Posted by: jkirkby8712 | September 27, 2011

Sunday, 25th September 2011 – concertos, and a note about John Pilger.

After watching last weekend’s documentary/movie called Mrs Carey’s Concert, I was inspired to use one of the pieces of music featured in that program, on this morning’s radio show – so I did.  Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No.1 in G Minor, Opus 26, which is considered by many to be one of the most popular violin concertos of that repertoire of classical music. I do tend to feel that much of that ‘popularity’ tends to be based on the 3rd [and final] movement of the concerto, as it tends to get the most airplay.. In any case, it’s Bruch’s most popular piece of music, and most violinists would probably aim to play it at some stage of their career. He composed two other concertos, but they didn’t reach the same level of popularity. I must chase them up, and see for myself.

This morning during my Sunday Classics program, I played the complete concerto, and thoroughly enjoyed doing so. The concerto was first completed in 1866 and the first performance was given on 24 April 1866 by Otto von Königslow with Bruch himself conducting. The concerto was then considerably revised with help from celebrated violinist Joseph Joachim and completed in its present form in 1867. The première of the revised concerto was given by Joachim in Bremen on 5 January 1868 with Karl Martin Rheinthaler conducting

While obviously, the role of the solo violin is central to the composition, it is also scored for  a standard classical orchestra consisting of two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, timpani, and strings. It is performed over three movements. The 1st and 2nd movements are linked, and through much of the 1st, there is a feeling of anticipation of what is to come.  The 2nd movement is much slower, and has being described by some critics as the ‘heart’ of the concerto. We still have the solo violin but with much input from the orchestra.  Wikipedia describes the 3rd  [final] movement as follows  – ‘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’.

It was rather a chilly morning when I left home today, and I can’t say that it warmed up a great deal ‘inside’ the studio. However, the pleasure gained from the music I was playing soon over-rode any climatic discomfort. However, the day improved as time went on – enough to allow your writer to get out and mow all the lawns and try and tackle at least one little piece of the garden!!


I have a couple of friends who swear by the opinions and views of expat Australian journalist, author and filmmaker John Pilger, though personally, I have always found his views to be overly aggressive, and in some cases, almost dangerous!  However, when you read the following bio, my opinion almost becomes petty.

John Pilger launched his first newspaper at high school, then completed a four year cadetship with Australian Consolidated Press. He became chief foreign correspondent and reported from all over the world, covering numerous wars, notably Vietnam. Still in his twenties, he became the youngest journalist to receive Britain’s “Journalist of the Year” and was the first to win it twice. Moving to the United States, Pilger reported the upheavals there in the late 1960s and 1970s. He marched with America’s poor from Alabama to Washington, following the assassination of Martin Luther King. He was in the same room when Robert Kennedy, the presidential candidate, was assassinated in June 1968. His work in South East Asia produced an iconic issue of the London Mirror, devoted almost entirely to his world exclusive dispatches from Cambodia in the aftermath of Pol Pot’s reign and followed up with the documentary, “Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia”. In 1994, he travelled under cover in Indonesian-occupied East Timor to make a documentary about the struggle for independence. His numerous documentaries on Australia, notably “The Secret Country” (1983), the bicentary trilogy “The Last Dream” (1988) and “Welcome to Australia” (1999) dealt with the ‘forgotten past’ of indigenous Australians and their present-day problems. His latest film is “The War You Don’t See” (2010), which was premiered in London both in the cinema and on television. Pilger was born and grew up in Bondi.  Reading all that, one might suggest, what’s wrong with the man?  Perhaps it’s simply the fact that I like to look at both sides of an  issue, whereas with Pilger, I’m left with the impression, that you are either with him,  or ‘you’ are wrong! That kind of ‘impression’ has always annoyed me, despite the fact that I can’t deny that the details of the bio above, reveal much good, in what he has revealed through his impressionistic journalism. 

Pilger recently delivered an address at the Byron Bay [NSW] Writers Festival, and the little promo reviewing that talk, described him as being in ‘a consistently dark and disappointing place’ which in light of my [maybe] ‘petty’opinion was a perfect description. I’m not doubting that he has done a lot of good work through his journalism etc, but to me, he is one of those people who is always looking for the ‘evil side’ [or aim] of virtually anything. Take the following comment, which came out of his Byron Bay keynote address  –

 ‘Pilger takes aim at various Australian and world political leaders on the left and the right. George W Bush was a “criminal on a magnitude we can’t imagine”. The military is at the centre of American government. Barack Obama is nothing more than a brand. And, no more than a “cigarette paper” separates the major Australian political parties.  “The rulers of the United States at every level are so far to the right, so extreme from the views of the population, that any kind of formal democracy, that is those elected representing the people, has virtually ended,” is how Pilger sees it. But, he saves some of his strongest words for Australia’s political leaders, claiming Australia has become a satellite state of America. “If this is going to be a socially and culturally proud society … two things have got to happen. First, nationhood has to be given back to the first Australians – second, (we need to) start speaking as a nation, not as a satellite state of the US.” Other subjects in the wide-ranging discussion include drone warfare, Julian Assange, asylum seekers and mandatory detention. Pilger gets a standing ovation from the Byron audience and a “ten out of ten and a koala stamp” from his questioner, ABC Radio National stalwart Phillip Adams.


Finish the day’s notes with a couple of sporting results [how unusual of me!!]  –  the other Sunbury football team [the Sunbury Kangaroos] who compete in the more local competition, called the Riddell & District Football League, played in their grand final at the weekend. And like their associates, the Sunbury Lions who went down by 3 points the previous weekend in the Ballarat League GF, the Kangaroos stormed home, but just fell short, by two points – 12.10.82 to 11.14.80. In fact, it was a bad weekend for the Kangaroos  –  playing in three football grand finals and two netball finals [out of 6 matches], the Sunbury Kangaroos lost every one of them!!!  There would, I imagine, have been a massive drowning of sorrows at the end of that day!


Rugby World Cup update:  matches played on the 25th September saw:

  • Samoa defeated Fiji 27-7
  • Ireland defeated Russia 62-12


Meanwhile, in the F1 Singapore Grand Prix held later today, it was third win in a row for Sebastian Vettel, as he races away to an unbeatable lead, most probably, in the Championship ladder:-


     Singapore Grand Prix Race result                                   2011 F1Championship position

  1. Sebastian Vettel                                            1. Sebastian Vettel………………309 pts
  2. Jenson Button                                                2.JensonButton…………………185 pts
  3. Mark Webber [Australia]                              3. Fernando Alonso…………..184 pts
  4. Fernando Alonso                                           4. Mark Webber [Australia]….182 pts
  5. Lewis Hamilton                                             5. Lewis Hamilton……………168 pts





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