Posted by: jkirkby8712 | November 28, 2011

Saturday, 26 – Sunday 27th November 2011 – a damp and dull weekend in Sunbury [for the reader probably, anyway!!]

Yes, it’s Saturday morning [26th November], and of course, it’s raining again  – the heavens have been saving up all week for this, just waiting for Saturday to come along!  No cricket, again for Adam, I know he will be disappointed, but the way it has been raining this morning, the grounds will be almost underwater!! Like the sides to part of my driveway, as Susie discovered this morning, when she rather hurriedly tried top back her car out, and was immediately bogged in a couple of holes that had been recreated with the overnight rain!!!  I was hoping for a couple of weeks of dry weather to dry that area out completely, and had been parking there myself, being very careful as to how and where I left the car. Last night, I should have done the same thing, instead went under the carport. When Susie came home late in the evening, she drove straight in and parked on the weak spots!! Had I realised how much overnight rain we were in for, I’d have made sure I was there, which would have avoided this morning’s ‘disaster’.

Realising what had occurred, I went out to help, but as usual, it was a last minute rush to get to work by Susie, no time for discussion, she would take my car. Stupidly, I omitted to insist she leave her keys behind, as later in the morning, I could have tried to move her car. Instead, now had to wait until she returned early afternoon. In fact, we decided to leave it until tomorrow, she was going somewhere today with someone else so would not need the car, and as it turned out, the rain continued all day, and the ground conditions worsened by the minute. It was a little unfortunate that I had to go out tonight – weather conditions did not offer up my favourite driving environment, especially out on the country roads where I was headed.

In fact, it was the annual Christmas breakup dinner and presentation night of our casual ‘Betting Club’ tonight, appropriately held at another race course location – this time, the Melton Harness Racing Centre complex over in our neighbouring town of Melton. Didn’t really enjoy the drive to get, late afternoon, in driving rain and somewhat misty conditions, I became a little frustrated at the unusual difficulty I had in finding my way into the complex – eventually we got there, almost by accident, but not before a few expletives of frustration passed these innocent lips. Anyway, it was a relatively short evening, not a large number of members present, and as I was not particularly interested in taking advantage [and losing money] on the range of pokie and other gambling facilities in the place, I was content with being there long enough too enjoy a meal, some conversation with Ron Bourke and others present, and generally enjoy a relaxed environment and some good food.  The surprise of the night, in view of the fact that I’d thought that I had  experienced a rather poor year as far as picking winners for the group was concerned,  was that yours truely in fact was presented with the Award for the most successful tipper of the year –  my periods of selection weekends won the group more money than anyone else!!!  Which indicated I think, that our little Betting Club had not had a very successful year overall, with a fairly small profit available for distribution amongst ‘shareholders’ in addition to the return of our individual fortnightly contributions. A very handy return nevertheless at this time of the year, which is why I refer to my annual participation as ‘Bill’s Christmas Club’ account, that being the purpose to which I put the end of year payout!  Anyway, the little inscription, which appeared on my trophy [the rear half of a racehorse] simply said in as polite a way as was decent  –   “2011 SMART ‘A’ AWARD BILL”  It’s not often that I win anything, so this was all rather flattering to say the least – in fact, the less said, the better!!

The drive home was an improvement on the forward trip, and it ended up being an early night’s return, which I didn’t mind. Don’t know where Susie was, though I would learn that tomorrow afternoon. Meanwhile, after a non-exciting day, as far as any readers are probably concerned, I called it a night, rather early, though as will be seen, that didn’t give me the advantage of any extra sleep!

Yes, Sunday morning [27th November] began rather early with this scribe. Despite being in bed at 10pm last night, and  ‘hoping’ for a decent Saturday night sleep for a change, I must have been deluding myself.  Hahahaha!!  Woke at 2.,30am, and that was it!!  Went and made a drink about an hour later, found Susan had not come home from wherever she went, but can’t use that as an excuse. Saturday nights for me a simply not for sleeping apparently, the mind is at it’s most active for the week! I must say however, that SBS were playing some beautiful music as background to their overnight weather pattern program!

Anyway, after all of that, I was ready well in advance of my usual departure time for the radio station of a Sunday morning, and would have a relatively pleasant program, with little in the way of regrets or thoughts about the lack of sleep. This morning I made sure I played some selections of music from the concerts I’d been to during the past week, including a couple arias from La Traviata sung by Luciano Pavarotti and Joan Sutherland, record at a special celebratory concert held at Sydney Opera House some years ago – both of those singers of course, no longer being with us.  Also played a sample track from the Zephyr Quartet CD, as well as a song from Greta Bradman – not strictly a bit of classical music that one, but simply wanted to demonstrate to listeners, the beautiful quality of her voice.

Meanwhile, my major musical contribution for the morning came from the C20th Polish composer, Henryk Gorecki, when I played the 2nd and 3rd movements of his Symphony No. 3 [subtitled ‘Symphony of Sorrowful Songs], and while as the title indicated, not a particularly ‘happy’ piece of music, the orchestration, and wonderfully ‘soothing’ voice of the Polish soprano Zofia Kilanowicz, made it quite relaxing music to enjoy at that time of day. I’d played the quite long first movement last week of the lamentation of the Mother of Christ for her dying son. This morning, the shorter movement concerned the prayer of the 18 year old Helena Wanda Blazusiakowna inscribed on the wall of a Gestapo cell in Zakopane, during World War II, as she seeks the protection of the Queen of Heaven.  The third movement, which has quite a large vocal contribution ass part of it, was basically a folk song  in which a mother laments the loss of her son, whose body she now seeks, with the insistent melody of the orchestra pointing to a rather simplistic but tragic and ongoing plea. It ends however, with a expression of hope, allowing the boy, killed by cruel enemies, to rest in peace, lulled by God’s song-birds and surrounded by the flowers  of God. Depictions of beauty and tranquillity amongst the tragedy of loss. I found quite a concise description of the whole symphony on Wikepedia, which summarises the overall music, and the theme behind it’s composition.

‘A solo soprano sings a different Polish text in each of the three movements. The first is a 15th-century Polish lament of Mary, mother of Jesus, the second a message written on the wall of a Gestapo cell during World War II, and the third a Silesian folk song of a mother searching for her son killed in the Silesian uprising. The first and third movements are written from the perspective of a parent who has lost a child, and the second movement from that of a child separated from a parent. The dominant themes of the symphony are motherhood and separation through war’.

The summary goes on to describe in more detail the impetus for putting this symphony together, and I think, goes a long way to explaining how so much of the ‘classical’ music we might hear today, while to many it’s seems meaningless with little purpose, generally has a picture or story to present, albeit in musical terms. For that reason, I’ve decided to copy those comments into my contribution today. I’ll leave the technical musical to the real music enthusiasts to search out!

In 1973, Górecki approached the Polish folklorist Adolf Dygacz in search of traditional melodies to incorporate in a new work. Dygacz presented four songs which had been recorded in the Silesia region in south-western Poland. Górecki was impressed by the melody “Where has he gone, my dear young son” (Kajze mi sie podzioł mój synocek miły), which describes a mother’s mourning for a son lost in war, and probably dates from the Silesian Uprisings of 1919–21. Górecki had heard a version of the song in the 1960s and had not been impressed by the arrangement, but the words and the melody of Dygacz’s new version made a lasting impression on him. He said “for me, it is a wonderfully poetic text. I do not know if a ‘professional’ poet would create such a powerful entity out of such terse, simple words. It is not sorrow, despair or resignation, or the wringing of hands: it is just the great grief and lamenting of a mother who has lost her son.”  

Later that year Górecki learned of an inscription scrawled on the wall of a cell of a Gestapo prison in the town of Zakopane, which lies at the foot of the Tatra mountains in southern Poland. The words were those of 18-year-old Helena Wanda Błażusiakówna, a highland woman incarcerated on 25 September 1944. It read O Mamo nie płacz nie—Niebios Przeczysta Królowo Ty zawsze wspieraj mnie (Oh Mamma do not cry—Immaculate Queen of Heaven support me always). The composer recalled, “I have to admit that I have always been irritated by grand words, by calls for revenge. Perhaps in the face of death I would shout out in this way. But the sentence I found is different, almost an apology or explanation for having got herself into such trouble; she is seeking comfort and support in simple, short but meaningful words”.[8] He later explained, “In prison, the whole wall was covered with inscriptions screaming out loud: ‘I’m innocent’, ‘Murderers’, ‘Executioners’, ‘Free me’, ‘You have to save me’—it was all so loud, so banal. Adults were writing this, while here it is an eighteen-year-old girl, almost a child. And she is so different. She does not despair, does not cry, does not scream for revenge. She does not think about herself; whether she deserves her fate or not. Instead, she only thinks about her mother: because it is her mother who will experience true despair. This inscription was something extraordinary. And it really fascinated me.” 

Górecki now had two texts: one from a mother to her son, the other from a daughter to her mother. While looking for a third that would continue the theme, he decided on a mid-15th century folk song from the southern city of Opole.   Its text contains a passage in which the Virgin Mary speaks to her Son dying on the cross: “O my son, beloved and chosen, Share your wounds with your mother …” (Synku miły i wybrany, Rozdziel z matką swoje rany …). Górecki said, “this text was folk-like, anonymous. So now I had three acts, three persons … Originally, I wanted to frame these texts with an introduction and a conclusion. I even chose two verses (5 and 6) from Psalm 93/94 in the translation by Wujek: ‘They humiliated Your people, O Lord, and afflicted Your heritage, they killed the widow and the passer-by, murdered the orphans.'”  However, he rejected this format because he believed the structure would position the work as a symphony “about war”. Górecki sought to transcend such specifics, and instead structured the work as three independent laments’.

Tatra mountains, near the Nazi prison in the town of Zakopane, where the composer took an inscription scrawled on the wall of a cell for the composition of his symphony.

So there we have it, a much more detailed summary of one little aspect of my radio show from this morning, than readers were expecting to get!  I do get a little over enthusiastic about things at times!

The rest of my Sunday, relatively uneventful, though well occupied, preparing future programs, continuing my ‘Spring clean’ of material collected over the years, decision time continues about what to get rid of, what to keep. Realities of practicality coming into play here!  And yes, Susan returned home mid afternoon – with ex boyfriend, Jimmy. They had been up in Bendigo where she had collected all of her belongings from the ‘apartment’ that I had been paying for through most of the year, but that because of the breakdown in her studies this year, Susie had not spent much time there over recent months.  Unfortunately, the contract was unable to have been broken, so the lease continued until this weekend as it turned out – hence the visit to Bendigo overnight to clear out all her belongings. A bit of a surprise with Jimmy being with her – I’d mistakenly though all contact with him had ceased. But what would I know, presumably Susan had sought his assistance in returning her gear [including a small fridge which she had taken up there] rather than ask myself or others in the family to help her.

Anyway, before he left, I took advantage of his presence – a chance to get Susie’s out of the bog hole of mud she had got it in to yesterday morning – on the side of my driveway!!  Not that I can claim to have been much physical help, but the two of us were unsuccessful, and the car remained unmovable.  Called Adam, and thankfully, he was still up, having just got home from a longer than usual shift at the bakery – would be straight over. In the meanwhile, Susie rang her other brother James, who was also coincidentally available – though he in true form would time his arrival just after the task had been achieved.  Unfortunately, Jimmy had to go before Adam arrived – he had another appointment, or maybe simply didn’t wish to run into Susie’s two brothers, in view of the year’s circumstances. Anyway, that left Adam and myself p- the former had a few helpful ideas in moving the car, and with a degree of pushing and shoving [and the resulting overall complete destruction of that part of my front garden], we eventually got that damn little car out onto firm ground and concrete, everyone including the car splattered in mud, with a firm promise by Susie that she would not park on that spot again!! And of course, as indicated, the car was freed from it’s little mud sink hole just as James Kirk arrived to ‘help’!! As Susie would write on Face Book later –  ‘Thanks Adam and Bill for unbogging my car!! And James for rocking up just as we got it out.  And James replied –  ‘haha, I timed it to perfection…’  

The rest of my Sunday – nothing worth writing home about  – although Susie spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning, washing, etc, etc, a bit sudden ‘spring clean’ of the kitchen area etc – with the return of her belongings from Bendigo, we suddenly needed more storage space!! And for myself,  I sat down Sunday night, and watched a movie length version of ‘Brideshead Revisited’, not a show I’ve watched previously, but simply felt in the mood for something of that nature!!




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