Posted by: jkirkby8712 | June 7, 2011

Saturday, 4 June 2011 – the telling of a story through music!

A very pleasant evening, last night, at the Melbourne Recital Centre [MRC] listening to my quartet of girls and their string instruments, probably only spoilt by the fact that I was feeling very tired – perhaps tonight would have been a better night for one of next week’s jazz concerts. Must admit that most of tonight’s music was not quite lively enough to get one up and dancing in the aisles!!  Nevertheless, I did enjoy the program, the details of which I referred to yesterday. The one point of ‘interest’ happened at the beginning of James Ledger’s composition ‘Processions’, when just before the girls came back on stage to play his work, James popped up from the audience onto the stage, where he proceeded to give a brief explanation of the music, and the background to it. That was fine, however  –  and I’ve noticed this before at the MRC –  the onstage microphone he tried to use, didn’t work, nor did the replacement that was quickly brought out for him! A rather poor state of affairs I thought, for a major entertainment venue!  Anyway, he spoke without a working mic, luckily his voice was just loud enough to carry throughout the auditorium, although I’m sure there would have been many present who experienced some difficulties in clearly hearing his explanations

In his own words, James Ledger [born 1966] describes his composition ‘Processions’ as follows:-   “The piece is in three continuous sections, or processions, that run continuously after a short introduction. The first procession is energetic and jubilant music that reflects the optimistic instances of migration, such as the case of my maternal grandparents. They emigrated from England after the second world war when Australia attracted them with the chance of a new and better life. The second procession reflects the darker side of human displacement. Here, there is uncertainty and perhaps numbness that comes from separation or leaving home. There is a sense of loss and isolation against a trudging motion that is captured in this procession. The whole work was written against the backdrop of two devastating earthquakes that struck the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, and then Japan.  The third movement is a funeral procession, in which the instruments glissando slowly downward, representing a sigh or expression of grief”.  [James Ledger, 2011]

So there you have it, just like the story told by an author in print, much if not all of classical [and no doubt other genres] music has been written and originally composed with some series of events or storyline in mind. I guess the principal difference with music is, that you generally need the composer to actually reveal what his music is all about  – I mean, having read the little piece above ‘before’ hearing the music, one was able to gain a much more appreciative understanding and/or enjoyment of the music as it went along. That’s how this ‘amateur’ music lover sees it in any case, I mean without the composer’s explanation, how could we possibly have a clue what the music was trying to say?  Having said all that, I now realize that I have just one more planned concert to attend with the Australian String Quartet – in September, and appropriately titles ‘Sunset’, as I’ve already decided not to renew my subscription to their concerts in 2012, but will instead, allocate those funds to another group or artist, try something different! Maybe a whole year of jazz next time!!

I had another rather expensive activity to undertake this morning – to be fitted out, and purchase a new pair of glasses!  Now these are mainly for long distance driving, viewing at concerts, sporting events, etc, all of which, I have over recent experienced some difficulty with clear views, etc. It has been manageable,  but obviously needed to be remedied. The final cost just came along as a bit of a shock, as I don’t recall the glasses I purchased two years ago [for reading in artificial light, etc] being quite as expensive. Anyway, to get over that shock,  and it being a beautiful morning, I decided it was the right day to go for a lengthy walk, an activity that because of evening commitments, and poor weather etc, has been a little neglected over recent months. Probably went further than I should have, but as it was to be my only real exercise for the day, was pleased I made the effort. Unusually, I had Susie home for a large part of the weekend [during the day anyway], and surprisingly, she was here to join me for the two evening meals [which yours truly cooked of course!].  Meanwhile, I spent the balance of my Saturday, partially as the ‘housemaid’ I seem to become at times [washing, ironing, cooking], and later on, time spent working on the family history, and watching a bit of football, mmmmm, perhaps more than I should have, but I did surprisingly feel like relaxing, not my strongest point!!



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