Darwin - at the conclusion of "The Origin of Species":
"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved."
- Charles Darwin, 1859.
Two arguments for freedom of expression - and one against it:
"The fundamental difference between the liberal and the illiberal outlook is that the former regards all questions as open to discussion and all opinions as open to a greater or less measure of doubt, while the latter holds in advance that certain opinions are absolutely unquestionable, and that no argument against them must be allowed to be heard. What is curious about this position is the belief that if impartial investigation were permitted it would lead men to the wrong conclusion, and that ignorance is, therefore, the only safeguard against error. This point of view is one which cannot be accepted by any man who wishes reason rather than prejudice to govern human action." - Bertrand Russell.
"Every South African cannot go out and buy every new book and read it to decide if he will like it. Now we have a body that can do it for him. We study the book and tell him if he will like it or not."
- Judge J.H. Snyman (SA Censorship Board) 1978.
"I cannot praise a fugitive and cloister'd vertue, unexercis'd and unbreath'd, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race, where the immortall garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat. That which purifies us is triall, and triall is by what is contrary."
- John Milton, 1644, in "Areopagitica - speech for the liberty of unlicenc'd printing."
Tom Phillips RA, on African art, in the exhibition "Africa: The Art of a Continent" (at which McGregor Museum engravings and a handaxe featured):
"This is what used to be called Primitive Art, a term later rather sheepishly modified to Tribal Art. Those with long memories will remember that Giotto and his immediate predecessors used to be called the Italian Primitives. It is our defensive word to describe any art that is in fact too sophisticated for our present appreciation or too learned in its own fashion for our present understanding."
At a young age I became beguiled by a recording by Campoli of Erno Dohnanyi's Opus 32C, "Ruralia Hungarica" for violin and piano. On the flip side of the LP was a pair of Caprices by Paganini, together with an arrangement of La Campanella. There were many other records with which I was soon familiar in my parents' not inconsiderable collection - which ranged from Bach, Beethoven and Boccherini to Gilbert and Sullivan, and with lighter stuff including Noel Coward, Bill Williams and the Beatles.
The collection began to be augmented with my own selections - of Handel, Haydn, Mendelssohn, and much more. One's musical life is a kind of journey. The violin was my grandmother's instrument, and that of my ancestor, the eccentric eighteenth century performer and composer Giovanni Giornovichi/Ivan Jarnovic (several recordings of whose concertos and other works we now possess). [see www.stpetersburg.itgo.com] The violin remains a favourite for me - though, alas, I do not play it. The Bartok, Prokofiev and Dyson concertos, as well as Viotti's and Vieuxtemps', are amongst those recordings more recently acquired, joining the Beethoven and the Brahms on our CD shelf. Piano concertos include the Poulenc, Shostakovich, John Ireland, and, again, Bartok. Recently I have added further works by Dohnanyi; also Weill ("Die Dreigroschenoper" and other compositions); Prokofiev's "Cantata" inspired by the October Revolution but with its dark musical commentary on Stalin's Russia. Matthias's symphonic and organ compositions. Mahler's massive symphonies. Other recent purchases are the symphonies and other works of Parry and Stanford which complement recordings of their perhaps better known choral works for cathedral choirs.
With my brother Michael I became a chorister, singing treble in the St Cyprian's Cathedral Choir in Kimberley, at first under John Clayton and then Glynnis Matthew - later with Nico Bester, Mike Skipper, Peter Black, Owen Franklin. (Years on, I met Noeleen in the choir, and our son Jonathan now sings bass in the choir). In Cape Town I sang in the choir at St Michael and All Angels in Observatory, under Deon Irish where the repertoire extended from standard Anglican Mass and Office settings (Darke in F was one of my favourites; as also T.T. Noble's B minor evening Canticles) to the smaller Masses of Haydn and Mozart (with strings). In Kimberley under Owen Franklin we performed, inter alia, Faure's Requiem. Anglican psalm singing can be a slog, but, with a little effort, is quite magical.