Friday, December 31, 2010

NEW YEAR 2011 - ABOVE ALL HOPE





 HOPE'S OPENING NIGHT 




Filigreed shreds of last year's frock,
Flutter feebly on the fringe of  floating applause.
An old lady now, flooded in footlights' flame;
Still the fragile smile.
Still the feathery wave.
Even in the final flourishing cadence of death,
As Final Bow smelts into Opening Night,
And fading finger of memories beckons Prima Donna;
HOPE takes her place in the spotlight.








Maureen Walsh  - December 2010 ©




Wishing friends, followers and daytrippers a very Peaceful 20ll, but above all, may you all be restored to HOPE. See you next year! X



Ciao for now.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

CHRISTMAS - IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE!

Blessed


Christmas Day! What a day for a walk before breakfast! Naturally I brought my camera along. Everywhere glistened and the sound of frost falling from bushes and trees reminded me of a rainstick, when turned upside down. Apart from that, and the odd word to each other, we were bombarded by the Christmas Silence!  



In Step




Reconnaisance




Iced Grass Anyone?




Lagging Behind


The frost that didn't thaw for days, built up, layer by layer, on the trees and shrubs, reminded me of coral. A wonder of nature ... quite spectacular!



Coral Parsley




Hey There!




Not Bloomin' Lichen!





Shouldn't I be Under Water?





From Golden With Love





Snow Special




Tree Chorus





My Granny Flat


Well it's St. Stephen's Day today, and it's windy and raining! Not a sign of coralized tree, shrub or cow parsley anywhere. Galtee Mountains are grey again!

There are two movies that have to be watched every Christmas at our house: Jim Henson's Muppets Christmas Carol and Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart and Donna Read. Both have been dutifully watched and guess what? 



IT IS A WONDERFUL LIFE!








Ciao for Now!

Friday, December 24, 2010

CHRISTMAS HOMECOMINGS AND KORNGOLD





My daughter, Emma arrived home for Christmas from London last week (wasn't she incredbly fortunate, given the plight of so many others still trying to get home) with a CD recording of operatic arias performed by world-renowned soprano Renee Fleming, that she had received as a birthday present. She sat me down at the kitchen table, saying I just had to listen. There was only one aria on the CD that I had heard before, namely Vissi D'Arte from  Giacomo Puccini's ultra-dramatic opera Tosca. It was an emotional and tearful sharing, because that's just the way the two of us are about beautiful music. Then we got to track 5 - Ich Ging Zu Ihm from Korngold's opera, DasWunder der Heliane. Wow!






This piece sounds so different from the rest. I had never heard tell of the name of Erich Korngold (1897 - 1957), an Austro-Hungarian Film and Romantic composer, before. Apparently, composer Gustav Mahler thought he was a genius. Korngold won an academy award for his score for the 1938 film, The Adventures of Robin Hood, which many consider to be the best film score ever written. Korngold believed his opera Das Wunder Der Heliane to be his masterpiece, but at its first performance at the Hamburg State Opera in 1927, it was considered, by critics, to be a flop.




I am a great fan of American lyric soprano Renee Fleming, who has successfully crossed the divide into the rock music genre, with her album Dark Hope recorded in June 2010, performing cover versions of such artists as Leonard Cohen, Band of Horses and Jefferson Airplane. Many classically-trained singers, who have attempted to do this, fail  quite miserably, unfortunately. 




The curtain fell on my last Christmas show on Wednesday night 22nd December; weather conditions having pushed everything forward. The echoes of the last few days of rehearsal, leaving Golden, passing through the village of Bansha, the Glen of Aherlow to arrive in Lisvernane, pulling over the car, stepping out, tripping over briars in ditches, falling flat on my face on one occasion, watching my camera spin away from me across the road, in an effort to capture the moment, whilst Renee's singing of Korngold and other arias reached out to the valley beyond, through an open door or window, will remain forever in my heart, as very special, 'Korngolden' moments!






























CHRISTMAS HOMECOMING


Wipe your feet and just walk in
Everything's where it's always been.
Flames in the hearth, candles lit,
Pull over the chair where you always sit.

Take off your shoes, warm your toes,
There's love in your heart, the sparkle shows.
Making a wish as you close your eyes,
May it come true by early sunrise!



Maureen Walsh  December 24th 2010 ©



I would like to wish all those and their families, who pop in and out, now and then, to have a peak at how my mind is working, a very Happy, Safe Christmas and a very Peaceful New Year!







Ciao for Now!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

CHRISTMAS CRACKERS, CHILDREN AND CAROLS



I might be shot for saying this, but I just love this weather. Ok I know it creates dangerous driving conditions, slippery pavements and some difficulty for feeding livestock, but isn't that really more about our inaction in dealing with such uncustomary wintry conditions. I love the extremes of hot sunshine on the one hand and below freezing temperatures on the other. 





As a drama teacher, this time of the year is spent putting together concerts, Nativity and Christmas playlets. I am hugely fortunate to work in the National School at Lisvernane in the Glen of Aherlow, nestling at the foot of the Galtee Mountains. There is something so special about this school, its teachers and its pupils. From one window, the Galtees are staring straight at you, and from another, the Church across the road exudes a welcoming benevolence. I enjoy the most magnificent drive to and from that village, through the Glen of Aherlow, every week, and the last two weeks have been especially magical. I have pulled over the car on several occasions to marvel at some 'cracking' pictures, fishing for my camera, that now goes absolutely everywhere with me, in an attempt to catch the wintry light and shadows. Want to share some of those 'Christmas Crackers' with you.



Maestro





Highlighted





Snow Snakes





Spotted





Behold






Thirsting






Not Far





Iced






Broken But Perfect





Poplar Freeze





Picture This





Oceanic Sky





Ups and Downs


Speaking of 'Christmas crackers' ... they were invented by Thomas J. Smith of London in 1847. He created his crackers as a development of his bon-bon sweets, which he sold in a twist of paper. As sales of bon-bons slumped, Smith began to come up with new promotional ideas. His first tactic was to insert mottos into the wrappers of the sweets. He was then inspired to add the 'crackle' element, when he heard the crackle of a log he had just put on the fire. The size of the paper wrapper had to be increased to incorporate the banger mechanism and the sweet itself was eventually dropped, to be replaced by a small gift. The elements of the modern day cracker, such as gifts, paper hats etc were introduced by Tom's son, Walter Smith. Now a few shots of some that are most likely to enjoy pulling Christmas crackers!



 In shock.





We are family!





He's Behind You!





Gosh ... the bus is late!




Save Me!





Hmmm!


Some playful 'strawberry moments' with my nieces and nephew, Grace, Summer and Kian during a recent visit to Crewe. I consider myself so so lucky to spend such a large amount of time with children. During the last week, two junior infant pupils became distraught; one little boy because he had bumped into a little girl, who threatened to tell the teacher on him, and another little girl, who had lost her cardigan. Both were almost inconsolable! I thought my heart would break! When I see the very real tears and the gasping for breath, the excitement surrounding the tooth fairy and the wonder in their eyes at the mention of Baby Jesus and Santa, I am reminded of how significant the 'small things' are to them! They teach me more than I could ever share with them!

I become quite tetchy, when I hear people say Christmas is a time for children. It is a time for EVERYONE!!! I love decorating the house, baking, the smell of spices and herbs, and Christmas Eve isn't the same, if I don't get to sing Christmas carols at mass. I would like to share my favourite Christmas carol 'O Holy Night' or 'Cantique de Noel', composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem 'Minuit Chretiens (Midnight Christians), by Placide Cappeau (1808-1877)., a wine merchant and poet, who was asked by a parish priest to write a Christmas poem. This glorious piece is performed here by Leontyne Price.





Mary Violet Leontyne Price was born in 1927, and raised in the segregated Deep South of America. She was the first African-American to become the Prima Donna at the Metropolitan Opera. Quite extraordinary!

Now it is Christmas!!!




Ciao for now!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

DIS-EASE OF MAN - THE NEW SILENCE




Is it really any wonder that people feel uneasy at the moment; that somehow things have spiralled out of control; out of trust. Not only are we trapped in the mire of financial uncertainty that seems to be affecting not only Ireland, but much of Europe, if not most of the globe, we are being forced to witness, through more easily accessible worldwide communication, one despicable human rights violation after another, and there seems to be damn all the ordinary man on the street can do about it. As stated in previous blogs, it would seem that as the hierarchies of Government, Church, Banking and Financial Institutions failed miserably, and in such quick succession, there is now a real sense of DIS-EASE within society, which has somehow gone past the point of words. They are tired and worn out! A new kind of SILENCE is being born! Most of the chaos around us, and the feelings that provokes, might stem from an almost subconsious layering, fusing and engraving of historical circumstance over centuries, which perhaps, on the face of it, would seem to have very little to do with a 21st psyche.

IS MAN, AS ONE ESSENTIAL INDIVIDUAL, A PART OF THE COMPLETE ESSENCE OF SOCIETY, AND A PRODUCT OF IT'S  COLLECTIVE MEMORY?





These recent thoughts inspired this poem.



DIS-EASE


Clouds on glass, over others slide,
Lighter, moving faster, in quick succession.
A pox upon tango-knitted proxy,
Set on fire by the sun god's inspection.

A violin moans, but he cannot see,
The artist or the bow.
Wind cannot whistle through steel-frozen ribs,
Dis-eased, Historied ... Smelt him now!

Beware of the beast lurking deep in the shadows,
Won't bore you, or gore, but eyeballs to shame.
In disguise; mixing Medusa with Minotaur ...
Divinity sabotages Lucifer's grains.

A puppet of any age, Man flails at brink
Of new silence; doesn't realize his fate,
Rests, not upon the factory job,
But the Battle beyond the Gate.







Maureen Walsh   -  December 2010 ©


I JUST HOPE THAT THIS DIS-EASE DOESN'T CEMENT ITSELF IN APATHY AND HOPELESSNESS!


'Hear Me Out' is about missed opportunities and misunderstandings. It is written, composed, arranged, played and sung by Canadian singer, Sarah Slean.

Find more artists like Sarah Slean at Myspace Music


I am a firm believer, that most things are 'PUTTABLE-RIGHTABLE'! Of course there has to be a volition for change and mediation. APATHY and HOPELESSNESS thwart that process



Thank God Christmas is coming and the hopefully the goose is getting fat!








Ciao for now!