As storms off The Great Lakes approach, perhaps, to cloud an April sky, I am reminded of a critique we followers were asked to write around a year ago…..
A Gibb composition, taking me back, to honor my maternal grandparents. Like so many, immigrants to America, via New York, in the early years of the last century. My relation, luckier than those poor souls on board this grand ship, immortalized inThe Requiem.
My father’s Quaker ancestors proud to have arrived here from England, a few hundred years after the Mayflower. A puritanical, good-hearted bunch. In my mother’s case, her parents with memories of loneliness and fear, not inclined to speak of the dire circumstances that drove them here, not so long ago.
My grandfather from Dalmatia on the Adriatic Sea, the youngest son, sent to bring back the gold he would find on the streets of New York. Arriving as an adolescent, still a boy, it is said he cried for a day, never to do so again. For he encountered, not riches, but poverty and discrimination. Michael would not see his Serbian family again.
My grandmother, even younger, traveling with her sister from the Region of Poznan, as nursemaid to her nieces. Sailing on board the Batavia, west from Hamburg, fleeing a twentieth century persecution of sorts. Unsure of the perils which might lie ahead, separated forever from her mother and father. Leaving her beloved Poland.
(Anna (Milli) Radeka and her daughter Sophie, My Mom)
Listening to the introductory movements in this classical debut, I am captivated by the excitement of the preparation. Embarking on a great luxury liner, the sensation of the ocean beneath me, navigating my way through the history. Bidding farewell, leaving my roots behind.
Enchanted, leading me to imagine my grandparents, Michael and Anna, brave and resilient, looking toward a brighter future.
Unlike those unfortunate third class passengers, destined to go down with The Titanic….Knowing their story, once landed; coal mining, the Great Depression, riding the rails and losing children. Within this struggle, my parents met as idealists. Involved in organizing a union for auto workers, heralding a more prosperous existence for those that followed.
Certainly, one cannot have knowledge of American history and ignore the consequences of the European influx. Overtaking the Native Americans and their way of honoring the earth. However, rumored to be somewhat Odawa through my father, musically, I have been given good cause to remember.
My predominantly Euro American side did not come for the spoils, instead, to share in the promise of a young nation. My Mom and Dad from a generation with pride in Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and their more democratic view of the world. Class, race and politics, complicated in the Americas
A complex dream, paid tribute
Expressed so magnificently, through the centuries, this Robin Gibb and RJ Gibb collaboration. Embraced from west of the Major City of New York!