Saturday, May 16, 2015

Karen Gomyo, Violinist extraordinary..

Karen Gomyo.

Concert hall packed as French-Canadian violist Karen Gomyo took centre stage to make her debut with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in Hobart. Her Stradivari violin ready to take on the task, as a ‘Russian Night’ was about to unfold. Not only was the audience about to enjoy Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, but for good measure Shostakovich’s Symphony No 10 [claimed by sum to be a portrait of the dark Stalinist times] was to follow.

The night very much belonged to Gomyo who melted into her violin creating a memorable night of music. Her extraordinary technical skill combined with the wonderful sound of a three hundred year old Strad produced an electric rending of one the world’s favourite violin pieces. Technical skill beyond the norm was required, when Tchaikovsky first composed the concerto around 1878, he used his friend Josef Kotek to play through various sections of the composition to ensure their playability.

Originally the work was dedicated to the virtuoso Leopold Auer, who however thought the concerto far too difficult and refused to play it. Gomyo, however had no such qualms virtually performed summer sorts as she swayed and moved with the music as one.  Fingers dancing across the strings in overtime, a superb performance.  
After numerous curtain calls she generously played a piece by Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla whose music she has an affinity with as a encore. A delightful evening’s music and I would urge any music lover who ever has a chance to hear this talented musician play not to miss the chance

Monday, May 11, 2015



The problem with the word fundamental in a philosophic sense, other than in its scientific meaning, is its inability to adapt to comprise. This is little wonder given in its origins within Christian beliefs. However we live in a world of impermanence nothing throughout history is set in stone. This philosophical base unfortunately stands at odds with all the fundamental belief currently circulating in the world, whether they are religious, political, cultural or economic. There is no such thing as permanence, other than scientific and even that has been found at times to be incorrect. Historically everything is in a continual state of change be they metal, stone, or the world itself let alone human thought.

Fundamentalism makes compromise impossible, the reaching of satisfactory outcomes that are amicable to everyone require it. Pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus in his study of change remarked ‘no one can step into the same river twice’. Fundamental wisdom he felt was not knowledge of many things or ideas, but the perception of underlying unity of warring opposites. This is fundamental to his thought.

In this age of hung parliaments made up of all sorts of fundamental groups attempting to control societies with their conflicting agendas, or the religious outpouring of fundamental believers, we would do well to search for that underlying unity. This of course is self-evident, but we seem unable to find it, rather we continually look in the opposite direction.  

Monday, May 4, 2015


Disappearing primary sources.

I can’t remember as a child ever making any association between a country’s postage stamps and their political landscape. Slowly as you grow older you become aware of a Europe that has moved from pre-war tranquillity to one of an aggressive nature. The appearance of Adolf Hitler's image on stamps, overprinting of countries names, or new currencies denominations herald a more impermanent present.  

When I turned eight, I inherited my father stamp collection containing stamps from countries that no longer seemed to exists, some with over printed names of new masters who had imposed their rule militarily or other political reasons. Stamp collecting has a larger agenda beyond its revenue role for respective government. It is in a way a primary source to reinforce new historic situations, a visual history of events that outlive their own time.

Sadly current societies march towards the electronic age is discarding many of the tangible links to the past such as the disappearance of postage stamps. Recorded history no longer written by hand, but by the touch of a finger on a computer. Unlike the written account recorded by witnesses of events in physical form, our primary source is open to alteration by other hands without necessarily any consultation with the original author.

Whether such ‘histories’ will be considered primary sources of information by future generations remains an open question. It is possible that history as we now understand it may be a thing of the past. Will we be left only with the current edited electronic interpretation of what may be considered suitable. I’m not sure that the world will be bester served by such an outcome.