Posts Tagged ‘Sibelius’

We shall see, but a win with the Body- Strata.

September 15, 2015

Bowral’s tulip festival is in full swing. The locals have free entry, yet foreigners from outside the Shire have to pay an entre fee of $10.-. It seems odd, seeing the venue of the tulips is in a local public park. However, having gone through a legal tussle with our Body Corporate’s management and Strata, I am loath to pick up another fight.

IMG_0623tulips

Inside this little park, one can, apart from admiring the swaying of the tulips, also go and have a tasty sausage roll, a coffee, and if the sun gets too much, buy a hat or a nice leather belt in case of sagging trousers. Which reminds me, that at Australian airports , belts don’t have to be taken off trousers anymore, together with a more lenient attitude to having to take off shoes. So, all you intending air travellers, relax and enjoy the trip! Our Border Protection Patrols have declared the terrorists are in retreat and Syria is being bombed into safety.

Yesterday Vivaldi’s Spring was being rotated around on the public mike. They used to have a Peruvian group playing rather mournful music on pan flutes. The Shire must have thought Vivaldi was more in tune with tulips. One just never know what is behind the decisions that aldermen make. I suppose they have meetings and discuss how to make the tulip festival even better.  The aldermen made huge mistake some many years ago planting cherry trees throughout the Shire. They are beautiful but also spread out so wide that pedestrian are forced to give up walking on the foot-path or nature strip and actually now share the roads with cars. Counsel now are asking for input by the locals on how to re-claim the footpath once more. I suggested the lanky birch-tree and for next year Sibelius music at the tulip festival.

The Strata has come to a good rest. All has to be done through an EGM as yet to be dated, and any shortfall in costs to be raised by a special levy. All owners to be give the opportunity to reflect on the issue and allowed to vote on the issue, at the AGM following the EGM.

So, all in all, a worthwhile effort rewarded by common sense.  Thank you Mr NSW, Department of Fair Trading.

A dastardly plot that might just work!

September 12, 2015
home

home

It struck like a bolt of light from the sky. It happened at 6.45am as I was putting on my socks. This is usually my first duty. I can’t make a good coffee without wearing socks and slippers. Helvi loves walking around bare-footed. I often rebuke her for checking the latest happenings in the garden during frosty mornings. It makes me ill looking at those bare feet crunching around the crystalline hoar-frosted cyclamens or violets. I insists she gets socks on before any coffee! I suspects it behoves her seeing me all puckered, concerned and anxious.

Here now is clear-sighted bolt from the heavens. Why don’t I take on the job of chairman in our Strata Plan? The present chairperson is an 82 year old lady who is not familiar with e-mail and computers. So far she has done an admirable job but is under pressure from the rest of the executive to agree to the painting of this compound. They are just trying to wear her out, pushing to agree verbally to all sorts of schemes of intrigue and conniving. It is the last thing a retired person on her own would want to be part off.

She visited us last night and is obviously all stressed out. The investigation into how things have been managed by our inept Body Corporate manager is scaring her. We have tried to calm her. It is no-one’s fault but the Corporate Manager who failed to have given an accurate report of the last AGM. Not a word or motion reflecting even the idea of having spoken about any painting. Someone is cooking the reports and to think we are paying real money for that!

I will suggest to her, to relinquish her chairperson job and nominate me to fill the job till the next AGM when new nominations for positions might be called for. I would be an excellent replacement. Drunk with power I will get a cane and keep tapping it assertively in front of the other town-house owners. Up and down I will be tapping.  Any illegal disappearance of greenery will immediately be followed by lining up all owners in front of the letter-boxes and give them a severe dressing down before marching them back to their dwellings.

All camellias with their rotting flowers will be dug up and banished forever. Native sedges and Hebes will become obligatory. All windows must be uncovered during day but blinds and curtains will be allowed back in over the windows between 7pm and 6.30 am. Solar panels will become obligatory but paid for by Strata-plan, after enough money has been raised and collected in the quarterly fees. All residents will be encouraged to dance outside  their front door whenever more shocking news will be revealed about our bumbling Tony Abbott’s Government. ( if that’s what they call it).

A special  prawn barbeque will be put on when the polls on the Liberal National Party go down even further. Volunteers might be called for to put prawn shells behind hubcaps of cars known to belong to foolish LNP followers. A creative composing of tone-poems will be asked for, reflecting our concern for the world’s ecology and climate change. In the meantime Sibelius’ Valse Triste will be played through the Shire’s town’s vans with loudspeakers.

That will be all for now.

Alahärmän Pojat ja Tytöt; a burning ship, ( Auto-biography)

July 14, 2015

The six months or more that I lived in Finland could easily fill a book. I haven’t even reached the Kalevala.  Finland’s national epic of which so much Finish culture, music and design is derived from. Let me make amends and give you at least the basics of what the Kalevala is about and I copy from Wiki;

” is a 19th-century work of epic poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Karelian and Finnish oral folklore and mythology.[2]It is regarded as the national epic of Karelia and Finland and is one of the most significant works of Finnish literature. The Kalevala played an instrumental role in the development of the Finnish national identity, the intensification of Finland’s language strife and the growing sense of nationality that ultimately led to Finland’s independence from Russia in 1917.[3

And yet, despite all that beauty and creativity, Finland remains a country with a rather reticent self image. It doesn’t easily boast or do unnecessary head-stands or engage in world-stage pole vaulting. The Ankeriasjarvi hut with outside sauna and water-well with its lovely lake had to come to an end. Love alone might never end but finally also needs more than walking along water’s edge or hacking holes in ice in the hope of catching sad eyed and lonely fish. Has anyone ever experienced the delights of throwing water on boiling hot stones inside a wooden hut lined with fragrant pine?

We had bought some  paints and I did do a few paintings while also waiting for news from the local Australian embassy to gain a residency permit for Helvi (my wife- vaimoni) to live in Australia. We were given an appointments for interview but when I showed the immigration man at the Embassy our buff coloured letter head with my parents address for ‘Head-Office’ within seconds assured us there was no problem. Australia was desperate for building and painting contractors. He almost gave me us free shovel and wheel- barrow.

We then booked a boat. It was again one of the Flotta Lauro boats, either the ‘Roma’ or its sister ship ‘Sydney’. The original idea was to live in Finland where I would paint pictures and Helvi teach. We had looked at a few timber houses in the country side but after a while decided to delay this plan, go to Australia for a few years instead, build up some capital. While first waiting for all paperwork to be finalised for a grand wedding and then just ditching it for a registry marriage, we now waited for all approvals for going to Australia. Helvi was never too fussed about conventions. I guess another reason we clicked together so well. Even so, the move to leave  home and hearth was hard and very brave. She had already moved away from her family home for some years when she had to live close to her gymnasium and after to the university. She shared a house with her brother who was also studying. At week-ends she travelled home to the farm to be with her very large and extensive family.

The village she lived in was peopled mainly by her father’s brothers and other close relatives with the farm houses clustered cosily together and the farm land nestled around this village. Some crops were grown, some had milking cows and most also produced timber.  I remember visiting her father’s sister just a short walk from the farm. She was married to a man who had lived for many years in Canada and spoke English with a strong Canadian accent. His name was Antti.  He told me an interesting and amazing story of why he went to Canada in the first place.  His wife was always a bit anxious when he spoke to me in English. Her name was aunty Maija.

 

H and I at the family farm with Helvi's brothers and two sisters.

H and I at the family farm with Helvi’s brothers and two sisters.

The main event when visiting family and friends was to have coffee. Coffee drinking in Finland is  a national past-time together with eating ‘pulla’, a kind of cardamon semi-sweet cake and is revered as the essence of much Finnish baking. If you are offered coffee and pulla you are in good hands. Sometimes cream is put on top and coffee is sugared with cubes of sugar. (Readers might remember many years later on the hot train between Moscow and St Petersburg a kind and buxom woman offered me those same cubes but dipped in Absinthe after she found out I painted pictures. The same woman also dabbed her generous bosom with Eau de Cologne with an embroidered hanky. Oh, how those memories linger! Was the number of that Cologne 711 or 911? It is so confusing now).

It was within a few weeks of our departure when a telegram came that told us a fire had broken out on our ship cancelling our trip. But, as compensation, were offered a first class voyage to Australia on their other Flotta Lauro ship a couple of weeks or so later. When the time came we said goodbye, walked out of Helvi’s farm. We, somewhat sadly, now carried suitcases to take ferries and train to Genoa to catch the boat to Sydney. Half of this boat held about 20-30 passengers in its first class, the rest of the boat hundreds of migrants, mainly Italian and later on Greek migrants. One of the many perceived advantages, apart from having so much space, was dining almost every night with the captain and his top crew. Lucky we had a nice crew and the captain was popular at both parts of the boat. We would at times go to the other half and have more fun with so many more people around.

We shared a small round dining table with a sophisticated elderly Italian couple on their way to visit their pianist son in Melbourne. We also drank a bottle of white Italian wine every night called ‘Suave’ with our dinner. One can still buy this wine today. The Italian couple were very nice. One high point, at least in the case of Helvi, was that the very charming, debonair and white uniformed captain asked Helvi for a dance.  I could tell Helvi loved it.  They were a nice couple and looked stunning. Helvi is a natural when it comes to swaying and dancing. While on the other hand I danced as if still following the painted Phyllis Bates Fox trot steps on the parquetry floor in Sydney. I danced with the generously endowed Italian wife of the husband that we shared the dining- table with.

It was a great sea voyage.

Violins and French Polish

January 2, 2015
Cupboard after French Polish.

Cupboard after French Polish.

A good violin player knows his/her instrument better than he does his or her toothbrush. So does the French polisher. It seems a ridiculous statement, but let’s examine it. Of course, the latter does not necessarily play a musical instrument but applies art just the same as the former. There are more details than just intimate knowledge of their toothbrushes that are similar.

The violin produces sound by vibrations caused by the bow made of horsehair striking or moving across strings suspended above a wooden soundbox. We all know that. However, the sound produced by horsehair strung across the bow needs a certain ingredient called ‘rosin’. This gives a certain resistance when striking across the strings of the instrument. You would be hard pushed to get a sound out without first having ‘rosined’ the bow’s hairs. Note the verb ‘to rosin’! Rosin is a solid substance mainly obtained from the resin of pine trees. I am fairly sure that a musician, especially a good one, knows how to direct his wishes onto the instrument just as much as being obedient to the instrument after sound has been produced. As always, a give and take in the kitchen of any creative act.

It seems odd that despite the violin being such a great and popular instrument, most of the great 19th and 20th composers have written just one violin concerto for this instrument. e.g, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, Chaikovski, Dvorak, Elgar, Sibelius, Bartok. ( From Wiki)

Personally, I think Sibelius violin concerto the greatest piece of music ever written. I know it is a bit heavy and like most of his work, steeped in all things Finnish. You can indeed see the frozen sixty thousand lakes skirted by birch and spruce laden with snow. The melancholic and endless winter nights, but also the warm springs and loganberry filled summers, the simple and all artful that is Finland.

Here it is:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsbrRAgv1b4

Let’s now go to the French Polisher and his art. I rattled on of resin for the bows of violins and other similar instruments. The French Polisher also uses a kind or resin called shellac. It also comes from trees but is actually produced by a beetle which deposits its excrement onto trees. Typically it is only the female beetle that does this. I don’t know why, perhaps it is supposed to lure the male. I would not be surprised seeing how many females stop at nothing to get a mate, even if it means the poor old male gets stuck on the resin and cark it. Anyway, this resin deposited on trees by the female lac bug in India, Thailand and China produces the major ingredient for shellac. Shellac when mixed with spirits is mainly used for French Polishes and food glazes.

Like a good violin player giving direction and responding to the instrument so does the French polisher direct and respond to his pad soaked in shellac. The shellac gives it the sheen but applying it makes for a certain drag or resistance like the rosin on the violin’s bow. It is an art of getting a ‘feel’ of just enough pressure on the timber surface, enough drag to leave behind the desired honey coloured sheen. Not enough or too much pressure and it fails to glorify. Applied too fast or too slow and it will not happen either, at best giving a mediocre result. It does need a bit more than experience to obtain a feel for this form of art. I suppose it is like that with all things creative.

A feeling and expressing it, giving it form.

I am not sure about the reference to toothbrushes. I am no Violin player, but can do a bit of French Polish.