Friday, June 01, 2007

may I recommend... (or 'redeeming the cultural void')

Life in my childhood home consisted of silence, intermittently broken by arguments. Or was it arguments intermittently broken by silence? I'm not exactly sure now. Whichever it was, there wasn't much in the way of music to be heard in our house.

What music there was was only heard after careful censoring by the parental watchdog. (Think Kid's Praise. I can probably still sing every song in the purple book word for word if you asked me nicely!) The music censoring went hand in hand with careful censoring of any book I borrowed from the library. Of course they only saw the books I thought they'd approve - the rest stayed well and truly hidden under the blankets!

So while other kids were into... um... heck, I don't even know what they were into! Aside from big fringes (and let's not go there), my teenage years were a cultural wasteland that left me blushingly ignorant of anything typically eighties or nineties. Heaven forbid that a secular song should vibrate across my eardrums and pollute my soul.

Maybe I didn't miss much (how will I ever know?!), but I feel the loss now in the deep void that passes for the sound of my childhood. Each generation has a trademark sound, but mine is forevermore unknown to me - even if I bought every eighties compilation CD available to humankind it would make no difference. That era has passed and cannot be inculcated into my social history at this late stage.

Which all goes a long way to explaining why I like classical music. (That intro turned into something bigger than Ben Hur - am I carrying a chip on my shoulder here?!) Not at the expense of all other music of course. I have fairly eclectic taste extending from Country to Trance to International, but if my soul is in pain, nothing soothes it better than a piece of achingly beautiful classical music.

And now I'm delighted to report another soul-soothing addition to my classical CD collection: Wild Swans by Elena Kats-Chernin, performed by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Jane Sheldon.

I'm not a huge fan of contemporary classical music, but this CD is wonderful, all Australian and, delightfully, I found out about it by accident! When I joined the TSO mailing list they sent me an email boasting about the success of their CD in the UK Classical Charts. One track has recently been used in a Lloyds Bank advertisement and the whole country seems to have fallen in love with Elena Kats-Chernin. I hurried off to iTunes to have a listen and fell in love myself.

What an absolutely beautiful CD! I'm no great writer of reviews, but the music lifts my soul to another place with its soaring, wordless soprano. Light, uplifting music that utilises every section of the orchestra is mixed with rich chord progressions, and the contrasting darkness of some pieces makes for the perfect telling of a musical fairy tale. When I listen to this music I smile.

And who made my purchase possible? My mum! She gave me an ABC Shop gift voucher for Christmas and this is what I bought.

There's a nice symmetry contained here don't you think? At the hands of my parents I experienced a teenage cultural void, and now my mum contributes to the redeeming of my past by enabling the purchase of delightful music that soothes my mind, feeds my soul, and creates a new cultural space in my life. And to be perfectly honest, this beats eighties music hands down!

Thanks Mum.

Labels: ,


At 2:03 pm, June 01, 2007, Blogger Robyn said...

Personally I don't think you missed much, although I didn't get much exposure either given where we were living so I suppose I can join you in your cultural void :) I do love that CD, and your Mom's contribution.

At 11:11 am, June 02, 2007, Blogger Cherie said...

"At the hands of my parents I experienced a teenage cultural void, and now my mum contributes to the redeeming of my past..."

This is powerful testimony to the fact that people and situations change and second chances happen. Thanks for this post.

Music-wise, you didn't really miss all that much - trust me.

And hey, thanks for the tip about the CD. Looks like one worth finding!

At 2:34 pm, June 04, 2007, Blogger Deanna said...

So good you can look at the positive, while not hiding from the perspective you've gained. I'll chime in with those saying the 80s music isn't much worth sighing over.

At 3:15 pm, June 04, 2007, Anonymous luke said...

Yeah, 80's music sucked.

I know. I was born in '83. To the same parents as you.


I remember being allowed to listen to ABC Classic FM (the only acceptable radio station) and convincing myself that I liked listening to it more than I would like listening to other stations because classical music was better than everything else.

Now I barely ever listen to classical music.

Thanks for the reminder that it is good (even though there is so much more out there ...)


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home