Sonya Lifschitz & Robert Davidson Brisbane, Australia

Sonya Lifschitz' bold adventurousness & unparalleled musicianship, described as “a life force of extraordinary density and capacity” see her active as soloist, collaborator, artistic director, educator, radio personality and arts advocate.

Robert Davidson has been making music from language since childhood. With his ensemble Topology he explores a wide range of cross-genre collaboration.
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Track Name: Bertolt Brecht
Robert Stripling: Mr. Brecht, is it true that you have written a number of very revolutionary poems, plays, and other writings?
Brecht: I have written a number of poems and songs and plays in the fight against Hitler and, of course, they can be considered, therefore, as revolutionary because I, of course, was for the overthrow of that government.
Thomas: Mr. Stripling, we are not interested in any works that he might have written advocating the overthrow of Germany or the government there.
Stripling: Yes, I understand. Well, from an examination of the works which Mr. Brecht has written, particularly in collaboration with Mr. Hanns Eisler, he seems to be a person of international importance to the Communist revolutionary movement… I would like to ask Mr. Brecht whether or not he wrote a poem-a song, rather-entitled, "Forward, We've Not Forgotten."
McDowell: "Forward" what?
Stripling: "Forward, We've Not Forgotten." our union in hunger and pain, no matter what may threaten, forward, we've not forgotten We have a world to gain. We shall free the world of shadow; every shop and every room, every road and every meadow, All the world will be our own. Did you write that, Mr. Brecht?
Brecht: No. I wrote a German poem, but that is very different from this. (Laughter.)
Stripling: Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party of any country?
Brecht: Mr. Chairman, I have heard my colleagues when they considered this question not as proper, but I am a guest in this country and do not want to enter into any legal arguments, so I will answer your question fully as well I can. I was not a member, or am not a member, of any Communist Party.
Thomas: Your answer is, then, that you have never been a member of the Communist Party?
Brecht: That is correct.
Track Name: Sun, space and green (Le Corbusier)
I am a young man of 71 years old. I’ve built my first house at the age of 17 ½ – was very soon – and have continued during more than fifty years, occupied with many adventures and difficulties and catastrophes and from time to time success.

My research is like my feeling, directed towards what is the principal value in life: the poetry. Poetry is in the heart of man and is the capacity to go into the richness of nature. I am a visual man a man working with eyes and hands. My cities are living cities. My houses give sun, space and green but, to obtain such richness of life (sun space and green), you must take 2000 people together build a big house with one entrance only for 2000 people, so they will be quickly in their own home, where they will find silence and total solitude, though they are 2000 together. Well, it is possible to have one vertical road, that is: four rapid lifts. And that is now this big task facing us: occupation of the ground by human labour. The first industrial era began one hundred years ago and it was an age of chaos. The second industry era will be the era of harmony, and is only just beginning, The whole world is ready: open their eyes and their ears, and all things are now fluid.
Track Name: Free architecture (Frank Lloyd Wright)
Wallace: I would like specifically, to know what you mean, how would you like to change the way that we live?
Wright: I would like to make it appropriate to the Declaration of Independence, to the centre line of our freedom; I'd like to have a free architecture, I'd like to have architecture that belonged where you see it standing, and as a grace to the landscape instead of a disgrace. And the letters we receive from our clients tell us how those buildings we built for them, have changed the character of their whole lives and their whole existence. And it's different now than it was before. Well, I'd like to do that for the country.
Wallace: When you come to New York, as you did today. And you see... Did you come by air?
Wright: Yes. I came by air.
Wallace: And you see the skyline of New York, this does not excite you, this does not exalt you in any manner?
Wright: Quite so.
Wallace: It does not?
Wright: It does not. Because it never was planned, it is all a race for rent, and it is a great monument, I think, to the power of money and greed trying to substitute money for ideas. I don't see an idea in the whole thing anywhere. Do you? Where is the idea in it? What's the idea?
Wallace: The idea is obviously, as it would seem to me, that a lot of people want to live together, as you point out, to make their livings, to make money, to... to enjoy what this large city has to offer. And I guess from time immemorial people have flocked more or less to one spot to exchange ideas as well as goods.
Wright: But my dear Mike, there was a justification for that. When there was no other means of communication than by personal contact. That's when the plans for this city you are living in now originated, it originated back there in the middle ages when the only way you could have a culture, the only way you could get social distinction or any education from it was by ganging up.
Track Name: General what about if the...(JFK & Eisenhower)
President Kennedy: General, what about if the Soviet Union – Khrushchev –announces tomorrow, which I think he will, that if we attack Cuba that it's going to be nuclear war? And what's your judgment as to the chances they'll fire these things off if we invade Cuba?
Eisenhower: Oh, I don't believe that they will.
Kennedy: You don't think they will?
Eisenhower: No.
Kennedy: In other words you would take that risk if the situation seemed desirable?
Eisenhower: Well, as a matter of fact, what can you do?
Kennedy: Yeah.
Eisenhower: If this thing is such a serious thing, here on our flank, that we're going to be uneasy and we know what thing is happening now. All right, you've got to use something.
Kennedy: Yeah.
Eisenhower: Something may make these people shoot them off. I just don't believe this will.
President Kennedy: Yeah, right.
Eisenhower: In any event, of course, I'll say this: I'd want to keep my own people very alert.
Kennedy: Yeah. Well, we'll hang on tight.
Eisenhower: Yes, sir.
Kennedy: Thanks a lot, General.
Eisenhower: All right. Thank you.
Track Name: Sweet spring (E. E. Cummings)
“sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love

(all the merry little birds are
flying in the floating in the
very spirits singing in
are winging in the blossoming)

lovers go and lovers come
awandering awondering
but any two are perfectly
alone there's nobody else alive

(such a sky and such a sun
i never knew and neither did you
and everybody never breathed
quite so many kinds of yes)

not a tree can count his leaves
each herself by opening
but shining who by thousands mean
only one amazing thing

(secretly adoring shyly
tiny winging darting floating
merry in the blossoming
always joyful selves are singing)

sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love”
Track Name: The art of agony (Percy Grainger)
Wayne Howell: To what would you attribute your... the warmth and the naturalness of your music?
Percy Grainger: Well, I don't know that my music is consistently warm and natural, but I think the impression that it's ah, what was it, cheerful? Comes from people not knowing the most of my compositions for I think I'm very morose, musically.
Howell: You suppose they're misinterpreting you like you said before?
Grainger: Well they know one piece out of twenty, and that one piece happens to be lively and they like that, they ignore the other nineteen as they generally do with most music.
Howell: Well, you don't actually feel morose you, you simply...
Grainger: Yes, I do
Howell: You do? You enjoy feeling sad?
Grainger: I enjoy it very much
Howell: Ha ha! well I think that’s wonderful. I mean, if you enjoy being sad, you should be honest…
Grainger: Well, it isn’t a question of whether I enjoy it so much only, but I think music is the art of agony. Music is after all derived from screaming; it’s not derived from laughing.
Howell: Right, from screaming, that I…
Grainger: Well, when you think most music originated in trying to placate hostile deities
Howell: Well, certainly, of course
Like the Chinese banging a gong in a storm, and, ah, screaming with fear and screaming in supplication are not so very far removed, and music is of course the child of all that. I think the best thing for a composer is to be badly treated in every way.
Track Name: On Stalin's orders
A composer to be badly treated in every way was Shostakovich. During Stalin’s purges, when disobedience very often meant death or the gulag, government decree dictated what was good art, acceptable art. Stalin attended Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District on 26 January 1936 in Moscow. The next day, the state newspaper Pravda’s editorial condemned Shostakovich’s music as anti-Soviet ugliness. “The ability of good music to enthral the masses,” it read, “has been sacrificed on the altar of petit-bourgeois formalism. This is playing at abstruseness - and such games can only finish badly." Shostakovich feared for his life. His opera was immediately withdrawn and he never composed another.

One of Shostakovich’s staunchest defenders was his friend the pianist Maria Yudina. Many of her closest friends lost to the Gulag labour camps or worse, Yudina was defiant to the core, wearing her cross very visibly, championing the most adventurous blacklisted works, and reading banned poets like Boris Pasternak and Nikolai Zabolotsky in her concerts. But she was Stalin’s favourite pianist.

In Shostakovich's words [From Shostakovich, Testimony]
"In his final years … Stalin didn’t let anyone in to see him for days at a time. He listened to the radio a lot. Once Stalin called the Radio Committee, where the administration was, and asked if they had a record of Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 23, which had been heard on the radio the day before. “Played by Yudina,” he added. They told Stalin that of course they had. Actually, there was no record, the concert had been live. But they were afraid to say no to Stalin."

После взятия власти нашей партией в 1917 году и после того, как партия предприняла реальные меры по ликвидации капиталистического и помещичьего гнета, представители братских партий, восхищаясь отвагой и успехами нашей партии, присвоили ей звание “Ударной бригады” мирового революционного и рабочего движения.

After the seizure of power by our Party in 1917,
and after our Party took real measures to eliminate the yoke of capitalists and landlords, the representatives of the' fraternal parties, inspired by our daring and the success of our Party, gave it the name "Shock Brigade" of the revolutionary movement and the workers' movement of the world.

[Testimony excerpt continues]:
"Stalin demanded that they send the record with Yudina’s performance of the Mozart to his dacha. The committee panicked, but they had to do something. They called in Yudina and an orchestra and recorded that night. Everyone was shaking with fright, except for Yudina, naturally. Yudina later told me that they had to send the conductor home, he was so scared he couldn’t think. They called another conductor, who trembled and got everything mixed up, confusing the orchestra. Only a third conductor was in any shape to finish the recording. Anyway, the record was ready by morning. They made one single copy and sent it to Stalin. They say that her recording of the Mozart was on the record player when the leader and teacher was found dead in his dacha. I was the last thing he had listened to."
Track Name: Maria Yudina (Baba Yaga)
Избушка на курьих ножках - баба яга.
The Hut on Fowl's Legs - Baba Yaga.

Всегда и во всех сказках, баба яга появляется как носительница зла.
Always, in all the fairy tales, Baba Yaga appears as a carrier of evil.

И если не всегда преследуемые ею люди или добрые духи погибают,
And if it is not always that the good people or good spirits she pursues perish,

то есть, если им удаётся выйти из её ужасающих, цепких преследованний,
in other words, if they succeed in escaping her horrid clutches of persecution,

так или иначе баба яга неуклонно всё путает, всему мешает, всему вредит,
one way or another Baba Yaga inevitably confuses everything, obstructs everything, harms everything,

и не приведи Господь повстречаться с ней.
And God forbid to cross path with her.

From Shostakovich, Testimony
Yudina received an envelope with twenty thousand rubles. She was told it came on the express orders of Stalin. Then she wrote him a letter. I know about this letter from her, and I know that the story seems improbable; Yudina had many quirks, but I can say this—she never lied. I’m certain that her story is true. Yudina wrote something like this in her letter: “I thank you Iosif Vissarionovich, for your aid. I will pray for you day and night and ask the Lord to forgive your great sins before the people and the country. The Lord is merciful and He’ll forgive you. I gave the money to the church that I attend.”
Track Name: Stooping to drink (David Malouf)
Smelling the sweet grass
of distant hills, too steep
to climb, to far to see
in this handful of water
scooped from the river dam.

Touching the sky where like
a single wing my hand
dips through clouds. Tasting
the shadow of basket-willows,
the colour of ferns.

A perch, spoon-coloured, climbs
where the moon sank, trailing
bubbles of white,
and school kids on picnics
swing from a rope - head

over sunlit heels like angels
they plunge into the sun
at midday, into silence
of pinewoods hanging over
a sunken hill-farm.

Taking all this in
at the lips, holding it
in the cup of my hand.
And further down the hiss
of volcanoes, rockfall

and hot metals cooling
in blueblack depths a hundred
centuries back.
Taking all this in
as the water takes it: sky

sunlight, sweet grass-flavours
and the long-held breath
of children - a landscape
mirrored, held a moment,
and let go again
Track Name: Joseph Goebbels
Die Masse ist an sich Rohstoff. Sie zu gestalten und aus ihr jene Kräfte herauszuholen, die Systeme stürzen und neue Welten aufbauen, wird die erste und vornehmste Aufgabe jeder staatsmännischen Begabung sein. Auch der wahre Politiker ist im letzten Sinne des Wortes ein Künstler. So, wie der Bildhauer den rohen Marmor abzirkelt, behaut und meißelt, so formt der Staatsmann aus dem rohen Stoff Masse, ein Volk, gibt ihm ein inneres Gerippe und ein haltendes Gefüge und bläht im dann jenen schöpferischen Odem ein, der das Volk zur Kulturnation emporwachsen lässt. Wir Nationalsozialisten sind keine Handwerker der Politik, wir sehen in den Tagesfragen und Tagesnöten zwar einen Teil der uns obliegenden Sorgen, aber darüber steht doch ein Wille und darunter liegt eine Idee die Tagesfragen und Tagesnöten, erst den echten Sinn und auch die einzige Lösungsmöglichkeit geben.

The mass is in itself a raw material. To shape them and to bring them out of those forces that overthrow systems and build new worlds will be the first and most important task of any statesman's talent. Even the true politician is, in the last sense, an artist. Just as the sculptor raked, chiselled, and chiselled the raw marble, the stateman formed from the raw material, a people, gave him an inner skeleton and a holding structure, and then puffed in that creative breath which led the people to cultivation Growth. We national socialists are not artisans of politics; we see in the questions of the day and the day a part of the worries that concern us, but there is a will, and there is an idea of the day's questions and the necessaries of the day, first the real sense and the only solution.
Track Name: Deutsche hörer! (Thomas Mann)
Deutsche Hörer! Dem, der heute wieder zu euch spricht, war es vergönnt im Laufe seines nun schon langen Lebens für das geistige Ansehen Deutschlands einiges zu tun. Ich bin dankbar dafür, aber ich habe kein Recht mich dessen zu Rühmen, denn es war Fügung und lag nicht in meiner Absicht. Kein Künstler tun sein Werk, um den Ruhm seines Landes und Volkes zu mehren. Die Quelle der Produktivität ist das individuelle Gewissen. Wir Deutsche dürften ja heute mein Werk nicht danken, auch wenn ihr wolltet, sei es darum. Es wurde nicht um euret Willen, sondern aus eigenster Not getan. Aber etwas ist, dass wirklich um euret Willen, aus sozialem und nicht aus privatem Gewissen geschah, und täglich werde ich gewisser, dass die Zeit kommen wird und schon näher kommt, wo ihr es mir danken und es mir höher anrechnen werdet als meine Geschichtenbücher. Das ist, dass ich euch warnte, als es noch nicht zu spät war, vor den verworfenen Mächten, in deren Joch ihr heute hilflos geschirrt seid, und die euch durch tausend Untaten in ein unvorstellbares Verderben führen. Ich kannte sich, ich wusste, dass nichts als Katastrophen und Elend für Deutschland und für Europa aus ihrem unsäglich niederträchtigen Wesen erwachsen könnten, während die Mehrzahl von Euch in heut gewiss schon für euch selbst unfassbarer Verblendung sie für die Bringer von Ordnung, Schönheit und nationaler Würde hielt.

If I had the good fortune, in the course of my long life, to contribute my share to the cultural prestige of Germany, I am grateful for that, but I have no right to boast about it, for Providence, and not my intention, was responsible for it. No artist does his work in order to augment the glory of his country and his people. The source of this productivity is the individual conscience, and while the sympathy which the product arouses may benefit the nation upon whose language and tradition it is based, this benefit is mostly accidental, and I am therefore not entitled to your gratitude. You Germans would not be allowed to show gratitude for my work even if you wanted to. So be it ! It was not done for your sake, but out of innermost necessity. However, there is something which I have done for your sake, out of my social, not my private conscience, and my conviction grows daily that the time will come, and is already approaching, when you will be grateful for it and appreciate it more than my story-books: it is that I warned you, when there was still time, to beware of the vile powers in whose yoke you are helplessly harnessed today, and which lead you to unimaginable ruin by a thousand misdeeds. I knew these powers; I realised that nothing but catastrophe and misery for Germany and for Europe could emanate from their indescribably vicious nature, while the majority of you, victims of a delusion which already must be incomprehensible to you, expected from them order, beauty, and national honour.
Track Name: Ai Wei Wei & Mao
Mao (from Mao Tse Tung on Literature and Art, third edition. Beijing: Foreign Language Press, 1967)

“wrong styles of work still exist to a serious extent in our literary and art circles and that there are still many defects among our comrades, such as idealism, dogmatism, empty illusions, empty talk, contempt for practice and aloofness from the masses, all of which call for an effective and serious campaign of rectification.”…

”If, living among the new masses, some comrades, as I said before, are still "lacking in knowledge and understanding" and remain "heroes with no place to display their prowess", then difficulties will arise for them, and not only when they go out to the villages; right here in Yenan difficulties will arise for them.”

Ai Wei Wei (from re:publica 2013: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Republica_2013_-_Ai_Weiwei.ogv)

I think because freedom of expression has so much to do with art creativity or art activities, so we often have to be, we’re often being pushed to the position we have to respond to the situation, which is very political, and every day all our struggles are somehow associated with this kind of effort. As artists, of course, we want to improve our situation which means independent thinking and freedom of expression and communication, so by doing that, we become very political. And the Communist society, the most powerful thing for them is trying blocking people to share information and to communicate about their feelings.
Track Name: Arthur Boyd
So, um, I think that what happens with paintings, it… Painting’s a very ragged business, it’s not, ah…it has no neatness in it. And the meanings are very arbitrary, always…painting could be just about, be about anything at all, whereas in a way you can’t write about just about anything; what the words you say just have certain meanings, although they’re certainly very fuzzy, and you can be tricked completely by what people say, but on the whole, words have precise meanings. Whereas there’s nothing in painting that is precise, it’s just you get good and bad writing, but it’s always precise. It’s precisely bad, it’s precisely good, whereas in painting it’s just not the same at all. It has meaning for a lot of people, and no meaning for other people, or awful for some, rotten for others, so you never get it right.
Track Name: Out of the blue (Jackson Pollock & Gough Whitlam)
Wright: Well, Mr. Pollock, can you tell us how modern art came into being?
Pollock: It didn’t jump out of the blue, it’s a part of a long tradition dating back with Cezanne, up through the Cubists, the post-Cubists, to the painting being done today.
Wright: Then, it’s definitely a product of evolution?
Pollock: Yes.
Wright: Shall we go back to this method question that so many people today think is important? Can you tell us how you developed your method of painting, and why you paint as you do?
Pollock: Method is a natural growth out of a need, and from a need the modern artist has found new ways of expressing the world about him. I happen to find ways that are different from the usual techniques of painting, which seems a little strange at the moment, but I don’t think there’s anything very different about it. The modern artist, it seems to me, is working and expressing an inner world – in other words – expressing the energy, the motion, and other inner forces.
Wright: Would it be possible to say that the classical artist expressed his world by representing the objects, whereas the modern artist expresses his world by representing the effect the objects have upon him}
Pollock: Yes, the modern artist is working with space and time, and expressing his feelings rather than illustrating.

Gough Whitlam: Blue Poles. The purchase was confirmed in The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Telegraph on the 23rd of September '73. The next day the Sun ran the story under the heading '$1.3 Million For Dribs and Drabs'. 'Barefoot Drunks Painted Our $1 Million Masterpiece’.
People refer to Blue Poles not disparagingly now - never! I’m not one to say “I told you so”, but…
Track Name: Robert Helpmann
I am Robert Helpmann, Artistic Director of the Australian Ballet.
I am concerned with ballet and theatre in all its forms
Even as a child, I was always dressing up, from the earliest time I can remember, because my mother used to recite Shakespeare to me when I was in my cot, and I… to go to bed, and she would read Romeo and Juliet and then of course I wouldn’t let her read Romeo and Juliet, because I realised that Juliet was the best part, so I used to read Juliet to her.
And my father was a little bemused by all this because he was a stock and station man and it was a little surprising to him to see his son, his eldest, at that time his only son, parading ‘round the house dressed in whatever came into my fancy. And he went on a business trip to Melbourne when I was fourteen and when he came back, he said “you’re always wanting to be a dancer, and there’s a girl dancing in Melbourne and she’s got a company and I’ve been to see her, and she’d going to take you into the company”. And the next week, I left for Melbourne with my mother, and the “girl” was Anna Pavlova. By the time it dawned on me to try and ask why and how he got into her dressing room and why she took me as a student, both my father and Pavlova had died.

I’m always asked what was the most memorable thing or the most, ah, the performance or production, or… and it’s impossible, really, for me to say, because so many things have been memorable to me. My first appearances with Markova, my first appearances with Fonteyn, my first appearances with Vivian Leigh, and the first time I played Hamlet – all of them. I have a mind that is, it’s very difficult to explain that success means nothing to me, or failure. I think they’re about equal. When I say it means nothing to me; it means everything to me, but when it’s past, I have no sense of feeling “I’m a success”. I have never felt for one minute in my life, “I’m a success”. I feel I’ve accomplished something and that is done, and therefore there is something more to do, and the success or failure of what has passed has passed, and I must go on to something else.
Track Name: Total political correctness (Megyn Kelly & Donald Trump)
Kelly: Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don't use a politician's filter. However, that is not without its downsides, in particular when it comes to women. You've called women you don't like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals. Your Twitter account…
Trump: Only Rosie O'Donnell
Kelly: No it wasn’t. For the record: it was well beyond Rosie O’Donnell.
Trump: Yes, I’m sure it was.
Kelly: Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women’s looks. You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as President? And how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who is likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?
Trump: I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people, and I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And frankly, what I say, and oftentimes it’s fun, it’s kidding, we have a good time. What I say is what I say. And honestly Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry. I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be based on the way you have treated me, but I wouldn’t do that.

I just don’t respect her as a journalist. So I have, you know, she gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions, and you know you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her…wherever…

I think that putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing. I don’t want to sound like a chauvinist, but when I come home and dinner’s not ready I go through the roof, OK? If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her – she does have a very nice figure. Grab ‘em by the pussy. I just don’t respect her.
Track Name: Not now! Not ever! (Julia Gillard)
Thank you very much Deputy Speaker and I rise to oppose the motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition. And in so doing I say to the Leader of the Opposition I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. I will not. And the Government will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. Not now, not ever.

The Leader of the Opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office. Well I hope the Leader of the Opposition has got a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation. Because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn't need a motion in the House of Representatives, he needs a mirror. That's what he needs.

I was offended when the Leader of the Opposition went outside in the front of Parliament and stood next to a sign that said “Ditch the witch.” I was offended when the Leader of the Opposition stood next to a sign that described me as a man's bitch. I was offended by those things. Misogyny, sexism, every day from this Leader of the Opposition. Every day in every way, across the time the Leader of the Opposition has sat in that chair and I've sat in this chair, that is all we have heard from him.

…now looking at his watch because apparently a woman's spoken too long.
I've had him yell at me to shut up in the past, but I will take the remaining seconds of my speaking time to say to the Leader of the Opposition I think the best course for him is to reflect on the standards he's exhibited in public life… and the Leader of the Opposition should think seriously about the role of women in public life and in Australian society because we are entitled to a better standard than this.

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