Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Buddy

I’m fully aware that Bach, Beethoven and Brahms don’t often feature in the annals of the Footy Almanac. I wonder why?

Last night we went to a concert at the City Recital Hall in Sydney. Compared to the number of times I visited London’s classical music venues in the seventies, yesterday’s concert was a rare event. I’d normally rather sit at home listening to CD’s, without the unexpected cough or the shuffling or tapping of feet from the people around me.

The performance included what is known to be “Beethoven’s Favourite”, one of his late string quartets. It is also one of my favourites. Sitting in the front row of an near-packed house – the Australian Chamber Orchestra members almost within touching distance – I found myself transported into that state where unexplained emotions take over.

In my aware moments, I found myself asking how anyone could possibly write music, let alone such powerful stuff, whilst not being able to hear it! Not subsequently, but whilst writing it? Beyond my comprehension!

And then, I found myself thinking of Buddy Franklin! For some reason, in those fleeting seconds, I must have been thinking of a sporting analogy – a person whose “genius” can invoke such awe-inspiring moments. Buddy, tall, elegant, turning and twisting from 60 metres out, just appeared in my vision.

Sport and music obviously have much in common, but I don’t think classical music would be high on the list of most sports people, or sports lovers. And judging on the audience last night, I wonder how long it will be before the great composers of their time will be a fading memory. A bit like Test Cricket, really. Just about everyone in attendance last night was old ! I noticed maybe a handful of young ones – as you do at the Tests and Shield games – and as we walked home in the balmy Sydney night, I felt like an ancient, alien species.

I went to bed wondering whether Bach, Beethoven and Brahms will outlast cricket. I even dreamt of Schubert (for heaven’s sake). Why Schubert? And Buddy also came into my dream – as a modern day Beethoven! I found myself wandering through the alleyways in Vienna, searching for Mozart, wondering what antics he was up to, and when I was invited to one his debauched parties, there he was again – that man Buddy!

What eventually woke me from my dream, which had in fact turned into a nightmare by this time, was Lance, sitting alongside Mozart at the piano, all dressed up in his Hawthorn No 23 guernsey!!

Beethoven Buddy

Beethoven Buddy

About Jan Courtin

A Bloods tragic since first game at Lake Oval in 1948. Moved interstate to Sydney to be closer to beloved Swans in 1998. My book "My Lifelong Love Affair with the Swans" was launched by the Swans at their headquarters at the SCG in August 2016.


  1. jan courtin says

    The following Comment appeared last night 23/11, but had disappeared by this morning!
    It said:
    “Bach, Beethoven, The Beatles, Brahms, and Buddy would be a pretty handy goal-to-goal line.”

    Sure would!

    If we added Bartok, Barber, Bliss, Berlioz,Borodin, Bernstein, Bruch, Britten, Bellini, Barber and Benjamin it would leave us about six short of a team.

    Are there any classical music lovers out there who can add to the team?

    Are there any classical music lover at all, on the Almanac?

  2. Don’t forget Bloch! And there are lots of Bach children, including Karl Phillip Emmanuel, and several others!
    I don’t think you will find many Almanackers who share your tastes in music, but it would be good to hear from those (if any) who do.

  3. Crotchets, minims and quavers
    Made Chopin and Bach the saviours
    Of classical music and great operaretti
    Just like Telleman and Monteverdi!

    Piano sonatas and string quartets
    Go so well with coffee and baguettes
    But waltzes and violin concerto’s
    Are rarely linked with beer and burritos!

    Ah, but quartets and Bach’s praeludes
    Cause harmony and break up feuds
    Whilst symphonies and the bagatelle
    Are regularly not heard at the AFL!!

  4. jan courtin says

    At last, some REAL music lovers!! And clever ones at that!

    Great poem, Jude. And thanks Marcel

  5. Earl O'Neill says

    Though deaf, Ludwig could feel the vibration of the piano and that enabled him to compose.
    Beatles, Buddy Holly, Byrds, Buddy Franklin.
    Lightning Hopkins, Lou Reed, Love, Lance Franklin.

  6. jan courtin says

    All pretty amazing, Earl. I think anyone who composes music is a “genius”. I can well understand how one can write, paint, play an instrument and perform, but actually writing music – that’s a whole different matter!!

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