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Thursday, 27 February 2014


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"or even, dread thought, Australia"

Turn it up Duffers. We have some great composers - just hang on a tick while I Google "Great Aussie Composers" and I'll be right back with a list [I hope]

G'day Duffers,

I did that [Googled it] and there is a bloody great list of them - none of whom I have heard of.

Mind you the Nordic Beauty says my taste in music is rather limited and base and, in my more rational moments, generally confined to long dead European composers [other than that Wagner bloke - whom I have hated ever since I was made to sit through the interminable Ring Cycle as a young sprog trying to impress a rather snooty but ravishing peace of fluff. I hope he spends eternity stuck on the end of one of those spears the fat sheilas in his operas all carry].

Perhaps Andra knows of some notable Aussie composer other than A. B [Banjo] Patterson to help me out of the hole I've dug myself into.

The second movement of the Seventh is pretty bloody good, eh?

Don't fret, AussieD, you have set yourself an impossible task, the equivalent, I fear, of me trying to find a currently-playing, great English cricketer!

What an incredible thing the sex-drive is, to sit through an entire Wagner opera - I trust it was worth it! Actually, I guess like most people I find there are passages of Wagner which are incredibly beautiful and lyrical - it's the bits in between that I'm not so sure about! Also, I have a soft spot for 'Ride of the Valkyries' which was my old Regimental march.

Agreed, DM.

Off to Exeter? Dear Angela is paying you a visit and you just walk away? That's not way to broke a poor woman's heart.

You're very frisky here Duffers. Don't tell me it's nearly time for your annual jiggy-jig again.
Great Australian composers, eh? Can't think of any at the moment but I'll work on it and get back to you.

G'day Duffers,

Must confess I also like the Ride of the Valkyries - so long as it is separated from the rest of his stuff.

"I trust it was worth it" Modesty and the fact that I eventually became a "Gentleman" by virtue of a nice piece of parchment from HM forbids me from saying that once you got through the snooty exterior the rest was pure gold. And then along came the Nordic Beauty and I threw away a possible life of luxury on "Daddy's" money for one of wedded bliss.

Andra there is a whole list of Aussie composers - none of whom I have heard of. But then if greatness depended upon me being aware of anything there'd be bugger all "great" in the world outside a few select organizations, people and objects.

Never fear Aussie D, JK to the rescue !!!

Er, what's a Valkyrie, take a saddle?

Thanks JK.

I'm not a fan of the didgeridoo [or Asian music] being something of a Western Barbarian by nature. Thanks for the reference anyway. They are incredibly difficult to play and take a lot of talent - just not a fan.

I suspect you already know what a Valkyrie is but simply put -

in Norse mythology a Valkyrie is one of a bunch of female type figures who determine which warrior lives and which dies in battle. They get to keep half of the dead while the others go to the Goddess Freyja. The Valkyrie’s lot go to Valhalla where they drink copious quantities of mead [like gnat’s piss only worse] served by the Valkyries and spend the rest of the time bonking said Valkyries. Though if they look like the ones in most renditions of Wagner’s opera you’d think twice about that - but then all things and tastes in the female form are relative.

Well, I'm a fan of the didge, which can lift a dreary arrangement with just a few strategic notes. We have one of the best here in Cairns - David Hudson - and a fine artist and all-round good bloke he is too.

The only Aussie composers of note I can think of are Peter Sculthorpe who's pretty good and the late Percy Grainger, whose predeliction for little boys, masochism and flagellation, et al, leave a lot to be desired.

I'm more of a jazz person anyway and all the best jazz composers are American - and mostly of the black persuasion - e.g. Duke Ellington. That's good enough for me! Oh, OK, throw Gershwin and a whole lot of others in there but that's enough to be going on with for me.

Anyway, Duffers can have his kulchur and I'll stick to the jazz.

G'day Andra,

Several years ago SWMBO and I attended a silver service starlight dinner at Ayers Rock/Uluru and there was a didge player there. Don't know anything about the finer points of them but it was most appropriate for the setting.

A fantastic night clear as crystal, bloody cold but offset by good food, excellent wine and amicable company and to top it all off an astronomer to explain to the city slickers all the visible stars and constellations - something you only see in the bush or at sea.

Yep, know what you mean, AussieD. Get away from the city lights for a bit and the stars are just amazing.
Personally, though, I don't like to stray too far from the nearest Hilton.
I don't recall ever actually spending a night in a tent or anything like that. The sax player keeps threatening to make me spend a night on his boat but I have managed to avoid that for the past few years.
However, I can understand that sometimes it's a good thing..... especially with plenty of good tucker and booze. Not to mention some good company and mellow jazz and/or didge.

But, if you really want some culture, I would direct your fingers to this - Paco De Lucia, who died earlier this week.

Thanks Andra. Most enjoyable and I'll finish listening later.

Ortega, sorry, I don't know why TypePad has taken against you but you were put in the Spam Box again. As for Frau Merkel, without knowing too much about her, I do admire her. Mind you, it's easy to be firm and inscrutable when you are leading the strongest nation in Europe. I just hope that 'Dave' doesn't believe all that nonsense about her being 'on his side'!

Alas, Andra, a squeezed hand in a concert hall is the most I can hope for these days, although as it happens, the 'Memsahib' was feeling under the weather and couldn't go last night. As for Snr. de Lucia, he might have been a world class guitarist but that particular piece was totally tedious, I almost fell asleep listening to it! I prefer your sax player! However, thanks for reminding me that Percy Grainger was an Aussie - I think I knew it but had forgotten, and I certainly didn't know about his, er, non-musical proclivities.

AussieD, I envy you that night at Ayer's Rock, that's the way I like to experience nature in the raw - with a fine dinner, plenty of wine and the ladies in their finery!

Your appreciation of the tried and true in classical music put me in mind of when I was invited to hear the philharmonic orchestra in Leipzig. Off we toddled to this soviet era construction for the treat. 2002, I think it was.

To me, it seemed like the orchestra was taking an extraordinarily long time to tune up. I was mumbling to myself that it was a bit inconsiderate of them, when I noticed that the conductor had joined in! As the "piece" ended all the musicians stood and applauded and a small long-haired man came onto the stage to receive a bouquet of flowers!! That, I was informed, was the composer (or composter would have been a better term).
This whole sorry charade was repeated several times during the evening. I even managed to spot where they handed the bouquet back to the young lady to re-present to the author of the abominations. Even they seemed to think that 6 bunches of flowers were too much.

As we had been invited I had to grit my teeth and suck it up.

And don't get me started on when I was invited to a barbeque in a vegetarian restaurant!

Bad luck, Timbo, but help is at hand. Instead of risking your sanity with 'modern music' why not try theatre? "Happy Days" by Samuel Beckett has just opened in London. In the first part it features a lady buried up to her waist in sand who never stops talking. In the second part she is buried up to her neck but still keeps on talking. Alas, there is no third part to finish the 'play' in the only way fervently wished for by most of the audience.

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