Posted by: jkirkby8712 | January 30, 2012

Sunday, 29 January 2012 – early morning music on a Sunday [and the tennis].

During this morning’s radio show, which I normally commence at 6.30am of a Sunday, there were three particular pieces of music which I had programmed, that I found rather inspiring, in different ways. I can only hope that my listeners felt the same. I probably needed inspiration of some sort, after a rather uncomfortable evening. Obviously the meal I cooked for myself last night – relatively harmless in itself –  but when spiced up with a range of sauces of the soya variety, etc, reacted somewhat unfavourably [as has been happening of recent days], and as a consequence, my Saturday evening, while watching the tennis, and then through into the early hours of the morning, and even throughout the show this morning, remained somewhat ‘uncomfortable’ and at times also distressing [well, annoying and frustrating, anyway].  But enough of that!!

One of my major pieces of music on the radio this morning was Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2.  This was the 2011 ABC Classic FM’s No. 5 choice of the ‘Top 100’ 20th  century classical compositions by listeners. The composer wrote this in 1901/1902 [so he just crept into the 20th century stipulation]. The 2nd and 3rd movements of this generally regarded most popular of all romantic concertos were completed in the summer of 1900, and the 1st movement the following year. It was first performed in November 1901 in Moscow, with the composer as soloist, and was apparently received with the greatest enthusiasm. Since then, this particular work has retained it’s position in concert repertoire, perhaps indicative of this choice 110 years later! Today, we heard it performed by the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra [conducted by Antoni Wit], with the piano solo played by the German pianist, Bernd Glemser.

Another of the other compositions that particularly inspired me, and hopefully my listeners also, was Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien – a fantasy for orchestra which was composed between January and May, 1880.   The Capriccio was inspired by a trip Tchaikovsky took to Rome, during which he saw the Carnival in full swing, and is reminiscent of Italian folk music and street song. As these elements are treated rather freely initially he intended this piece to be called Italian Fantasia.  Tchaikovsky even uses as the introduction a bugle call that he overheard from his hotel played by Italian cavalry regiment. Another source of inspiration for this piece are Mikhail Glinka’s Spanish Pieces.  The premiere was held in Moscow on December 18 of the same year; the orchestra was led by Nikolai Rubinstein. Dedicated to Karl Davydov, the Capriccio was later arranged by the composer for 4-hand piano. A typical performance lasts for around 15 minutes.

Finally, an eleven minute piece, written by a 17th century by the name of Gregorio Allegri, and of quite a sacred nature, left one in a very relaxed frame of mind. I had to initially go searching for some information about this piece of music, as the CD itself had little to say. This precis makes the religious connotation fairly obvious, and also demonstrate that music in those times, could had certain ‘dangers’ associated with it.    From Wikipedia, we read that:-   “Miserere, full name “Miserere mei, Deus” (Latin: “Have mercy on me, O God”) by Italian composer Gregorio Allegri, is a setting of Psalm 51 (50) composed during the reign of Pope Urban VIII, probably during the 1630s, for use in the Sistine Chapel during matins, as part of the exclusive Tenebrae service on Wednesday and Friday of Holy Week. The service would start usually around 3AM, and during the ritual, candles would be extinguished, one by one, until one remained alight and hidden. Allegri composed his setting of the Miserere for the final act within the first lesson of the Tenebrae service.  It was the last of twelve falsobordone Miserere settings composed and chanted at the service since 1514 and the most popular: at some point, it became forbidden to transcribe the music and it was allowed to be performed only at those particular services, adding to the mystery surrounding it. Writing it down or performing it elsewhere was punishable by excommunication”

I wanted to get out into my neglected garden today, but with temperatures expected to be around 35 degrees, and my discomfort overnight leaving me a little tired and exhausted, it would be internal tasks etc, that this correspondent would turn to, and that was probably a wise enough move.  Meanwhile, not sure if Susie is back today, or Monday  – I guess we will wait and see on that one [she came back this evening, thinking she had to work in the morning, then worked out it was Tuesday!!]

AS for ‘that’ tennis match, well, I sat down on a very warm and humid evening at 7.30 pm, to watch Rafael Nadal and Noval Dkojovic do battle on Rod Laver Arena at the Melbourne Tennis Centre [though I was of course in front of the TV set, and in view of the fact that I couldn’t even last the distance watching from my lounge-room, I somehow doubt I could have managed to last the full length of the match for real as a live spectator, although as things would eventuate, it would have been an experience to never forget.  I wanted Nadal to win, not being over impressed with Djokovic’s playing tactics, and almost pretenses of injury and so on,  in recent matches. However by the end of the 3rd set, Djokovic seemed to becoming dominant, and while I wanted to watch the match through to the end, felt myself simply too tired  – so deserted the TV at that stage, left the video tape running, with the assumption that if the match was over in an hour  or so, as looked likely, I would get all of the game covered despite the inclusion of adverts which I detest on a tape.  Well as history will show, I misjudged all of that – I did wake at around 1.30am to see the end of the match, although down the other end of the house, my tape ran out ten minutes before the finish!!

Nevertheless, as  Alix Ramsay wrote on the Australian Open website – ‘ Oh, what has Novak Djokovic done? By winning his third Australian Open title and his fifth Grand Slam trophy in seven minutes short of six hours, he has rewritten history, that is for sure. Melbourne Park has never witnessed a longer match, the four major championships have never produced a longer final and no one who saw Djokovic and Rafael Nadal conjure up superhuman rallies at 1.30am has ever seen anything like it. But that was only the half of it.  Djokovic, the master of all he surveys at the top of the world rankings had won and, in doing so, he had inflicted the deepest of wounds to Nadal’s psyche. It was the Serb’s seventh successive win in a final and his third consecutive victory over Nadal in a Grand Slam final. In the other finals, the normally indomitable Spaniard had seemed lost. He could not formulate a plan of attack to hurt his tormentor and he simply ran out of ideas. But this time, Nadal had a plan, this time he knew what to do and how to do it. And then Djokovic beat him.  Over the course of the off-season, Nadal had come up with an idea: be more aggressive, try to go for the winners, attack whenever possible – and wise – and take the battle to Djokovic. But Djokovic saw him coming and cut him off at the pass. Nadal was strong, he was determined and he was never going to give in. And Djokovic matched him. Nadal showed passion, he showed fire and he had courage. And still Djokovic beat him. The man from Serbia seems invincible – and that will hurt Nadal more than he will ever say.  “I’m playing against one of the greatest players ever,” Djokovic said, tired but euphoric after the match. “The player that is so mentally strong, and he always comes up with his best game and best shots at the right moments.  “So I tried mentally to hang in there, to hold my composure, to hold my emotions. And, you know, even when I was 4‑2 down I still pushed myself up to the limit’

The Australian Open men’s final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic broke the record as the longest match in tournament history when it hit 5hr 15min on Sunday.  The match, which stood at 4-3 to Nadal in the fifth set, was also the longest grand slam final on record, outstripping the 1988 US Open final between Mats Wilander and Ivan Lendl, which lasted 4hr 54min. The previous longest Australian Open match was the 2009 semi-final between Nadal and Fernando Verdasco, which lasted 5hr 14min. The following little summary covers the last few minutes of the match, but obviously doesn’t do justice to the almost 6 hours that preceded it.

  • 1.27am: Nadal is having words with the umpire. It seems he wan’t happy with a line call. Regardless, Djokovic has a break point.
  • 1.28am: The defending champion has the break and will serve for the title.
  • 1.30am: Another long rally and Nadal nets a backhand. Djokovic leads 15-0 on serve.
  • 1.31am: Nadal reaches a Djokovic serve down the ‘T’, but can’t get it over the net. It’s 30-0.
  • 1.32am: Djokovic pushes a ball long and it’s 30-15.
  • 1.33am: Djokovic reaches for a smash, but hits the ball into the bottom of the net. It’s level at 30-30.
  • 1.34am: A tense rally which ends when Djokovic reaches for a backhand and pushes it into the net. A break point for Nadal at 30-40.
  • 1.35am: Djokovic saves the break point.
  • 1.36am: A Nadal shot catches the tape and lands wide. Championship point for Djokovic.
  • 1.42am: Djokovic falls to the ground and lies down in jubilation after successfully defending his Australian Open title. It was an epic final, the likes of which we’ve never seen at Melbourne Park. It took just shy of six hours (five hours and 53 minutes) for a winner to emerge. In the end, it was the world No. 1 who prevailed. He has now won the past grand slams in a row (following Wimbledon and the US Open).
  • 1.50am: It’s official – that was the longest grand slam final in history.
  • 1.56am: Nadal smiles and hugs Rod Laver as he takes to the podium. Gracious in defeat, the Spaniard congratulates Djokovic and says the Serb’s team “is doing something fantastic”. Nadal says even if he lost the historic final, it was “really special for me”.


The other Final result yesterday was in the Mixed Doubles –  Bethanie Mattek-Sands [USA] and Horia Recau [Romania] defeated Elena Vesnina [Russia] and Leander Paes [India]  6/3, 5/7, 10/3[tb]

And that is enough of tennis for a while if you don’t mind!!!







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