Friday, July 12, 2013

Fly Peacock, Fly

On my way into work on Tuesday I was listening to NPR's morning show, Performance Today.  One of the pieces that day was a work I had never heard before, "The Peacock," by the twentieth century Hungarian composer, Zoltan Kodaly.  It is a  theme and variations for orchestra based on an old Hungarian folksong called "Fly Peacock, Fly."  If I remember correctly, the song tells the story of a peacock who visits a prisoner who is longing to be released so that he can be reunited with his love.  Each day the peacock flies to the prisoner's cell and serenades him.  The peacock's song sustains the prisoner in  his ordeal and gives him hope.  When I heard the Kodaly piece I immediately thought of Flannery and how her peafowl must have sustained her during her 13-year bout with lupus.  While the birds themselves might have afforded her some solace, I doubt their shrill cacophony did  - keep in mind that at one time she had as many as 50 of these critters out here.  Still, I think Flannery would have been delighted to know that a composer had written a piece based on the peacock's song (a piece that at the time was as controversial as some of Flannery's own stories). For those interested in hearing how Kodaly set this to music click on the Performance Today website for July 9th.  Fred Child's introduction of the piece is entertaining and worthwhile, too. 
- Mark

No comments: