gershon hepner

Rookie - 10 Points (5 3 38 / leipzig)

Popularity - Poem by gershon hepner

Popularity becomes a burden
to only a selected few,
Handel for example, when he’s heard in
his messianic succès fou
at Christmastime, Vivaldi when
we heard his Seasons, Elgar too
when circumstances lead again
to pomp. We all like marching to
the tunes we know well, whenwe dance
to hackneyed music of our time;
I wish I too would get a chance
to be an icon like these masters,
not caviar to all the masses
who see my poems as disasters,
unworthy of the reading classes,
and be no less renowned for rhyme
than Handel and Vivaldi are
for music. Popularity
would lead the Magi to my star,
but sadly the hilarity
with which I’m greeted in my stable
is not, now Hanukkah has passed,
a gift thar wise men feel they’re able
to give to this iconoclast.

There’s more than one way you can skin
a cat but, treated like a top,
I’ll put a yearlong dreidel spin
on verses till you tell me: stop!

Inspired by an article on Handel’s Messiah by Anthony Tommasini (“Reigning for Ever and Ever, Gloriously, ” NYT, December 23,2009) :

We are in the midst of the holiday season, which means ubiquitous performances of Handel’s “Messiah” in New York and beyond. Some pieces suffer the burden of their popularity badly. Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” tops my list of such works. But Handel’s “Messiah” bears its overexposure amazingly well. Even in routine performances, the piece gives audiences pleasure. When presented with musical skill and stylistic insight, as it was on Monday night at Carnegie Hall by the Musica Sacra Chorus and Orchestra, the “Messiah, ” for all its familiarity, emerges once again as a work of utter distinction. The concert, the first of two on consecutive nights, was led by the eminent choral music conductor Kent Tritle, who became music director of Musica Sacra last year when its beloved founder, Richard Westenburg, died. Mr. Tritle has repeatedly demonstrated that there is no one way to perform the “Messiah.” As director of the Oratorio Society of New York, an ensemble of some 200 dedicated avocational singers, Mr. Tritle had conducted the “Messiah” at Carnegie Hall just a week earlier, the society’s 136th annual performance.



12/23/09


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, December 23, 2009



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