Music: growing up

My father built our gramophone and the blackwood piece of furniture that surrounded it. The fine speakers were large and positioned high up in an alcove, above cupboards, either side of the fireplace. Father adored loud music, Beethoven particularly. He encouraged my brothers and me to sit listening to Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ and tell him what we visualised. Those memories are fragrant. ‘Peter and the Wolf’ with the musical accompaniment filled many a winter’s day. We were lucky to have someone who could share his deep love of music.

When alone with the music my favourites were Chopin’s ‘Les Sylphides’ ballet and Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake’; where I’d swan around dancing my heart out, not being allowed dancing lessons at that age.

The fireplace took the place of a television. Living in Tasmania, the fire was lit for a good part of the year. The house itself was built by my grandfather for his bride back in 1914; given to my parents as a wedding present in 1942.

Christopher, my now husband, introduced me to the word ‘pop music’ when I was about ten. It wasn’t until I went to boarding school at eleven that I began to listen to pop music. There was just one wireless in the common room and everyone enjoyed top of the pops. In the evenings at school before prep, (homework), one of the really talented girls used to play pop tunes for us to dance to. I hated being away at school, but I do remember the music with much nostalgia.

Later when my eldest brother was at university and I was at Art School, we’d go to concerts together, classical and popular. One memorable night, Segovia, a famous classical guitarist, gave thirteen encores!

Christopher has a photographic memory when it comes to music. He has a fantastic collection and continues to educate me. The thump, thump of the popular music doesn’t interest us anymore. It is rather soporific when the neighbours have their occasional parties, like a soft heart beat, now I’m getting deaf.

10 thoughts on “Music: growing up

  1. sandyaureli

    Barbara, what a beautiful compliment you had here – “So refreshing to see such sincere, simpl[e] (and therefore sublime) writing in the online ocean of data” Congratulations. It’s great that you’ve found this avenue for expressing all your thoughts and sharing all your gorgeous photos. I’m a very proud ex-wife-in-law! Love, Sandy


  2. helen meikle's scribblefest

    My father was a Beehhoven groupie by the time I was born, so I’m pretty sure I absorbed it subliminally from birth. I can still tell you where the change of the old 78s happened in the Emperor and the violin concerto. As for pop music at boarding school…! We didn’t have common room, let alone a piano! My pop education started when I went to NIDA.
    Good to meet another Australian.


    1. bkpyett Post author

      Helen, it is good to hear from another Australian who grew up with Beethoven. Life seems to have changed so much over the last decades, especially where technology is concerned.
      I do hope your eye is progressing well!


  3. Stephen Sumner

    Such a beautiful post!

    And I agree with your father. Can’t think of anything more pure than Beethoven!

    Will try to make more of an effort to check out your posts, as well as those of others, on the WordPress reader.

    So refreshing to see such sincere, simply (and therefore sublime) writing in the online ocean of data.


  4. bkpyett Post author

    Thanks M.R., Too late for today, but shall now follow and do it another day. Thanks for all of the instructions that terrify me! Starting from scratch will be better, I hope.


  5. M. R.

    But if you’d made this an entry in The Daily Post for today, it would be read by many more people, Barbara. Am I talking Greek? – if I am, I’ll translate …?


      1. M. R.

        If you click on the opening sentence of my “Papa loves Mambo” post (which you’ll see is a link), you be taken to The Daily Post entry for this particular writing suggestion.
        You subscribe to TDP like any other blog – I think the follow button at the top will do as well as anything else – and make sure that you set it up so that you receive instant emails from it.
        Every day TDP puts out a suggested writing topic for anyone who wants it, and some bloggers do every single one ! Most of us do the occasional one, when it whets our fancy – as with me today.
        Read the TDP page carefully, Ba, to see what to do about it: you can always Ctrl + C your article, paste it into a .text file for the moment, then delete your post; after which if you’re confident, you can re-post it under The Daily Prompt, exactly as I did. The benefit of this is that if you scroll down on TDP page, you’ll see all the posts as pingbacks; and many bloggers sift through that list.
        Let me know how you go, and we can do it all again if it’s too complex, yes ? 🙂


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