I worry about whole lifetimes,You can read the entire poem here.
lived in the shadows of reflected fame;
but then the singer's voice dies
and there are just your last piano notes,
not resentful at all,
carrying us to the end, into those heartfelt cheers
that spring up in little patches from a thrilled audience
like sudden wildflowers bobbing in a rain
of steady clapping. And I'm on my feet, also,
clapping and cheering for the singer, yes,
but, I think, partially likewise for you
half-turned toward us, balanced on your black bench,
modest, utterly well-rehearsed,
still playing the part you've made yours.
In spite of the fact that it is somewhat kind of a poet to condescend to write a poem about that "modest, utterly well-rehearsed" person at the piano, I can't help but think that this poem may be little insulting to those of us who spend our lives working with other musicians playing awesome repertoire and often making good money at it. And what about those lines about living "in the shadows of reflected fame", or "receiving only such applause as the singer allows"?
Do you feel that Allen is using the stereotype of the collaborative pianist/accompanist as the person in the shadows to showcase the poignancy of their art, or is he merely reinforcing the stereotype? Is Allen's view of the accompanist an outdated one or is it still valid?
As always, your comments are welcome.
More poems about accompanists:
Arni Ibsen's Accompanist Poem
Accompanist for Florence Foster Jenkins, a Poem by Darren Morris
Ken Weisner's Accompanist Poem