It was given by an Aussie chamber orchestra with the rather wonderful name of Ruthless Jabiru. They played some more Sculthorpe, who continues to impress, especially the new work Small Town - Djilile - Shining Island, and ended with Copland's Appalachian Spring, which was a mistake.
Partly because the playing didn't grip me, as if their spirit wasn't quite in it. But mostly because I was still lost in the piece they played before the interval, Samual Barber's haunting Knoxville: Summer of 1915, beautifully sung by Emma Pearson.
Intensely evocative, the words by James Agee are about memory, of childhood, the feeling of safety within a family and all of life being ahead of one. It is about looking back, remembering what is lost, of a time long gone.
One sentence spoke to me, and our family's recent loss:
May God bless my people...
remember them in their time trouble,
and in the hour of their taking away.
Apparently Agee wrote the words to Knoxville: Summer of 1915 after his father died, at a time when Barber's father was dying.
Afterwards I could hear the lyrical, aching, gentle, dream-like main theme echo in my head. Like Agee's streetcar, the tube "raised its iron moan; stopping: belling and starting, stertorous; rousing and raising again its iron increasing moan".
And above the concrete and iron towers was the moon, clear and crisp, gently watching.