Friday, February 14, 2020

Beethoven's 1st, 2nd, 3rd Symphonies with the ACO.

Beethoven is everywhere this year and I have no complaints at all. I can listen to Beethoven any time, anywhere. Today I heard Beethoven's Symphonies 1, 2 and 3 played by the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Anna Melville, Head of Programming with the ACO gave the introductory talk. I am not alone in enjoying her talks and the small presentation room was packed, with people sitting on the floor to listen. She talks about the context in which the music was written and adds a thing  or two about the music that we might otherwise not hear.

Anna Melville presents

ACO members were augmented by wind instrumentalists from the world over, and by students from the Australian National Academy of Music, ANAM. It was heart warming to see each of the young musicians playing beside their mentor. The ACO works extremely hard but they are a happy crew and I can't think of a better way to be introduced to the playing life than as a member of this band.   They were all playing on gut strings, perhaps a first for some of the students, and several disappeared to get strings mended when they broke. (Melville had told us that there is an expert in re-stringing instruments back stage.)

They all played magnificently and the audience was rapt. What a pleasure to know that these young folk have chosen classical music as their career choice. Or perhaps music has chosen them. Right in my line of sight sat ANAM student James Morley with his cello shining yellow in the hall lighting. I couldn't resist making a little sketch as he played.

James Morley with his cello

Monday, February 10, 2020

Australia, land of extremes

After months of fires, the East Coast of Australia now has floods. During the fires the Australian Broadcasting Service (ABC) did a wonderful job of keeping people informed about which areas were under threat, when they should leave adn where they should go. Yesterday afternoon and evening  the same team were again giving evacuation advice, but this time for floods. After two days of torrential rain,  300mm fell on many parts of Sydney overnight  and 500mm on the Blue Mountains. Transport is in chaos today and people are being advised to work from home today if they can.

I read now that south coast people now approach ABC staff to thank them for help in desperate times. In many cases, with power off and no wifi, these people were dependent on battery radios for their information and the ABC was the outstanding performer.

It is hard to believe, but our far-right wing government favours a commercial station over their own ABC, paid for and owned by the Australian people. They have cut the ABC and cut it again, and more cuts are planned. They don't like having a broadcaster that is neutral and tells the truth. Who cares that they are the best source of information by a country mile? Woe is us.

Some trickster has doctored a photo of the harbour bridge to make it appear like a waterfall. Probably some will believe it, such is fake news in our era. If you want to see a real waterfall, search for Wentworth Falls on google. Those falls in the Blue Mountains are bucketing down the cliff after so much rain.

Fake floods - tricksters phototshopped image

Real floods in Sydney yesterday (photo: ABC)