Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Song of Summer

More vintage Ken Russell. 1968 this time. In addition to the above film Song of Summer (about Frederick Delius and Eric Fenby), between 1959 - 1970 Russell directed many other art documentaries for Monitor and Omnibus. Some of his other works during this period include: Elgar (1962), The Debussy Film (1965), Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World (1967), and Dance of the Seven Veils (1970), a film about Richard Strauss.

Based on Eric Fenby's 1936 memoir 'Delius as I knew him', Song of Summer traces the last years of Frederick Delius, and Fenby's dedication in giving up five years of his life to helping the blind, paralysed composer set down the unfinished scores he could hear in his head. It is an immensely moving story of sacrifice, idealism and musical genius. Ken Russell once said that the best film he ever made was Song of Summer, and that he would not edit a single shot. I am inclined to agree, although I have not yet seen all his films.

Anyway, all this talk of Delius and with the January days lengthening slowly, is an opportunity to post his masterpiece On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring. I thought I saw a cuckoo in a tree out on the fens yesterday, but with it's peachy coloured chest, it was probably a sparrowhawk. I parked under the tree and prepared my camera. By the time I looked up, it had given a laughing "kek kek kek" like Popeye and flown away. I guess it's not spring quite yet.

By South Utsire

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