Friday, 6 August 2010

The Score

Having read 'The Plot' by Madeleine Bunting this week, I have been struck powerfully by the memories evoked by music. There are some pieces of music that evoke good memories and some not so good. It has nothing to do with the merits or otherwise of the piece of music but association with people, events and circumstance. On our way back from a walk Sheryl and I were listening to Mahler's 5th Symphony - Mahler has been all the rage at the proms this year and to be honest I haven't found his music the most enjoyable. However I have been attracted by it's variety and 'interest' if not it's 'tunability' - though it does have a bit of that. Listening to the Adagietto - a beautiful piece of music - took me back some years ago to a very difficult time in our lives. Maybe my antipathy to Mahler is more rooted in personal memory rather than the music's intrinsic value. There are pieces of music that I will listen to that evoke good moments - Schumann's Rhenish Symphony for instance - though only because it was on the radio at a moment when I knew things were on the up. I can't say Schumann tops my charts every day!
Music can lift the spirits but to be honest if some music gets associated with certain events - personal or otherwise - it's going to be a tough call for that tune! I haven't of course mentioned Wagner...

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Plot

Holiday reading includes the latest by Peter James, Elizabeth George, John Ortberg etc 

One I highly commend is 'The Plot' by Madeleine Bunting. A really great piece of writing and a moving account of a plot of land in North Yorkshire owned by her father and upon which he built a Chapel. No wonder Simon Scharma describes the book as being 'among the very best about what it means to be English.' To be honest whether you're English, Welsh, French or anything else you may still find it a brilliant read! It is a very moving account about what it means to be part of a culture with its history and all that means in terms of its highs and lows, gains and losses - and at the same time weaved through it all is the life of Bunting's family - again with its its highs and lows etc etc 
All looked at through the 'lens' of a piece of land.
I can't go to Cheltenham (my home town) without thinking, reflecting and wishing I could have written a book like this. I am sure many of us have our 'plots' even in this age of national and global mobility. 

Place is significant becuase it speaks to us about where we have come from and who we are now... it may have also have something to say about our future...

'the Word became flesh and moved into the neighbourhood'.