Saturday, June 16, 2012


Popping onto the Sydney Symphony website to read the programme notes for this weeks Berg Vioin Concerto / Bruckner 6th  8th concert was a bit disappointing. The notes are not up yet which is a shame when the weekend is a good time to bone up. More significant is the news that Donald Runnicles is not able to come and will be replaced by Lothar Koenigs. I had really booked this concert to hear Runnicles, and Julian Rachlin of course, but especially Donald Runnicles. And one can't help wonder if everything is alright, and hope it is.

Lothar Koenigs reads very well. As far as I know this will be his first visit. He's busy and there must be some scheduling changes taking place for he is still listed to be conducting T&I with the Welsh National Opera (where he is Music Director) on tour in Birmingham tonight 16 June. And he has worked with Neil Armfield in Cardiff. (I have bad thoughts when I read dots that could be joined and aren't - Armfield, Wagner, conductor, Melbourne ...)

Lulu is solidly in his rep so that's good. I've just played (as in listened, not played played) the Berg three times this morning. A commission by violinist Louis Krasner, it was the death of 18 year old Manon Gropius, daughter of Alma Mahler and her second husband, from complications of polio (an especially cruel disease for the wild free-spirited beauty and her vicariously seductive mother) which coalesced Berg's thoughts and saw it dedicated 'to the memory of an angel'. It is quite harrowing, born with difficulty but promise, a young life with just a hint of the blossoming of the fruit, and then the agony of interruption relieved by a final peace.

I thought again of Lindy Chamberlain as I listened, moved as I had been by the final coroner's findings handed down this week, and that always association of child's death and angel. The film they made about 'the dingo got my baby' was, you may remember, called "Evil Angels", noted at the time for how good Meryl Streep was at nailing the Australian accent, which is hard enough for Australians, than the serious questions raised. It was a dark time of lynch-mob mentality from which I think we have learnt little. Even one of my three sisters, a Territorean and moreover in the desperate isolation of a remote cattle station having herself had a child, her first child, die before the age of one, could not resist the rush to judgement and declared the interloper had brought discredit to the women of the Territory.

There is an interesting and insightful ten minute interview with the woman who spent three years in jail for infanticide. The last four minutes are worth the wait, and she's nobody's fool, with a book to promote as well.

Update 18th June - It's the Bruckner 8th not the 6th so I might stay after interval after all.


Susan Scheid said...

Nobody's fool is right. I do remember the film, which is all I ever knew of the story, until now. I was struck even in the film how her demeanor, at least as conveyed in the media, so negatively affected so many. A double tragedy, that, and, to me, the great irony in listening to the interview is that what comes across to me as nothing less or more than common sense might be read as something more sinister by others, even now.

Anonymous said...

Apologies for your disappointment. While there's still a little of the weekend left, here's a direct link to the program book for 21–23 June:

Anonymous said...

I have tickets to this concert. The SSO has my email, linked I am sure to my booking. I'm searching my memory (not yet my emails) as to when they have told me that Mr Runnicles will not be coming.

Did they tell you?

wanderer said...

In reverse -

M, no they didn't. I discovered the programme change when I went to the website to look at the programme notes. Shock horror. Herr Koenigs will be interesting if not exhausted.

Thomasina, no worries there. I sent myself off around the 'net reading this and that, which was fun. I can't make that link work I'm afraid.

Susan, you are so right. You know I don't think I can recall a jailed innocent (and I'm thinking mainly of political prisoners - there's one who just finally received her Nobel prize) who emerged angry. We have much to learn from them. They have 'right Mind' thinking (another story about the capital M).