Monday, 23 May 2011


The Coughers of Cologne
have joined forces with the Cologne Clappers
and established the Cough and Clap Society
a non-profit-making organisation
whose aim it is
to guarantee each concert-goer's right
 to cough and applaud.
Attempts by unfeeling artists or impresarios
to question such privileges
have led to a Coughers and Clappers initiative.
Members are required to applaud
immediately after sublime codas
and cough distinctly
during expressive silences.
Distinct coughing is of paramount importance
to stifle or muffle it
forbidden on pain of expulsion.
Coughs of outstanding tenacity
are awarded the Coughing Rhinemaiden
a handsome if slightly baroque appendage
to be worn dangling from the neck.
The C&C's recent merger
with the New York Sneezers
and the London Whistlers
raises high hopes
for Cologne's musical future.

by Alfred Brendel
with Richard Stokes

From Collected Poems by Alfred Brendel, 'Playing the Human Game'.

On 18th December 2008, the mighty Alfred Brendel gave his last concert at the Vienna Musikverein.

From Alfred Brendel - Life and Career

Writing is a constant source of inspiration and expression for Alfred Brendel. He has published two collections of articles and lectures: Musical Thoughts and Afterthoughts Robson Books, (1976) and Music Sounded Out Robson Books, (1990) full of the same intellectual rigour and sly wit that he brings to his keyboard playing. Recently, all his essays have been gathered in “Alfred Brendel on Music” (new edition, JR Books 2007). A book of conversations with Martin Mayer, “The Veil of Order” (in the US: “Me of all people”) was published by Faber in 2002.

“One Finger Too Many”, has seen him depart from his usual role as a music essayist in a volume of absurd poetry. A second poetry selection in English is called “Cursing Bagels”. The literary press has praised his work on its own merit, setting aside his musical renown. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung lauded his writings as "a collection of texts which can be numbered among the sparse ranks of genuinely comic literature and which make their author possibly 'immortal"'.

"I am not exclusively a musician, as the past few years have clearly shown," says Brendel. "I now lead a kind of double life. There has been an upsurge of my literary life with frequent poetry readings and Collected Poems in German and French. I am looking forward to my retirement from the stage to do more writing and lecturing”.