His Last Adagio

There is a pained intensity
in the last movement
of Bruckner’s last symphony;
you take it as a farewell to life,
the furrowed brooding caught
by a conductor who afterwards
scored a farewell to cancer
by jumping to his death
from his eleventh floor flat;
yes, the sleeve notes on the CD
did catch me off my guard.
The movement closes, silent as a scythe.

(Georg Tintner, conductor, 22 May 1917 – 2 October 1999)



© Nemo 2023
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As always a very constrained and thoughtful piece where the simplicity of the lines and their arrangement on the page, serve to intensify the meaning of the poem. I always feel a poem has to have a very meaningful last line or stanza to leave the reader with a particular feeling, as this does. Of course it is only my preference and I am no expert but can only say what works for me. Creative genius and difficulty resigning to the mundane in life can be the instigator of self destruction as here. I realise the cancer was the last… Read more »


Hi Gerald, Thank you for your kind words. If you have some thoughts about the last line…you could re-arrange it without losing the power. I also wondered about the last line … only in that I felt it could be even more striking, so play around with it? It will not detract from the poem as a whole, as the line is good and brings in the personal touch and the feeling of understanding that combines the passion of the music, the emotions of the conductor and then your own inner feelings. Being the master of understatement as you are… Read more »

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