Posted by: jkirkby8712 | July 3, 2011

Saturday, 2nd July 2011 – music with the Heidelberg SO

I spent the bulk of today at home, with the thought of a drive across the top of the city tonight, despite the attraction of a concert at the other end, left this writer feeling a little distracted throughout the day. Received my first bit of  contact from the family for almost a week – Jodie reminding me of dinner for Susie’s birthday, on Sunday evening.  Went for another late morning walk – with threatening weather predicted, I thought I had better get that out of the way before the conditions changed my mind about going!!!

Another big football game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground [MCG] this afternoon – Carlton versus the Richmond Tigers. Over the years have attended some classic finals matches between these two teams, but these days I tend to avoid games at the MCG, and despite the delayed TV coverage this afternoon, was quite content to watch from the lounge chair. Don’t think anyone from the family went today. The quarter by quarter scores below, tend to tell the story of the match. After Carlton’s unexpected loss last weekend to the West Coast Eagles, and because of the traditional rivalry between today’s two combatants, it was a bit of a danger game for the Blues. I needn’t have worried – Carlton dominated from the start, and eventually went on to create their biggest ever score against the Tigers, exceeding the score of 29 goals 9 behinds in the 1972 Grand Final – a match that I watched the first three quarters of, dressed in a suit in preparation for a wedding I was to attend later that particular afternoon [not the wedding party’s fault – they planned their wedding for the first Saturday in October, a week after the football was supposed to have been finished, but a drawn match in one of the early September finals, saw the Grand Final moved into October, as it was last year – in those days, ‘nothing’ would stop this fan from going to see Carlton play, and especially in a Final!!]. Anyway, today, Carlton thrashed Richmond in every position by every measure!  Say no more, the scores tell it!

Carlton Blues:              5.2.32                    11.7.73       20.13.133         FINAL:   28.16.184

Richmond Tigers:        1.4.10                      4.6.30         6.8.44              Final:      12.9.81

From the ‘culture’ of football to the ‘culture of music’, and more precisely tonight, classical music!  It was Concert No. 2 for the 2011 season by the Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra, performed in the acoustically perfect environment of the Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School Performing Arts Centre. I have no doubt discussed this orchestra on previous occasions – widely recognised as one of Melbourne’s most acclaimed non-professional orchestras, which manages to attract many elite musicians to perform with it, as with tonight’s performance. They have toured through much of Europe at different times. Their annual concert series [four per year] features a wide repertoire from the most demanding symphonies, challenging guest artist concerto performances, to much loved theatre and orchestral classics. I was sitting there tonight, and wishing and wondering how we could get a symphony orchestra to be formed in Sunbury – something the calibre of Heidelberg would be  magnificent, and for me, would save this long Saturday night drive four times a year!!

I mentioned the acoustics of the Grammar School Centre above – there was a ‘presumably’ almost totally blind elderly gentleman sitting near me, and he commented to me that the organisers had on previous occasions always given him a seat down at the front of the audience area [basically the bottom on a level with the orchestra, whereas we were sitting up near ‘the roof’ at the top of that section. He asked to be moved, and the fact that because of his poor eye sight, the organisers had assumed he would be able to see more from the front seat, this gentleman in fact, preferred to sacrifice that, because the sound at that level was far inferior to the acoustics we were enjoying up the top. I think he might have been a bit of an extreme case, as I’m not sure all concert goers would be quite as aware of the difference!! Can’t say myself, I’ve say down the front!

Tonight’s program was titled ‘Czech-Mate’ and accordingly presented music by Janacek and Dvorak, both Czech composers, the latter, the better known of the two of them. Program began with Janacek’s composition named ‘Zarlivost’, of 6 minutes duration, and principally based on a song called Zarlivec or ‘The Jealous Man’, apparently originally written as the overture to his opera ‘Jenufa’, but later discarded for that purpose, becoming a separate concert piece. I was actually not familiar with it, but is was a vigorous and bright start to the night’s program.

Then followed Dvorak’s ‘Cello Concerto’ of which I was more familiar. This featured one of those ‘elite’ guests – cello player, an Australian, Thomas Rann [actually playing a violincello’, slightly smaller than a regular cello. Performed in three movements, the guest was no doubt excellent at his craft, and received sustained applause at the end. Personally, he didn’t impress me a great deal in respect to his ‘on stage persona’ – he didn’t look comfortable in his seated position, and had an air about him, when he was not playing with the orchestra, that almost displayed disinterest in what the other musicians were doing! That is no doubt a totally unfair suggestion, but it was certainly the impression he left me with, little things like constantly rubbing his hand on his trouser leg [perspiration perhaps], and other little mannerisms which annoyed this listener/viewer. When he was playing, he virtually hugged the instrument into his body as he crouched into it! And yet, he has performed internationally in front of kings, queens and prime ministers, so who am I to judge him!!! I just won’t be rushing out to see him perform again!! Meanwhile, in respect to the concerto itself, Dvorak is reported to have said ‘The cello is a beautiful instrument, but its place is in the orchestra, as a solo instrument it is not much good. I have written a cello concerto, but am sorry to this day that I did so, and I never intend to write another’.  Critics consider that an odd quotation from a man who wrote what is considered to be one of the most beautiful cello concertos every written. Certainly, when attending the concerts by the Australian String Quartet, I get particular enjoyment from the occasional solo pieces by Rachel Johnston on her cello in that qwuartet.

After interval, minus the guest, we had the full orchestra present a wonderful interpretation of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 [subtitled ‘From the New World]. Again, of 40 minutes duration [as with the Cello Concerto], this was beautifully performed, and presumably as Dvorak intended [or perhaps not], makes use of the American spiritual genre in the creation of the memorable melodies – as Dvorak himself is quoted as saying ‘In the negro melodies of America, I discover all that is needed for a great and noble school of music’. Some of ‘those’ melodies which upon a carefully listening can be gleaned from the performance include ‘Swing low sweet chariot’, ‘Goin’ Home’, parts of some Longfellow’s ‘Hiawatha’, and even a theme in part of the 4th movement reminiscent of ‘Three Blind Mice’ [quite distinctive in fact]. I particularly loved the 2wnd movement [the ‘Largo’] and was so taken by it tonight, that I immediately determined to re-arrange my Sunday morning program in order to include a playing of that movement.

A short encore at the end of the program [by an American composer, whose name temporarily slips me, though I have played him myself   –   ahhh yes, it was Leroy Anderson!!], was a bright finish to an entertaining night!! Outside, I expected cold and miserable weather conditions – in fact, it was quite mild, and I subsequently had a pleasant drive home, about an hour away. At home, surprised to find that Susie was there – not expected un til tomorrow,  It was her birthday on Monday, and it seems she had really only returned from Bendigo for her family dinner tomorrow night – she was intending to drive back north afterwards [which as usual worried me, particularly with the weather due to deteriorate on Sunday!!]. Nevertheless, it was good to see her, even if only briefly, and to find her at home, upon my return!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: