Posted by: jkirkby8712 | March 7, 2011

Sunday, 6th March 2011 – 250 ‘Classical music’ shows!

When I started this particular show, I never imagined I could keep things going for so long – 250 Sunday mornings over 5 years that I have been up and in the studio well before 7am to present one of the music genres I enjoy sharing the most.  That suggests not too many Sundays have been missed – and all for legitimate reasons – out of town on  holiday or a weekend away, occasional illness or hospital recovery, and one Sunday when my daughter’s car was blocking mine in, and I was not game to wake her up!  No Sundays missed because I ’couldn’t be bothered making the effort’ or ‘had nothing prepared’, a record I fairly proud of as of course the role is completely voluntary. Mind you, I sometimes feel I’d like to give it away occasionally, but I want to keep playing the music, and for a station that only has one classical music program through the week, no other time seems really appropriate. I’m hoping that once I retire from fulltime work, that it will all become a little easier!

Played some of my favourite composers, and artists this morning, but as usual ran out of time – could have gone on for a few more hours, but I’m certain that the country music fans [and presenters] would not have appreciated that –  my Sunday program is followed by 3 hours of country music presented by a couple who have been on air for many more years than myself. Today’s chosen composers included Beethoven, Ravel [Bolero], Tchaikovsky,  Mozart, Chopin, Janacek [to name a few], while the performers I featured today, just had to  include the late Joan Sutherland [song from 1965], the American black singer, Marion Anderson [Softly Awakes My Heart from Saint-Saens’ ‘Samson and Delilah’, sung in English and originally recorded on Mono back in 1930], my favourite Australian musicians [the Australian String Quartet] and favourite suburban orchestra [the Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra], and Sally Maer [the cello diva, playing ‘The Prayer’]. Not sure how we managed to fit all of that into two hours, and meet all of our sponsorship commitments, concert diary, but we did it!! 

I was meanwhile, back on air again this afternoon for a few hours of folk, blues, country, pop and world music, almost all of it, relatively new releases. Came back from that tonight fairly tired, although later, I wondered whether much of that was my weekly apprehension about Susan driving back up to Bendigo for another week of study. She seemed in no hurry to be off this evening, so by the time she left, just after 8.30pm, it was already dark.  There was little I could say – she already knew that ‘Dad’ worried about her driving up the highway alone, and particularly at night. It was in fact a fine night this time but with all of the Autumn and Winter months ahead,  that trip through he mountains north of here can be fairly uncomfortable in terms of bad weather, fog, frost, etc!  I guess I have a lot of worrying Sunday evenings ahead of me L

I finished reading one of Thomas Keneally earlier novels this evening – think I recall picking it up at a book stall last November, and have been reading a few pages at a time before trying to sleep. It was titled ‘Flying Hero Class’, and first published back in 1991. While it was an interesting enough story, it didn’t leave as satisfied as I generally feel after a good novel. I guess it is really a story of moral dilemmas on both ‘sides of the fence’ as Keneally examines and on observes the reactions under pressure, etc of the various characters involved in the hijacking of an airliner flying between New York and Frankfurt – a jet carrying an Australian aboriginal dance troupe and its white tour manager.   Just wasn’t sure how I felt about the story – found myself at times wanting it to keep moving on the ‘hijack’ aspect of the storyline, whereas the writer kept diverting to ‘other matters and past events’ as part of his ‘observations’ of the various participants. Normally, that wouldn’t worry me, and I would find it an essential part of the novel. I think the following précis from one reviewer I came across, and in particular the words I have highlighted demonstrate partially what I am getting at. Maybe I am unfairly feeling the whole thing was ‘too slow’ because in reality as suggested below, the drawn out tension of the situation was probably [and would be] all too real to those who were involved.

‘A tale of intrigue and hijacking. Frank McCloud is the manager for the international dance tour of the Barramatjara, a remote Australian tribe. On the troupe’s flight to Europe, a small band of Arab terrorists hijack the plane in hopes of obtaining the release of political prisoners. McCloud and two other men are singled out as the people’s enemies. Taliq, the terrorists’ leader, accuses him of exploiting the tribe for their land and begins brainwashing the crew, passengers , and the Barramatjara themselves to turn them against the scapegoats. Keneally, in a slow methodical plodding style, allows readers to see, and sometimes feel, the plight McCloud and his companions experience. The tension and psychology at play here are believably presented and add greatly to the book’s appeal’.

Perhaps my uncertainty was a little like this comment – ‘I was not sure if this was a black comedy; but as the book went on, it was not’  –  I felt on occasions that I was reading  a ‘cheaper’ version of Keneally’s writing style, although it certainly wasn’t one of his earliest publications, many great books came before it, such as ‘Schindler’s Ark’ for one! Anyway, after all that, I think I will give the book 2 stars out of a possible five – but that is purely based on my enjoyment or satisfaction of the novel, not any kind of pure literary assessment.  Meanwhile, I have for some months being slowly reading through one of Thomas Keneally’s more recent projects – the 1st part of a history of Australia. I must admit that I haven’t made much progress yet, being determined to finish John Howard’s book before I concentrate on another major reading project. So we will come back to that one a little later.

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