“Primous’ works are far superior to Shostakovitch…”

Allan  Kipp author, poet

Primous and I have known each other for many  years. He has shared his music with me and I  have shared my poetry with him. We have a mutual admiration society. I have seen him develop from a young genius to an internationally recognized composer.

Primous’ works are far superior to Shostakovitch… Primous’ works are far from ponderous, rich and pleasing, yet he is not a throwback to the classical age but a cutting edge composer, who began in high school and continues to this day. I mentioned that from ancient times, music and poetry among the Greeks were regarded as the same art form, so perhaps that accounts for our mutual understanding—both as friends and fellow artists.

I met Primous when we were very young men when I interviewed him for a magazine article about him and his music. Nobody would have thought that he would progress from a boy in a Chicago housing project to what he is today. I also grew up in a Chicago housing project, so I understand the obstacles a creative person has to overcome to be an artist.

He has been ignored for  too many years. I know the struggles not only of creating but the most difficult process of getting one’s work accepted.

An aside: I became friends with a janitor at the university where I worked. He had a degree in economics but had to do menial work in America. One day, in front of a group of students, he began to recite in Russian. He told me that it was Pushkin, but these young people would not understand. I find it interesting that Russia’s most beloved poet was thought to be part black  and though he acclaimed fame he died tragically. Our struggles in America are a bit different, but in general most of us are ignored or appeal to only a small segment of the population. We work in the long, dark shadow of pop culture—most of it inane. With respect to music, I told Primous that one of America’s late and great poets, Wallace Stevens, who was a lawyer and a successful insurance executive, that none of his colleagues knew of his poetry. Stevens wrote, in a poem titled Peter Quince at the Clavier that “music is feeling then, not sound.” Thus the aim is to move people and ennoble them to feel and act on their best instincts, to provide comfort and courage in an often cold and brutal world.

2017-01-16-1P.S. My poem Wrath of Music, he recently enjoyed. It’s a musical joke. As Itold Primous, it was inspired by a chamber music concert in Salzburg some years ago. The first half featured Bach and Mozart and after the intermission similar works by Shostakovitch.


Allan  Kipp author, poet

Wraith of Music

I saw Shostakovich’s ghost

at the supermarket.

He was amazed at the meat,

sneered at the caviar

and marveled at the onions.

Then I realized I was listening

To Shostakovich,

And like Mahler, he’s too much

For the normal stomach.

So I ate some raspberries

and listened to one of those

lighter than air composers

and laughed at everybody

who bought a pork roast. ©

© Allan  Kipp 2016