                                           VII

Å dere Haddams tynnne menn,              O thin men of Haddam,

hvorfor tenke på fugler av gull?                 Why do you imagine golden birds?

Ser dere ikke hvordan svarttrosten                 Do you not see how the blackbird

tripper mellom bena                             Walks around the feet

på kvinnene som omgir dere?                            Of the women around you?

 

VIII                                          VIII

Jeg kjenner den stolte tonen                             I know noble accents

og den sikre, selvsagte rytmen,                        And lucid, inescapable rhythms;

jeg vet også                                          But I know, too,

at svarttrosten har del                          That the blackbird is involved

i det jeg vet.                                         In what I know.

 

IX                                            IX

I punktet der svarttrosten forsvant                       When the blackbird flew out of sight,

krysset den én                                      It marked the edge

av mange srkler.                          Of one of many circles.

 

X                                             X

Når svarttrosten flyr                              At the sight of blackbirds

gjennom det grønne rom                              Flying in a green light,

pleier selv de som vasser i vellyd               Even the bawds of euphony

å ta imot.                                             Would cry out sharply.

 

XI                                            XI

Han reiste gjennom Connecticut                 He rode over Connecticut

i en diligence med store ruter.                In a glass coach.

Han fór sammen                                   Once, a fear pierced him,

da han engang kom til å forveksle                      In that he mistook

skyggen av vognen                         The shadow of his equipage

med svarttrost.                         For blackbirds.

 

XII                                             XII

Elven i bevegelse.                                 The river is moving

Svarttrosten må fly.                         The blackbird must be flying.

 

 

 

XIII                                         XIII

Det var kveld fra tidlig på dagen.              It was evening all afternoon.

Det snødde                                           It was snowing

og det skulle bli ved å snø.                                 And it was going to snow.

Svarttrosten satt                              The blackbird sat

i furutreet.                                            In the cedar-limbs.

4

A R I L D   A N D E R S E N :   T H E   D A Y

This next poem consists of six poems and the title is ”Six Significant Landscapes”. The Norwegian version has been titled – maybe a little off, but anyway: “Seks ladede landskap”, which means “Six Charged Landscapes”. Once again, we are among the descriptive poems of imagism, for those of you who’d like to know.

 

SEKS LADEDE LANDSKAP                SIX SIGNIFICANT LANDSCAPES

 

I                                               I

En gammel mann                           And old man sits

sitter i skyggen av en pinje                               In the shadow of a pine tree

i Kina.                                      In China.

Han ser riddersporer,                             He sees larkspur,

blå og hvite,                                         Blue and white,

i utkanten av skyggen, de rører                At the edge of the shadows,

seg i vinden.                                         Move in the wind.

Skjegget rører seg i vinden.                             His beard moves in the wind.

Pinjen rører seg i vinden.                             The pine tree moves in the wind.

Slik vannet                                           Thus water flows

strømmer over sivene.                         Over weeds.

 

II                                             II

Natten er av samme farve                            The night is of the color

som en kvinnes arm:                             Of a woman’s arm:

Natten, den kvinnelige,                               Night, the female,

dunkle,                                     Obscure,

duftende og myke,                          Fragrant and supple,

skjuler seg.                                           Conseals herself.

Vanndammen funkler,                                    A pool shines,

lik et armbånd                                      Like a bracelet

som ristes i dansen.                         Shaken in a dance.

III                                            III

Jeg måler meg                                      I measure myself

mot et høyt tre.                               Against a tall tree.

Jeg oppdager at jeg er mye høyere,             I find that I am much taller,

for jeg når opp til solen                                    For I reach right up to the sun,

med øyet                                              With my eye;

og ut til havkanten                                And I reach to the shore of the sea

med øret.                                             With my ear.

Likevel misliker jeg                              Nevertheless, I dislike

måten det kryper maur                             The way ants crawl

inn og ut av skyggen min på.                               In and out of my shadow.

 

 

 

 

 

IV                                            IV

Da min drøm nesten var ved månen              When my dream was near to the moon,

ble månens hvite kjolefolder                               The white folds of its gown

fylt av et gult lys.                               Filled with yellow light.

Og fotsålene                                         The soles of its feet

ble røde.                                               grew red.

Håret ble fylt                                       Its hair filled

av en blå krystallinsk glans                            With certain blue crystallizations

fra stjerner                                           From stars,

like ved.                                               Not far off.

V                                              V

Hverken lyktestolpenes alle kniver                    Not all the knives of the lamp-posts,

eller de lange gaters meisler                           Not the chisels of the long streets,

eller kuplenes                                       Not the mallets of the domes

og de høye tårns klubber                            And high towers,

kan hugge ut                                         Can carve

det én stjerne kan hugge ut                             What one star can carve,

der den skinner gjennom vinrankene.                  Shininh through the grape-leaves.

 

VI                                            VI

Rasjonalister, iført firkantede hatter,              Rationalists, wearing square hats,

tenker i firkantede rom,                                    Think, in square rooms,

når de stirrer i gulvet,                          Looking at the floor,

stirrer i taket.                                       Looking at the ceiling.

De begrenser seg                               They confine themselves

til rettvinklede trekanter.                                 To right-angled triangles.

Hadde de forsøkt seg på romber,                        If the trioed rhomboids,

kjegler, kurver, ellipser —                                 Cones, waving lines, ellipses —

for eksempel halvmånens ellipse —                         As for example, the ellipse of the half-moon —

ville rasjonalister ha båret sombrero.                          Rationalist would wear sombreros.

 

5

ARILD ANDERSEN: BLUES FOR JEV

“The Emperor of Ice-Cream”/ “Keiseren av iskrem”. Our master upstairs, he was a tall and big and statelig and proud person. He was a lawyer by profession, having graduated at Harvard and in New York City. He worked as a vice-president at one of the largest insurances companies in Hartford, Connecticut, which is the nation’s insurance industry center, at least on the East Coast. He took a liking to sweets and cream-cakes, and at his most he carried a weight of xxx punds. When creating a character like “The Emperor of Ice-Cream”, he gets the right mixture of cold and warm.

The poem is a little tricky. I’ll try to explaim: “La er sette punktum for så ut som det var./ Keiseren av iskrem er den eneste vi har.” In original: “Let be be finale of seem./ The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.” The poem is about something that’ll be different from what it’ll seem to be. You’ll find that out as the texts unfolds. It seems to be about a celebration. It is about a more sordid occasion.

 

KEISEREN AV ISKREM                                  THE EMPEROR OF ICE-CREAM

 

Rop inn muskelberget, han som ruller              Call the roller of big cigars,

store sigarer, og be ham piske                The muscular one and bid him whip

begrene fulle med afroditisk fromage.                      In kitchen cups concupoicent curds.

La tøsene på kjøkkenet sjokke rundt                 Let the wenches  dawdle in such dress

 

 

i hverdagslige klær og la drengene                      As they are used to wear, and let the boys

bringe blomster i gamle aviser.                Bring flowers in last month’s newspapers.

La er sette punktum for så ut som det var.             Let be be finale of seem.

Keiseren av iskrem er den eneste vi har.               The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

 

Ta ut av den enkle furukommoden                         Take from the dresser of deal,

som mangler tre glassknotter, det lakenet                   Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet

hun hadde brodert påfuglduer på                On which she embroidered fantails once

og bre det over, så ikke ansiktet syns.                And spread it so as to cover her face.

Stikker de ru føttene ut, vil de røpe               If her horny feet protrude, they come

hvor kald hun er blitt, og stum.                To show how cold she is, and dumb.

La lampen feste strålen, tindrende og klar.                 Let the lamp affix its beam.

Keiseren av iskrem er den eneste vi har.               The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

6

B I L L   F R I S E L L :   S H O R T S

This next is a composition by Bill Frisell. Stevens’ poem “The Glass of Water”  was written in  1938. There is kind of a pre-war atmosphere here.

 

ET VANNGLASS                           THE GLASS OF WATER

 

At glasset vil smelte i varme,                         That the glass would melt in heat,

at vannet vil fryse i kulde                             That the water would freeze in cold,

viser at denne tingen er bare én                    Shows that this object is merely a state,

av mange tilstander, mellom to poler. I det                   One of many, between two poles. So,

metafysiske fins altså disse poler.               In the metaphysicals, there are these poles.

 

Her i midten står glasset. Lyset               Here in the centre stands the glass. Light

er løven som kommer ned for å drikke. Der                  Is the lion that comes down to drink. There

og i denne tilstand er glasset en kulp.             And in that statew, the glass is a pool.

Rødsprengte er øynene, rødsprengte klørne              Ruddy are his eyes and ruddy are his claws

når lyset kommer ned for å fukte sitt frådende gap            When light comes down to wet its frothy jaws.

 

og nede i vannet sviver sivene rundt.                And in the water windy weeds move round.

Og der og i en annen tilstand — lysbrytningene,            And there and in another state – the refractions,

metafysikken — kollapser diktets bevegelige deler            The metaphysica, the plastic parts of the poem??

i tanken. Men, fete Jocundus, bekymret                     Crash in the mind – But, fat Jocundus, worrying

over det som befinner seg her i midten, ikke glasset            About what stands here in the centre, not the glass

 

men midt i våre liv, i den tid som er, dagen i dag,            But in the centre of our lives, this time, this day,

eksisterer også en tilstand, denne våren blant politikere            It is a state, this spring amongthe politicians

som spiller kort. I en fremmed landsby er det mangt Playing cards. In a village of the indigenes,

man må finne ut selv. Blant bikkjer og lort                                 One would have still to discover. Among the dogs and dung.

må man fortsette å kjempe for hva man tror på              One would continue to contend with one’s ideas.

 

7

 A R I L D   A N D E R S E N :   B A C K É

Here comes a strange poem, which has come to be one of his most well-known:

 

ANEKDOTEN OM KRUKKEN                  ANECDOTE OF THE JAR

 

Jeg tok en krukke i Tennessee                    I placed a jar in Tennesee,

og satte den opp på en ås.                            And round it was, upon a hill.

Krukken der fikk alt buskas                          It made the slovenly wilderness

til å omkranse denne ås.                                  Surround that hill.

 

Krattet vokste langs åsen opp                          The wilderness rose up to it,

og danderte seg rundt, ikke vilt.                           And sprawled around, no lpnger wild.

En krukke stod anbrakt på bakketopp.                   The jar was round upon the ground

Staselig tronet den, på sin post.                And tall and of a port in air.

 

Krukken gav tone til alt omkring.                      It took dominion everywhere.

Grå av farge, med ingenting i                         The jar was gray and bare.

minnet den om hverken fugl eller busk                      It did not give of bird or bush,

eller noen ting i Tennessee.                             Like nothing else in Tennessee.

 

8

B I L L   F R I S E L L :   D A R K   F E E L I N G

Bill Frisell will give us a hommage to Mozart. Anyway, the poem is called “Mozart, 1935”. This is also pre-war time, as you will hear. “Poet, be seated at the piano” is the opening line.

 

MOZART, 1935                            MOZART, 1935

 

Poet, ta plass ved pianoet.                             Poet, be seated at the piano.

Spill dagen i dag, tidens u-bu-hu,               Play the present, its hoo-hoo-hoo,

gamle schu-bu-hu, tidens rikke-ti-rikk                 Its shoo-shoo-shoo, its ric-a-nic,

og onde latterbrøl.                                 Its envious cachinnation.

 

Kaster de steiner på taket                                    If they throw stones upon the roof

når du øver på dine arpeggios              While you practice arpeggios,

er det fordi de bærer et fattiglems lik                It is because they carry down the stairs

ned trappene.                                       A body in rags.

Ta plass ved pianoet.                                   Be seated at the piano.

 

Det lysende minne om noe som var,                       That lucid souvenir of the past,

et divertimento,                           The divertimento,

den luftige drømmen om det som skal bli,                   That airy dream of the future,

en skyfri concerto …                              The unclouded concert …

Det snør.                                              The snow is falling.

Slå an den skjærende dissonans.                     Strike the piercing chord.

 

Stemmen være Deres, Maestro.                      Be thou the voice.

Ikke din. Det er De, det er De                    Not you. Be thou, be thou.

som skal bære den iltre redsels stemme,                       The voice of angry fear,

den nagende smertes røst.                            The voice of this besieging pain.

 

Lyden av vinter være Deres                           Be thou that wintry sound

som når stormen hyler                          As of a great wind howling,

og slipper sorgen løs,                                By which sorrow is released,

lar den fare, klinge hen                                Dismissed, absolved

i en blendende forsoning.                                In a starry placating.

 

Vi kan vende tilbake til Mozart.                        We may return to Mozart.

Han var ung og vi, vi er gamle.             He was young, and we, we are old.

Det snør                                               The snow is falling

og gatene runger av skrik.                                    And the streets are full of cries.

Maestro, ta plass.                            be seated, thou.

 

 

9

A R I L D   A N D E R S E N :   F A S T   T E M P O ,   F R E E   W A L K I N G ,   R A N D O M   S T O P S

MARKEN KLAKA. BLADENE VISNE.             NO POSSUM, NO SOP, NO TATERS

Han er ikke her, den gamle sol,                   He is not here, the old sun,

er like bortreist som om vi sov.                         As absent as if we were asleep.

 

Marken er klaka. Bladene er visne.                       The field is frozen. The leaves are dry.

Denne armod er kommet for å bli.                 Bad is final in this light.

 

I denne gustne luften står knekte stilker               In this bleak air the broken stalks

med armer uten hode. Står med kropper                        Have arms without hands. They have trunks

 

uten ben eller, for den del, uten hoder.                   Without legs or, for that, without heads.

Står med hoder der et kvalt skrik                They have heads in which a captive cry

 

ikke er annet enn en bevegelse av tungen.             Is merely the moving of a tongue.

Snøen gnistrer lik øyne som faller                Snow sparkle like eyesight falling to earth,

 

på bakken og synet blindes av lys.              Like seeing fallen brightly away.

Bladene fyker og skraper mot marken.                       The leaves hop, scraping in the ground.

 

Det er dypt i januar. Himmelen er hard.                It is deep January. The sky is hard.

Stilkene er frosset fast i isen.                             The stalks are firmly rooted in ice.

 

I denne ensomheten, ut av denne rykkende                      It is in this solitude, a syllable,

bevegelsen er det at en stavelse                        Out of these gawky flitterings,

 

utstøter sin enstonige forlatthet,                    Intones its single emptiness,

et vintergny av råeste hulhet.                           The svagest hollow of winter-sound.

 

Det er her, i denne armod, vi finner frem              It is here, in this bad, that we reach

til den reneste kunnskap om godhet.             The last purity of the knowledge of good.

 

Kråka ser sliten ut der den letter.              The crow looks rusty as he rises up.

Ondskapen lyser i fuglens øye …              Bright is the malice of his eye …

 

Slår man seg i lag med den karen               One joins him there for company,

skjer det på avstand, i et annet tre.                     But at a distance, in another tree.

 

            (announcing) Bill Frisell!

 

10

A R I L D   A N D E R S E N :   F L E U R I E

Now, you’re going to hear a poem that was never written in Norwegian. Well, that’s the case with all these poems, of course. But this is a poem about the evil mother, and it’s out of taste to talk about the evil mother when we know how many evil fathers there are. But anyway. And it’s not only about the evil mother, but also about the evil mother’s poor son, on the brink of summing up his life and lay himself down in his coffin. This is a “lady of flowers”, according to the title of the poem, but these are strange flowers.

 

 

 

MADAME LA FLEURIE

 

Tyng ham ned, o sidestjerner, med endeliktets tunge lodd.

Forsegl ham der. Han stirret i et jordens speil og trodde han bodde i det.

Nå tar han alt han så med seg ned i jorden, til den mor som venter.

Hans forfriskende kunnskaper fortæres av henne, bak duggen.

 

Tyng ham ned, tunge lodd, tyng ham ned med månens søvnighet.

Det var bare et speil fordi han så i det. Det var ingenting han kunne bli fortalt.

Det var et språk han snakket fordi han måtte, uten å beherske det.

Det var noen linjer han fant i en lærebok om hjertesorg.

De svarte fugene anslår sverten i det svarte …

De tykke strengene stotrer strupens harkelyder.

Han ligger ikke der og minnes nøtteskrika, den blåtonede fugl.

Hans sorg er at moren åt av ham, av livet hans og det han så

i et kammers langt unna, en dronning med skjegg, ond i sitt døde lys.

 

 

MADAME LA FLEURIE

 

Weight him down, O side-stars, with the great weightings of the end.

Seal him there. He looked in a glass of the earth and thought he lived in it.

Now, he brings all that he saw into the earth, to the waiting parent.

His crisp knowledge is devoured by her, beneath a dew.

 

Weight him, weight, weight him with the sleepiness of the moon.

It was only a glass because he looked in it. It was nothing he could be told.

It was a ølanguage he spoke, because he must, yet did not know.

It was a page he had found in the handbook of heartbreak.

 

The black fugatos are strumming the blackness of black …

The thick strings stutter the finial gutturals.

He does not lie there remembering the blue-jay, say the jay.

His grief is that his mother should feed on him, himself and what he saw,

In that distant chamber, a bearded queen, wicked in her dead light.

 

11 A

S P E N C E R   W I L L I A M S :   B A S I N   S T R E E T   B L U E S

The great poet is entering old age. He lived till the age of 75 and was very close to that, when he

wrote this poem, which is a celebration of all rivers, in his case the Connecticut River. We’ll notice

he brings in Charon, the ancient ferryman — then we know what kind of river this is.

 

ELVENES ELV I CONNECTICUT                     THE RIVER OF RIVERS IN CONNECTICUT

 

Det fins en veldig elv hitenfor Styx,              There is a great river this side of Stygia,

før man kommer til de første svarte strykene            Before one comes to the first black cataracts

og trær som står uten trærs forstand.                      And trees that lack the intelligence of trees.

 

I denne elven, langt hitenfor Styx,                In that river, far this side of Stygia,

er selve vannet med sitt driv en lystighet                       The mere flowing of the watewr is a gayety,

som blinker og blinker i sola. Det vanker ingen skygge Flashing and flashing in the sun. On its banks

 

 

langs disse strender. Elven er skjebnessvanger,          No shadow walks. The river is fateful,

som den aller siste. Men det fins ingen ferjekar her.              Like the last one. But there is no ferryman.

Han kunne ikke ha styrt i den strie strømmen.       He could not bend against its propelling force.

 

Denne kraft er umulig å se under elveflaten                     It is not te be seen beneath the appearances

som røper den. Kirkespiret ved Farmington                  That tell of it. The steeple at Farmington

står skimrende og Haddam glitrer og svaier.              Stands glistening and Haddam shines and sways.

 

Det er den tredje alldaglighet, som lys og luft,            It is the third commonness with light and air,

et livsløp, en styrke, en lokal abstraksjon …               A curriculum, a vigor, a local abstraction …

Kall den så igjen en elv, et navnløst driv                Call it, once more, a river, an unnamed flowing,

 

oppfylt av rom, et årstidenes speil, sansenes                       Space-filled, reflecting the seasons, the folk-lore

folkeminne, kall den om og om igjen                       Of each of the senses, call it, again and again,

elven som ingensteds flyter, lik havet.              The river that flows nowhere, like a sea.

 

11 B

The strange thing about Wallace Stevens is that he hardly wrote a single poem where he himself is present, as the person he was. What we do know is that this following poem is the last one he wrote, a few months before he died. Discretely he sketches a landscape about to vanish. And a human mind about to take off.

 

 

OM BARE Å VÆRE

 

Palmen som står der bevisstheten viker,

bortenfor ytterste tanke, ruver

i bronsedekoren.

en fugl med gullfjær

synger i palmen, uten menneskelig mening,

uten menneskelig følelse, en fremmed sang.

 

Da vet du det er ikke fornuften

som gjør oss lykkelige eller ulykkelige.

Fuglen synger. Fjærene skinner.

 

Palmen kneiser på kanten av rommet.

Vinden duver sakte i grenene.

Fuglens ildfengte fjær henger ned

 

OF MERE BEING

 

The palm at the end of the mind,

Beyond the last thought, rises

In the bronze decor,

 

A gold-feathered bird

Sings in the palm, without human meaning,

Without human feeling, a foreign song.

 

You know then that it is not the reason

That makes us happy or unhappy.

The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

 

The palm stands on the edge of space.

The wind moves slowly in the branches.

The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.


 

(announcing) Mr. Bill Frisell! And my old friend Arild Andersen from Lillestrøm. Wallace Stevens, Hartford, Connecticut. Jan Erik Vold doing the talking. Thanks a lot! (heavy applause. And responding to the applause) This was just what we had hoped for. Because we planed one extra number. Here (bring out a book) is a painting by Picasso: “Man with a Blue Guitar”. It is said to be one of the inspirations for one of Stevens’  most famous poems. And even if Bill Frisell is equipped with a white instrument, in our imagination we make it blue. ”The Man with the Blue Guitar”. And a beautiful tune by van Heusen: ”Imagination”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

J I M M Y   V A N   H E U S E N :   I M A G I N A T I O N

MANNEN MED DEN BLÅ GITAR                THE MAN WITH THE BLUE GUITAR

 

I                                               I

Mannen satt bøyd over sin gitar,                The man bent over his guitar,

som en skredderkar. Dagen var grønn.              A shearsman of sorts. The day was green.

 

De sa: «Du har en blå gitar,                              They said, «You have a blue guitar,

du spiller ikke tingene som de er.»                  You do not play things as they are.»

 

Mannen svarte: «Tingene som de er                 The man replied, «Things as they are

forvandles på min blå gitar.»                          Are changed upon the blue guitar.»

 

«Men spille må du,» sa de, «en melodi              And they said then, «But play, you must,

hinsides oss, men i oss likevel,                         A tune beyond us, yet ourselves,

 

en melodi på din blå gitar                              A tune upon the blue guitar

om tingene akkurat som der er.»             Of things exactly as they are.»

 

II                                             II

Jeg formår ikke gjøre verden rund                 I cannpot bring a world quite round,

om jeg flikker den alt det jeg kan.                 Although I patch it as I can.

 

Jeg synger heltens hode, hans øye stort              I sing a hero’s head, large eye

og bronseskjegg, men knapt noen mann                   And bearded bronze, but not a man,

 

om jeg enn flikker det beste jeg kan                Although I patch him as I can

og på så vis når nesten fram til mann.              And reach through him almost to man.

 

Hvis det å synge nesten til mann               If to serenade almost to man

er å bomme på tingene som de er,                    Is to miss, by that, things as they are,

 

la så dette bli den aftensang                           Say that it is the serenade

som synges av mann med blå gitar.                Of a man that plays a blue guitar.

 

III                                            III

Åh, men å spille mann nummer én,                  Ah, but to play man number one,

kjøre dolken rett i hjertet på ham,                To drive the dagger in his heart,

 

kline hjernen hans utover bordet              To lay his brain upon the board

og velge de bitreste farger deri,                 And pick the acrid colors out,

 

spikre hugen hans fast tvers over døra,                    To nail his thought across the door,

med vingene blottlagt for regnet og snøen,              Its wings spread wide to rain and snow,

 

denge løs på hans livsens lyster og lengsler,                       To strike his living hi and ho,

vri ham, skru ham, vrenge ham sann,                    To tick it, tock it, turn it true,

 

fri ham fra alt hans barbariske blå                    To bang it from a savage blue,

mens det klinger fra strengenes bunn …             Jangling the metal of the strings …

 

 

IV                                            IV

Så dette er altså livet: ting som de er,                So that’s life, then: things as they are?

slik de klimpres i vei på den blå gitar?               It picks its way on the blue guitar.

 

Én million mennesker på en eneste streng?             A million people on one string?

Alle deres måter i denne ene ting,                       And all their manners in the thing,

 

alle deres måter, om rett eller galt,                      And all their manners, right and wrong,

alle deres måter, om sterkt eller svalt?               And all their manners, weak and strong?

 

Følelsene freser, i vanvidd og i list                   The feelings crazily, craftily call,

lik summende fluer i høstdagens luft             Like a buzzing of flies in autumn air,

 

og dette er altså livet: ting som de er,                    And that’s life, then: things as they are,

denne summingen fra den blå gitar.                This buzzing of the blue guitar.

 

V                                              V

Nevn ikke for oss poesiens storhet,                        Do not speak to us of the greatness of poetry,

fakler som funkler i undergrunnen,              Of the torches wisping in the underground,

 

takets buehvelv på lysets strålespiss.                                             Of the structure of vaults upon a point of light.

Det fins ingen skygger der vår sol lyser,                      There are no shadows in our sun,

 

dagen er begjær og natten søvn.                         Day is desire and night is sleep.

Det fins ingen skygger noen steder.              There are no shadows anywhere.

 

Jorden for oss ligger flat og øde.                  The earth, for us, is flat and bare.

Det fins ingen skygger. En poesi                There are no shadows. Poetry

 

som overgår all musikk må ta det rom                        Exceeding music must take the place

den tomme himmel og dens hymner innehar             Of empty heaven and its hymns,

 

slik vi, i vårt dikt, skal innta samme rom selv            Ourselves in poetry must take their place,

om så bare ved klunkingen fra din gitar.                      Even in the chattering of your guitar.

 

XXXI                                       XXXI

Hvor lenge og sent fasanen sover …                       How long and late the pheasant sleeps …

arbeidsgiver og -tager strides,               The employer and the employee contend,

 

kives, bedriver sitt selsomme bestyr.              Combat, compose their droll affair.

Den boblende solen vil boble opp,                 The bubbling sun will bubble up,

 

våren tindre og fasanen skrike.             Spring sparkle and the cock-bird shriek.

Arbeidsgiver og -tager vil høre              The employer and the employee will hear

 

og fortsette der de slapp. Skriket             And continue their affair. The shriek

vil pine buskene. Det fins ingen plass             Will rack the thickets. There is no place,

 

for lerken fanget i fantasiens rom, her                   Here, for the lark fixed in the mind,

i himmelens museum. Fasanen                        In the museum of the sky. The cock

 

vil klore søvnen. Morgenen er ikke sol,                       Will claw sleep. Morning is not sun,

den er nervenes positur                         It is the posture of the nerves,

 

 

som om en sløv musikant slo an               As if a blunted player clutced

hver nyanse på den blå gitar.                            The nuances of the blue guitar.

 

Denne rapsodi får det bli, eller ingen,               It must be this rhapsody or none,

en rapsodi over tingene som de er.                    The rapsody of things as they are.

 

XXXII                                     XXXII

Kast bort alle lys, alle definisjoner                  Throw away the lights, the definitions,

og si om det du i mørket ser                             And say of what you see in the dark

 

at dét er ditt og dét er datt,                               That it is this or that it is that,

men bruk ikke utbrukte navn.             But do not use the rotted names.

 

Hvordan skulle du vandre i rommet om                                        How should you walk in that space and know

og intet vite om rommets vanvidd,                       Nothing of the madness of space,

 

intet om dets lystige frembringelser?             Nothing of its jocular procreations?

Kast alle lys bort. Ingenting skal stå             Throw the lights away. Nothing must stand

 

mellom deg og de former du antar                Between you and the shapes you take

når formens skorpe ikke lenger gjelder.               When the cust of shape has been destroyed.

 

Deg som du er? Du er den du er.                        You as you are? You are yourself.

Den blå gitar forbløffer deg.                          The blue guitar surprises you.

 

XXXIII                                                XXXIII

En generasjons drøm, forsjoflet                      That generation’s dream, aviled

i søla, i mandagens nedsmussede lys,                   In the mud, in Monday’s dirty light,

 

det var det hele, det var drømmen de hadde,              That’s it, the only dream they knew,

tiden tilendebrakt, ingen morgendag                   Time in its final block, not time

 

mer, en drakamp mellom to drømmer.                     To come, a wrangling of two dreams.

Her er brød for den tid som skal komme,                Here is the bread of time to come,

 

her er virkelighetens stein. Brødet                Here is its actual stone. The bread.

skal være vårt brød, steinen                            Will be our bread, the stone will be

 

vårt leie og om natten skal vi sove.                Our bed and we shall sleep by night.

Om dagen skal vi glemme, skjønt ikke                   We shall forget by day, except

 

de stunder vi valgte å være                           The moments when we choose to play

den imaginære furu, den imaginære skjære.                         The imagined pine, the imagined jay.

 

 

(announcing) Once more: Frisell. Andersen. Stevens. Vold. Thank you, folks! Good night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Comment

  1. Just got my copy from Jan Erik today, Arild – with my cover and shot of you inside, and my review used as part of the liner notes. What a great show it was, what a great recording it is, and what an honor it was to have my images and my writing used for this record. Thanks, so much, Arild, and hope to see you in Norway sometime this summer!

    Best!
    John

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