Thursday, January 17, 2013

♫ 2-118, The American Goldfinch: Saturday Songs

♫The American Goldfinch: Saturday Songs
    At the end of town there was a seldom traversed road. It was most likely neglected for a chorus of reasons as opposed to a singular cause. Most people were unaware of what the often damp and sandy, red clay road led to. Before surmounting its first ascending curve, the one lane unpaved path, and the waist-high, light-yellow and green grasses which enclosed it on either side, were all that were visible relative to the road’s true, incalculable value.
    I had been visiting what existed at the end of that road for some time, many years in fact, and only found the road and the cause for its existence through handwritten directions verbally transmitted to me by Lord Ian, (most likely a pseudonym) who was the owner of the estate which the road led to. The road, and its attached estate somehow still elude the attentions of various GPS and internet map satellite systems.
I had known Lord Ian since my youth, yet was unable to complete my studies with him then, as I had been dubbed “prodigious,” at an early age. Being “prodigious,” means “ready to work” and thus work in the trade of Gesamtkunstwerk brought me across the threshold between small town country life, and the controlled chaos of crowded cities. In the latter, amidst the grand concrete labyrinth, this prodigy’s work began in situations otherwise commonly reserved for men at least twice my age. Following experiences which produced an encyclopedia set worth of personal and professional experiences, I eventually returned home, seeming perhaps to some, more prodigal than prodigious. My return home allowed me to resume my long neglected apprenticeship with Lord Ian, upon the estate grounds at the end of the winding, red clay road. Past the series of large, strategically placed pine trees and road turns, a long and elegant, green lawn appeared and led to the pillared patio of a long standing estate house. If the facade of the house was reasonably impressive, the backyard, which was invisible from the front, due to a myriad of ivy, Italian Cypress and other—perhaps strategic—landscaping for privacy considerations, was deceptively immense. Even after countless Saturdays at the estate, as Lord Ian’s apprentice, I was little closer to experiencing the entirety of the estate.
Lord Ian was, amongst other things, an accomplished, and highly regarded ethnomusicologist. Oddly, we had met in the high brow circles of the opera world. In between on-stage appearances, Lord Ian, who had often functioned as a consultant to the various operas which I performed within, would often discuss matters more obvious to his persona as an ethnomusicologist. On many separate occasions, this one particular book would be presented to me, by Lord Ian, at often the strangest of times. It looked as if it had been a professionally published book at some time, yet was infinitely obscure and may have possibly been devoid of an ISBN number. I have since never found the book on During my apprenticeship, while I was learning the old ways of our trade, I was in return teaching Lord Ian the new ways. On a typical saturday at the estate, Lord Ian might present a near disintegrating, ages old form of sheet music, which would be complemented by my presentations of analytical, or production oriented, audio software.
Yet, there was that ever present book, which he was always mentioning his consultational involvement in the creation of. Yet, he did so with reserved tact, and often mentioned I could borrow the book as long as I would, “give back.” Lord Ian, being tuxedo formal when called upon to be such—as well as a master of multiple languages (English, French, German and Italian, at least)—would always bypass a logical sentence structure when referring to the return of specifically, “that” book. He never said, “when you are done with the book ...”: ”...give it back,” or “...return it.” Instead, he would specifically say: “give back” without variation. This odd phrasing was never followed by “the book,” and over time it created this enduring curiosity within my mind. Was he referring to something of value that I would find within the book, and was that potential value, that I might “give back” intellectual, financial or otherwise in nature? The phrase brought about my own meditations upon the mysterious nature of mysterious phrase, and its strange tense.
Saturdays at Lord Ian’s estate were always enchanted with a mythological energy. Labor, which I would never have done twice for others at such meager pricing, was done with pride and enthusiasm. I sometimes felt as a squire which perhaps King Arthur might have placed into the service of tending to the round table, and various ladies of the lake.
    Lord Ian’s library contained rare, amazing and beguiling artifacts which often demanded my attentions upon discovery thereof. Finds such as priceless, possibly unpublished, handwritten manuscripts like, Oberste Gesangstechnik (tr. “supreme vocal technique”) authored by one of Wagner’s personally preferred Heldentenors, or an unattractive Xerox of ancient scrolls arguably attributed to Pythagoras, such as The Secret Powers of Music, would not be uncommon finds while employed as the singular apprentice to Lord Ian. One day, Lord Ian had been reported as missing. As his last will and testament found the light of day, a number of things had been granted to a number of people, including myself. When I arrived at his estate to humbly retrieve what had been bequeathed to me, I was met at the front gate by an American Goldfinch, possessing brilliant gesangstechnik.

Additional works by Marcus James Christian, “Marcus Unlimited,” are available through:
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