Monday, May 7, 2012

Niccolo Athens :: Piano Trio

This month we decided to do something a little different. We used a short musical piece on which to base our stories. It's a piano trio by the talented, young Niccolo Athens.

Niccolo Athens :: Piano Trio

Reminisce by Johanna

She stepped onto the train and into the future, but her past refused to join her. She tried to coax her past forward with promises of success and spiritual growth, but the past refused, rooting herself in youth. She progressed with the future, establishing a stable marriage, two kids and a lucrative career. But in the past, she still worked as a barista at the coffee shop on Capitol Hill. Though her future self had broken up with that drunken tattoo artist years ago, her past gave him another chance, and when it looked unlikely to succeed, she wove him with fantastical merit. He became more handsome, intelligent, kind and adventurous until her future self began to wonder if she had made an awful mistake breaking up with him.

The past built a house of animal bones and peacock feathers and wove clothes of rainbow silk that she harvested from her worms. She made mulberry wine and sold it for gold. In the future, she could only reminisce, full of regret for the life she could have had.

One day, very much in the present, she called the past to a meeting, hoping to reconnect, but the past appeared more ragged than she remembered, more plain. The past was settling in around her. Their chairs hard and their coffee cold and bitter. She soon lost interest in this unlikely self, disappointed that she was no more than who she was.


Wisteria by Lyle

The wisteria vines outside my window on the second floor snarl and explode in the scent of purple. It is late spring and already hot but I have my window open because I can hear the buzz of bees that way. The sun warms my face, the beginnings of sweat beading on my forehead; I have pulled the chair up to the window, my knees against the wall, my hands on the window sill, rough, cracking paint against the softness of the palms of my hands, which tingle just so from only now having washed my coffee cup, my bowl, the hot water and abrasion of steel wool. My day is over. My day is just beginning. Light glow of orange, an umber perhaps, from the beams against my eyelids always closed. Suddenly the sharp chirp of a cardinal and everything goes stunningly silent. The heat is gone and I am divested of myself.


The Other by Forrest

Let’s give me a taste. Let’s give me in, he would say. There were other ways saying this he would not say, but it was too late. She had tasted him. She had given him in. And instead of something she would not say in return, there was another taste letting her give her a him he would say in the other ways.


Nickel Time by Bill

We live in a strange world made stranger by our memories. Time spits chance out of its memory, gravity dragged along and stretched too thin or compressed too high. Gravitational equations map to boring curves until you pull a dense magnetic field upon them. Music dropping you below the map inside of your mind, down into the caves hiding shiftships and an armory of weapons fashioned from the bones of gods while open windows on the world tell you more than you need to know about your neighbors and the earbuds you bought because they were cheap buzz buzz buzz letting you stay aware of your station.


Your Scene by Alan

There are curtains in this scene that fall extemporaneously over windows pulsing with light. Outside there’s a sidewalk, a patch of grass, and yards of street. There’s a child on a bicycle. When you get a closer look, you’re relieved to find that you don’t know him.

You decide to step outside into the weather and almost feel like you forgot something. But rather than turn around, you go forward without further hesitation. This decision might be informed by the fact that you feel the pressure of a time frame.

Some kind of desperate longing hums inside you. It’s the fear of conflict raising its ugly head again. You’ve been through this. You always do everything to avoid it, want everyone to like you to a certain extent because you like everyone. You really want to. But you know that may seem an artifice in a way to others and perhaps even to yourself.

The child is gone but there are lawns. You continue to not look back, but it’s difficult. In the middle of this thing now, you can only attempt to shape it. Make a statement. Something like, “I wish I could get over this,” or “How did I get here?” But again, nothing comes out. The morning or afternoon can be any morning or afternoon and your suffering any and all suffering.

Don’t look back. This is the beginning of adulthood. You can title it “Growing Up” or you can wish it never existed. Why is everything so stately and robust and so full of whispers? The whispers, you think, yes, that’s it. Go to the whispers. They will tell you that the others aren’t talking about you. They’re talking about justice and what’s right and what’s wrong and that when you take a stand some people may get hurt. And so, this is what hurt looks like. It makes other people hurt and writhe and twist and incessantly wander the outside.

This conversation you’re having in your head is not always good for you. Today, sure fine. But tomorrow. The next day. When will it end? When you step back inside yourself, a home? But what will be there if not emptiness and despair? Despair. Such a 19th century word.


Check out Et in Arcadia Ego, another wonderful musical piece by Niccolo Athens, and an article (including a short interview) from WNET New York Public Media about a composition. He also has a new website.