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As a Canadian looking in on Europe I'm not sure I don't see the society surrounding Flynn exemplified in the music. Like a Doris Lessing novel, which I can hardly bear to read due to its omnipresent burden of hopelessness, I sense a gigantic nullity expressed in the music: that life is pointless, nasty brutish and short. Dare I say I hear the green fields of England turned bleak and shabby, gone from full colour to a grayscale image? Do I hear the roar of countless lilliputian cars on endless freeways scuttling like roaches to pointless destinations? Do I hear the mumblings of a tale told by a robot, full of petrol and binary code, signifying zilch? The four movements describe different parts of the combat at Wexford, but do so in a manner which does not differentiate much between warfare and exhaustion, apprehension and relief [listen -- track 3, 0:00-1:00].

Now awful this may all be. Terrible and depressing too. But, if that is what was aimed at, if that is what is at the core and if that is a reality for some in post-Thatcherite (yes, even now a decade after she quit the stage) England, then the composer has succeeded in expressing it. We may not like it, but if it is real, we should face it.

I¹ve not seen England, though I've dreamt it often in lyrics by poets and composers. I do not know if England is now bleak. It may be. Certainly to read some of its more recent poets and novelists, watch some of the more recent films, listen to some recent music, the country is an exhausted wreck, poisoned to its innards and rotting without. If it is so, or even if it appears so to some people, then Hugh Flynn has captured that effectively and that deserves our respect and recognition.

Perhaps some future anti-ravers will take up this work and use it to tune themselves back to transcendental reality and fairy tales. I do not know... [listen, track 4, 8:35-9:41]

Copyright © 20 October 2001 Gordon Rumson, Calgary, Alberta, Canada






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