Friday, August 21, 2009

Lament for Lockerbie


Lament for Lockerbie - Threnody, December '88 was conceived by the Scottish composer Gordon Lawson as a spontaneous reaction to the disaster which destroyed both the small Scottish town and Pan Am flight 103. Scored for strings and based on the hymn Dundee by Charles Wesley, Lament for Lockerbie was premiered in its final form in 1991. The ten minute tonal Threnody is both accessible and very moving with its hints of English pastoralism and early Tippett, and the arch-like structure of the work is reminiscent of that greatest of twentieth-century laments, Richard Strauss' Metamorphosen.

As I write Lament for Lockerbie plays on the CD seen above, which was released in 2000 by the composer. Sadly the disc seems to have disappeared completely from the catalogue, and there is little biographical information on Gordon Lawson available other than in the CD booklet. As the furore over the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi resounds on both sides of the Atlantic, Gordon Lawson's sleeve note from nine years ago is strangely prophetic.
As the soloist's melismas descend, the tension slackens, but the resignation hoped for in the final D major chord is influenced by some added notes, as if to suggest that the tragedy will never really be obliterated from the memory.
A requiem for eleven victims of a different tragedy here.
A personal connection. When the Lockerbie tragedy happened we were living in Scotland 75 miles north of where the Pan Am jet crashed. The 21st December 1988 was a wild, wet and windy night and I was actually driving north of the crash site returning from a business function when the disaster occured. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

5 comments:

Pliable said...

Email received:

I knew one of the three Canadians on the Lockerbie flight (and a colleague of mine at the time at the CBC knew another of the three). She went to high school with me. A brilliant ‘cellist and poet. Such a terrible loss. I still don’t know how I feel about the compassionate release for Abdel Baset al-Megrahi. There is some rumbling that he was a scapegoat—that he wasn’t an actual bomber. Who knows. All I know is I lost a friend.

Cheers

David Cavlovic

Christopher Ronk said...

I cannot know how you feel David, but I am happy that you haven't let your hate take over.

I for one am very moved by Scotland's decision to release this dying man.

I understand the outrage and I know this must have been a very difficult decision, but this compassion is something we can all learn from.

Pliable said...

Christopher, what wise words.

Thank you.

Pliable said...

Email received:

From my own experience, I have discovered that hate is a waste of time and energy. Anger can be useful, but should never be all encompassing. Once you realize that anger often arises from situations not within your control, then anger will be short lived. Why should one waste time over something one has no control over?

Cheers

David Cavlovic

Pliable said...

'Why should one waste time over something one has no control over?' - interestingly, that pretty well sums up Buddhism in one sentence.