Posted by: jkirkby8712 | February 28, 2011

Sunday, 27th February 2011 – a day for reflections

Well, after my rare Sunday morning off last week from my early radio show [I was in Ballarat over the weekend], it was back as normal this morning, for what was actually my 249th ‘Classic’ music program. I guess I had better plan something special for No. 250 next week. Amongst other things this morning, I played a recording of Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. This is a wonderful piece of music. Though were it not for the 3rd [and final] movement, it would be little known outside of strict classical circles  –  that final movement is probably the piece of music from Bruch that gets the most airplay, and while the average listener may not be able to identify the composer or the music, they would in all likelihood have heard the piece. The whole concerto continues to be performed and recorded by many violinists and is arguably Bruch’s most famous composition. First written in 1866, it was completed in it’s present form the following year. While the first two movements, as far as I’m concerned, have their own beauty, especially the Adagio which is considered by many to be the heart of the composition,  the finale seems to really bring the music to life. This is a description that appears in Wikipedia that I felt provides a good summary.

“The third movement, the finale, opens with an extremely intense, yet quiet, orchestral introduction that yields to the soloist’s statement of the exuberant theme in brilliant double stops. It is very much like a dance that moves at a comfortably fast and energetic tempo. The second subject is a fine example of Romantic lyricism, a slower melody which cuts into the movement several times, before the dance theme returns with its fireworks. The piece ends with a huge accelerando, leading to a fiery finish that gets higher as it gets faster and louder and eventually concludes with two short, yet grand, chords”.  Appropriately officially titled ‘Allegro energico’, it certainly probably attracted my attention many years ago with that energy reflected in the tempo.

There are numerous concerts happening at any time in the city and general metropolitan area. I usually refer to most of these during my programs, but because of time, and the overall cost involved, it is difficult myself to get to very many throughout the year. In 2010, I did make an effort with a number of such outings, and while I had great plans to be an active concert goer this year, I find myself unwilling to commit to too much for those reasons – cost and time. There’s a couple of places I would have liked to have gone to this afternoon/evening, including a concert by Katie Noonan, one of favourite Australian singers. However I do see that she is joining up with a new combo later in the year, and might try and get the opportunity to catch up with her then.  The Australian Chamber Orchestra is performing today too I think – I actually went to one of their concerts a couple of years ago, when Katie Noonan was performing with the orchestra, rather an unusual combination, but it worked really well!!

Anyway, twelve hours after this morning’s program, and I’ve just farewelled my daughter who is currently driving back up to her ‘student home’ in Bendigo. I find it difficult not to worry while I know she is out on the road, but was at least thankful that she left with still some period of daylight remaining. Though as the months move along, that will not be possible, to leave in daylight if she keeps her Sunday afternoon work shift down here! Oh well, one can only assume all will be well!

I was thinking about the extreme climatic disasters we have had this year, this afternoon, and the affect of things like bushfires, floods, cyclones, etc, on many of our rural folk, some of whom tend to be quite isolated at the best of times, and how when major towns and communities are affected, we often forget those live on the farms and the less populated areas. Stressful times, such of the nature of those mentioned, or just simply the daily routine of rural life, means many of these people never get the opportunity to ‘pause, reflect and take some much needed time out’ –  the notion of four weeks annual leave for example, is non-existent! With that in mind, I read recently of an initiative created by an organisation arising out of the Uniting Church in Australia [UCA] called ‘Uniting Church Camping’  – an item in the February edition of ‘Crosslight’ [a newsletter of the Victorian & Tasmanian UCA] referred to the ‘Take a Break Program’. This was initially born out of a response to couples and families affected by the drought, and has been operating for the past five years, offering holidays to families in crisis.

The programs give such families, particularly from the rural environment the chance to have a holiday at one of the organisation’s ‘Take a Break’ camps in various parts of Victoria.  All of the camps are funded by donations, and are made available to struggling couples and families, free of charge.  As one grateful recipient said ‘There’s not a lot of money around in the country at the moment and priorities are the basic essentials, not holidays’.’We’ve had a chance to meet families in a similar situation. Lots of families are suffering hardships in the country. We wouldn’t have had the money to get away this year, we’ve so grateful for the opportunity’. As noted in the article, ‘Rural life, with the constant demands of working farms. Can take its toll on families, especially when time away from stress and hardship simply isn’t possible.’  Unfortunately, there are I imagine, only a limited number of families able to take advantage of such a program, but it does remind one, that there are so many little groups and organisations out there in our communities trying in various ways to make life easier for those who particularly are likely to feel the affects of floods etc, more so in general, than us town and city folk [there are of course exceptions to that ‘rule’ as we have seen in the past couple of months, Charlton in central Victoria, or Brisbane, Toowoomba, etc up in Queensland].


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