I heard *Night Watch: An Elegy in Music and Spoken Word* at the Cornelia Street Cafe on 8/23. My friend Stephanie Jutt is a flutist and co-founder of the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, a killer chamber music group I turned pages for and performed with back in Madison. She told me about a concert she was doing here in town at the end of August, Mark Belair reading his poems and Stephanie playing the flute, music written specifically for this event by my friend Steve Dembski. I was excited to see Steve again, I had such a crush on that man back in the day, and could NOT see him without touching his glorious bald head. I was completely incapable of keeping my hands off his head.
The poems are about the author learning on a Monday that his elderly mother had been brought to the hospital with abdominal pain, going to see her on Tuesday, and being with her when she died on Thursday. He was so overcome with the speed and shock of the experience that he documented and processed the experience with a book of poems, *Night Watch.* They were beautiful poems, and of course they made me think of my father's illness and death. Belair perfectly captures the atmosphere in the hospital: the anonymity of the hospital room paired with the unbearable intimacy of the people in it.
Dembski wrote music to follow each poem, he made the wise choice not to write it as underscoring for the poems. The music expressed what was being said in the poems. We heard each poem in words and then in music. It was elegiac, sorrowful, confused, violent, resigned, at peace. Stephanie played with profound expression. We typically think of the flute as being pretty and delicate, and though Stephanie can do that, with her it's a deep and meaningful prettiness and delicacy. Sometimes it didn't even sound like a flute - - in one section she had the piercing, keening sound of a clarinet.
A few photos: Stephanie waiting to go on, Stephanie and Belair onstage, and me and Steve.