Saturday, 23 July 2011

For Norway

Choked up by PM Jens Stoltenberg's words about support in a time of mourning. Instantly thought of this, which I posted several months ago in the form of Anne Sofie von Otter's song-interpretation. Here's Grieg's string version which so moved me when Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic performed it as an encore at their Berlin concert back in April.

To be proud of your number one composer, by the way, and to let him provide some small consolation is a sign of patriotism, not nationalism. I can't remember where I read the distinction being eloquently made recently, but it seems helpful at this terrible time.

My thoughts are with all friends and acquaintances in Norway.

Later - one woe treads close upon another's heels: news is just breaking that Amy Winehouse has been found dead at the age of 27. I don't know why I connect it, but the pattern of violence - in this case self-harm - wiping out youthful promise seems almost too much to bear today. She was certainly one of the great voices of recent years in any sphere. Just noting it here as I sit at home on my own - J off at an Oscar Wilde lunch in Oxford - helps relieve a little of the pain.


Susan Scheid said...

The Grieg is a lovely and fitting tribute for Oslo, you are right.

Fran, whose posts are ordinarily humorous, has written a touching poem about Amy Winehouse. I thought you might appreciate it right now--you can find it here

David said...

Thanks for that, Sue - the sonnet-tribute is refreshing after so much hand-wringing. And so glad you discovered The Voice through this.

One thing I would say, perhaps rather piously - just as we can try not to punish ourselves too much over the Norwegian thing by thinking not of the killer but of the humanity surrounding the victims, so we can just listen to what the great Amy did achiever rather than wallowing, as most of the journalistic world seems to be doing, in the carcrash events of her last years.

And tragedy isn't always synonymous with great art - for every Billie there's an Ella. I like the Joyce/Ulysses idea that to be creative in your art you have to be bourgeois in your daily life.

Laurent said...

Thank you David for that beautiful piece. How appropriate. I saw the King and Queen today at the memorial service cry like children, you do not see that often nowadays. What a terrible tragedy.

David said...

Indeed, Laurent. The natural (ie non-rhetorical) eloquence of the noble Norwegian leaders leaves us very humbled. Again this morning when PM Stoltenberg told mourners how the last two days have felt like 'an eternity - hours, days, and nights filled with shock and angst and crying'.

I well remember with gratitude how the previous Norwegian PM was open about his clinical depression and how that left him unable to function for long periods. The people, in full knowledge of this, voted him back into office for a second term.

Willym said...

A lovely and loving tribute. It is so difficult to find the words that express both the horror and the sorrow but your choice of music speaks to it in a way word cannot.