Posted by: jkirkby8712 | March 14, 2011

Wednesday, 9th March 2011 – a gift that was missing an element!

Busy at the office today, Jackie present for most of the time, Mark down in the southwest at Portland, etc, again.  Of course, it was VPTA General Meeting day  – that’s why it was busy! About 2 dozen turned up, a few newcomers, and as always, at least one trouble-maker!!  Who shall remain unnamed.  A very nice guy actually – outside of the meeting type environment, at which point he becomes ‘difficult’!!

Bill, in true recognition of my lowly status in employment life these days,  organised lunch, them had to sit through another part of the meeting, in the office, while I tried to work. Not quite sure why that change of location was made during the afternoon?  However it didn’t concern me too much apart from the later ‘gossip’ that seems to happen when these women all get together, usually about someone else in the organisation who is causing problems, of which admittedly, there is always somebody!! Apart from that, I was looking forward to being away from here for a few days [again] – Monday is a public holiday in Victoria, and I’ve arranged to have the next two days off as well – bit of a family history research day planned for tomorrow.  Meanwhile, another meeting tonight, in Sunbury – the monthly Committee meeting of the local Family History Society. Under new President Peter Free [who was also the founding President back in 1984], these meetings are efficient and short, and within an hour, it was over by 9pm!  Time to get home and catch Susie before she left again.

Yes, she had caught the train down from Bendigo late this afternoon – luckily it was raining when she called me, unexpectedly from the town, looking for a lift home, because I would have been out walking had it not been raining.  I was back home before Susie left [picked up by Jimmy] to catch the train back to Bendigo – Susie had come down to play in a Volleyball Grand Final,  which her team won – showed me her trophy, so obviously the quick trip down had been worth the effort.  Mind you, Dad was a little concerned about her arrival back at the car park of the Bendigo Station late at night, though Susan herself seemed to have no such concerns, of course. She was in fact unwell  – had  suffered from a cold & cough all week, and it would be with her until this coming weekend.

Over the past day or so, much has been made in the media about Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s gift to US President Obama on her meeting with him in the States a day or so ago.  It was an iPod filled up with Australian music. Nothing wrong with that, and I could include the long list of tracks included below, but I won’t. I will however note the reaction of one of my regular music magazines – ‘Limelight’ magazine, obviously somewhat bias [as would rightfully be expected] towards it’s genre of music – being the official magazine of ABC Classic FMs classical music programs. In an online communication with supporters such as myself, “Limelight’ had this to say.

“Gillard’s gift to President Obama of an iPod loaded with Australian music is marred by the conspicuous absence of our classical composers.  Jimmy Barnes, Kylie Minogue, Paul Kelly and Yothu Yindi rub shoulders on the iPod Julia Gillard presented to Barack Obama this week, on her first official tour of the United States as Prime Minister.  The selection of tunes has been widely praised for showcasing the diversity of Australia’s local talent, including Labour’s own Peter Garrett (four Midnight Oil hits) and indigenous artists Geoffrey Gurramul Yunupingu and Archie Roach. Some have criticised the compilation’s absence of AC/DC, but far more disturbing is one major oversight: where’s the classical music?

The Government has exposed its cultural priorities and a worrying lack of interest in Australian art music in its decision to snub the nation’s internationally acclaimed composers. Where, for example, was Bliss, Brett Dean’s recent operatic sensation based on the quintessentially Aussie Peter Carey novel? Surely Peter Sculthorpe should have made the cut; the elder statesman of Australian classical music was one of the first to evoke the sound and spirit of our unique landscape in the orchestra. His Earth Cry, featuring William Barton on solo didgeridoo, is a glaring omission.  What of Australian artists? The late Sir Charles Mackerras was one of the first homegrown conductors to make a lasting impression on the world stage. Mackerras’ nephew Alexander Briger conducted Australia’s first opera, Don John of Austria, in its premiere recording for ABC Classics. Soprano Emma Matthews was the first Australian artist to make a solo recording for Deutsche Grammophon.  The list goes on, but not a single megabyte on Obama’s iPod was given over to Australia’s distinguished classical composers and artists. Is the Government remiss in its failure to represent an important facet of our national cultural identity?”

Now looking at list of inclusions, which Limelight to it’s credit, published in full, I probably couldn’t argue with most of the selections that had been included. But yes, surely composers and artists of the calibre mentioned above, deserved a place in a compilation of representative Australian music!! As indicated by my range of musical programs presented on the radio, I have a broad view and taste for different music genres, so I don’t think I personally can be accused of bias by making that suggestion. I can easily recognise the disappointment by those fans and lovers of  Australian produced and performed classical music.

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