Wangaratta, August 2018

Classical music has always been only a small blimp on my radar. Having played guitar, harmonica and sung and listened to mostly blues, country and folk music in its various forms for most of my 55 years, I come at music from a place where improvisation is key. I’ve have looked at classical music as too rigid and stodgy for me. Truth be told, I have never had the chops to play a classical piece. I have seen classical players struggle without the dots to guide them and also seen others that could straddle any type of music you care to name.

The love of any form of art is always a subjective thing. What is cool is an art form that can take you to a new level of appreciation of another art form. This was the case for me as I read a novel by Zoe Morrison called Music and Freedom. I started the novel as an audio book before I went to hospital. To cut a long story short, I didn’t finish it, as I didn’t have the dexterity to use my phone and play the app I got for free via the local library. (A stroke can do that to you.)

For seemingly the longest time I didn’t have the strength other than to read the odd newspaper or magazine article, so my trusty transistor radio got through most of my prolonged stay in hospital. The last couple of weeks, when I gained enough strength back,  I downloaded a couple of books. I’d forgotten about Zoe’s book till I finally got home. I had a couple of chapters to go with it.  l redid a download and finished it. So glad I did  – it was the right ending I needed to hear.

The book is about Alice, her battle with domestic violence, music and her courage to get through it all. Without giving too much away, Rachmaninoff Concerto No.2 washes through the book’s pages, as it brings joy and sadness.

Sergei Rachmaninoff’s concerto premiered in full on the November 9, 1901. After critics panned his 1897 first symphony his level of self- confidence took a battering. He suffered  writer’s  block and depression and sought help by hypnotherapy and psychotherapy,

His music is greatly loved today although often difficult to play. Have a listen and read the book. Both worthy of your time.

More about Music And Freedom

Book cover courtesy of Vintage/Penguin

Luke R Davies and the Recycled String Band won the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia Folk Recording Award 2013 for their album Not A Note Wasted. A Wangaratta musician, Luke joined The Stereo Stories Band after seeing them at the Newport Folk Festival in Melbourne in 2014..