“Are you going to go and write your blog?” Anne asked as we finished breakfast.
“No, I don’t think there is anything to write about this week”, I replied.
“Not even the lecture at the City Recital Hall yesterday on Music and the Periodic Table of Elements?” Anne retorted. Well, I admit that I had hoped it would spark a few ideas, but all it really did was confirm the human condition of pattern making – categorizing things into patterns if you are a mathematician or scientist, and creating your own patterns if you are an artist or composer.
Then ABC Classic came to the rescue. It was 8.15am and Russell Torrance had been entrusted the task of announcing this year’s Classic 100 – the basis for music played over the Easter weekend. No prior clues had been given, so it was with eager anticipation that we listened.
The station has recently focused quite a lot on women composers, with music by, amongst others, Fanny Mendelssohn, Grace Williams and Peggy Glanville Hicks being highlighted, and opening a delightful new world to many of us. So could the Classic 100 be listeners’ favourite music by written by women?
On the other hand, presenters have played a lot of music recently from films and video games. Could they have been softening us up for an Easter weekend of music from this specific genre – not something Anne or I would have welcomed at all, as this is an unknown world to us.
After the essential tension-creating build-up, we were relieved to hear that listeners are being asked to vote for their favourite composer. Simply that. No favourite piece; just the composer. Presumably someone at ABC Classic will determine which piece for each chosen composer is played – now there’s a minefield if ever there was one!
For me, typically unable to make such judgements, the decision is atypically simple. Sir Edward Elgar. No question. He was a man who bared his soul through his music. He struggled to be taken seriously in his day, yet his music combines echoes of its time with quintessential timelessness. Soaring melodies with heart-stopping harmonies; intimacy alternating with grandeur; down-to-earth tunes elevated to his most common expression marking – nobilmente. He gets my vote.
Will you vote? How will you decide for whom to vote? Whom will you vote for? It will be fascinating to savour the results in due course and to spend a weekend in the company of Australians’ favourite composers.