“The next train to depart from platform one will be the 12:27 to Leeds
Calling at Mytholmroyd, Sowerby Bridge, Halifax, Bradford Interchange, New Pudsey and Leeds.”
The contralto’s opening recitative sends ‘shivers down my spine.’
This platform change has me running Prestissimo beneath the bridge passage synching my pulse to the finale of the William Tell Overture.
I slip for a moment on the wet cobbles but manage to avoid a fully fledged glissando,
Runup the stairs in whole steps and, with the leap of a tritone, like the Devil I jump aboard.
The iron Lion growls and lets out a roar as this Carnival of human Animals settles back in its seat to enjoy this Short Ride in a Fast Machine.
The Water Music to our left softly serenades with Tales from Vienna Woods
While the Ash Grove placidly sits on the hillside above soulfully singing Dido’s Lament over a ground bass provided bylowing cows.
Below me Mytholmroyd church still manages to keep its asymmetrical head above water
But with much more rain it’ll become La Cathédrale Engloutie.
But for now in these green quilted fields Sheep May Safely Graze
Farther along the valley abandoned factories resound to the rhythm of Bolero
As ghosts perform a Danse Macabre on the skeletal remains of neglected buildings.
Through a dense mist of atonal fog Britten’s Night Mail performs an accelerando through the entire Four Seasons
Coming at last to a rest in Winter at Sowerby Bridge
Where the platform is humming to the Waltz of the Flowers as Eidelweiss pirouttes with Roses from the South
But at this time of year all respectable Bumble Bees have already taken Flight.
Continuing at a tempo moderato the train goes ‘past cotton grass and moorland boulder’ and eventually
Rows of saw-toothed weaving sheds climax in Halifax’s phallic folly
As, through the rustling leaves of Der Lindenbaum, I glimpse The Lark Ascending.
Heading over Coley viaduct staccato raindrops bounce on Satie’s umbrellas keeping dry the heads of men intently involved in Le Golf
As, high above them, marching with Pomp and Circumstance, huge pylons stomp across the course con moto like Martian fighting machines.
At length a dolce phrase from a Bach Suite greets our arrival After Eight in Halifax, home to Mackintosh and Quality Street.
And several crochets climb aboard accompanied by small quavers stoically holding hands.
They scale the half steps and jump eagerly onto the two lined staff stretching across the page
While white haired minims and legless semibreves prop up the bar.
Subito, we plunge into the blackness of the Hall of the Mountain King,
Where sparsely orchestrated Catacombs lurk at ever diminishing intervals
“Where’s our Lux Aeterna when we need one?” I ask the ripieno gathered around me
‘But answer came there none’
For a grand pause was written into the score and everyone was silent.
Back under the Nuages Gris and ever onward past Jardins sous la pluie
We pause for a brief fermata at Bradford station
Where the train suddenly goes into retrograde motion for the remainder of the trip.
As we make a controlled ritardando into New Pudsey
The vast expanse of Asda’s car park is revealed as a Land of Hope and Glory
Wherein ‘the machine of a dream’ vies for space with the lyrics of Queen.
Ponies scatter on the sodden field dreaming of a life in the sun in Copland’s Rodeo
While at the Major’s poultry farm I spy a Ballet of Unhatched Chicks
Caused by a sharp cat wandering into the flat yard
And causing havoc in The Hut on Hen’s Legs.
“Oh puss, get out” I cry to myself, sotto voce,
But my voice is lost in a cacophony of cell phones
As aleatoric pings Come Together in a final cadenza
Heralding not The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba into Leeds railway station
But a Fanfare for the Common Man.