About JohnofOz

JohnofOz is an occasional correspondent. The myriad influences of a gypsy life on many continents, a wife with a bazaar (sic) upbringing and a love of the arts have resulted in an eclectic range of views. (Not, of course, always entirely rational.) A misanthrope, he loves his friends. A curmudgeon, he rails at youth, yet wonders at its creativity. He is, at any time, in (unrequited) love with at least three women thirty or forty years his junior. He also loves his cello. She has a particularly beautiful birdseye maple back and can make a lovely sound. A romantic at heart, JohnofOz plays the classics and seeks to appreciate the contemporary. Above all, he believes in Rostropovich’s five F’s: Food, Fiddles, Friends, Females and Fodka.


10 Responses to About JohnofOz

  1. Dear JohnofOz,
    From a fellow cello fancier – I have learned a thing or two about you that I didn’t know before, from this site … speaking of Fodka, I presume you have tried Forty Two(42) Below’s Feijoa Fodka?

    I have a primordial website which I constructed myself on a DIY site “yola”. I can see why it would help to have links from one’s own site to others, and if I may, I would like to add yours to it.
    I like the idea of an “Inner Smile” which rises from the gracenote that hums internally even when all is turbulent in the outer world – I aspire to that.
    Kind regards, Miranda delle Violette

  2. johnofoz says:

    Thank you for the comment, Miranda delle Violette.We all, wittingly or unwittingly, reveal something of ourselves when we enter the blogosphere. As the man (or was it a dog) said once: “On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog”. But then something gives it away….

    Yesterday I learned something from Herr Altstaedt: A trill or gracenote may not always be pure ornament, but somesimes rather something transcendental. May the internal gracenotes hum.

  3. Dominic Gibson says:

    Suggestions for future Huntington Music Festivals

    Hi Tim (musica viva)

    Thanks for inviting me to make suggestions for the future programming of the Huntington Festival. I’ll start with this John Holloway Album of Heinrich Biber’s sonatas. I was introduced to Biber by ABC Classic FM when they promoted this album as a new release in 2002 – I was totally taken away by it and spent a large part of a four-day weekend in the Atherton Tableland listening to it. It was so immediately accessible and so moving. Further you only need three musicians to perform it. And I’m not suggesting Holloway and his colleagues on this recording as the probably would not be available and would be way too expensive. Finally I’ve never heard any of Biber’s repertoire at Huntington – indeed there tends to be an absence of the baroque repertoire which needs to be addressed.

    Unam Ceylum
    John Holloway (violin), Aloysia Assenbaum (organ), Lars Ulrik Mortensen (harpsichord)
    ECM Records, ECM New Series, 1791 472 084-2
    1. Sonata III F major [Sonatae violino solo, 1681, C. 140]
    2. Sonata IV D major [Sonatae violino solo, 1681, C. 141]
    3. Sonata No. 81 A major [C. 147. NB: ‘No. 81’ relates to an obsolete Kroměříž number and should not be used]
    4. Sonata VI C minor [Sonatae violino solo, 1681, C. 143]
    5. Sonata VII G major [Sonatae violino solo, 1681, C. 144]
    6. Sonata No. 84 E major [C. 108, from Minoritenkonvent MS 726/84]

    PS I’m listening to Beyonce’s “4” album as I write – love it!!

    yours in music,

    Dominic Gibson
    Ashbury NSW

    • johnofoz says:

      Interesting suggestions, and thank you for copying me in. There was a touch of Baroque at Huntington in 2009 with the wonderful harpsichordist Linda Kent directing the “Huntington Baroque Ensemble”, but they did stick to fairly standard fare (Handel, Vivaldi, Bach), except for a flute concerto by Michel Blavet. And 2010 had Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Gen Lacey and Jane Gower.

  4. John of Oz – my goodness, it is a strirring phrase – redolent of “Men of Harlech” in its own telegrammatic way.What march or ceremonial passage, by whom, would you choose to play as his signature piece, to signify his much-anticipated arrival at an event?? Think carefully… the halls of ABC Classic FM abound with the echoes of the theme music chosen by Marianne Arnold(to which she has been faithful for 25 years I was told by the vocally delectable Emma Ayres on Breakfast the other day), Margaret Throsby etc.. and Music For The God Who Sings, for Heavens’ sake … that we instantly associate with their voices and turns of phrase. I recall feeling slightly miffed when Margaret changed her tune a few years back.

    Would not this be an interesting theme for the Huntington festival? Musical “tags” of the classical music luminaries? … played at more length and depth than the snippet which heralds the radio program opening or closing. Or in the case of our selected celebrity J of O, explore more deeply the musical snippet which he might have selected for its Bravura or Coloratura elements – for the purpose of making an entrance or flourishing his jabot?

    I am very fond of Carl Jenkins in general and Songs of Sanctuary in particular(Adiemus, the original). Diamond Music heard on the headphone set in a CD shop had me in tears within the first 10 bars.These do merit further promulgation perhaps?

    And what about Elena Kats-Chernin being commissioned to create a string quartet for the event(no – perhaps a small chamber orchestra piece so we wouldn’t miss out on her percussion.

    I leave you with those thought however I dare J of O to reveal himself by naming his signature piece publicly/sur le blog.

  5. Oops – spelling correction above please – a stirring phrase.

  6. johnofoz says:

    Ah, Miranda delle Violette, you can always be relied upon to raise an interesting question. JohnofOz had its genesis, as a name, in John of Gaunt. Why, I cannot say. I am not mediaeval. Am more a Richard III man than Richard II (“dive thoughts, down to my soul, here Clarence comes”.)
    I will, therefore, not look to John of Gaunt (or Shakespeare) to answer your question. But I must beg indulgence. To decide a defining theme tune will take some thought. For the moment all I can say is; “watch this space”.

  7. John of Oz – your blog is informative and bloody funny.

    Its a fun trying to suss out who lurks behind the nom du plume.

    I have an idea or two – the cello clue and the five F’s being useful clues.

    I’ll have to hit the “follow” button and stay on it…



    • johnofoz says:

      Thanks, Alfred.
      I’m glad you see the light-hearted side to some of my writing. While this blog had, initially, a cheerful intent, the writings have recently tended to be a little more serious. Here’s to not taking things too seriously.
      Incidentally, I’m not really hard to find. Google will tell you that I tweet under @johnofoz, and from there it is plain sailing.


  8. Dear John of Oz, we found your blog through online search and think you profile fits ours perfectly, as you said you “rail at youth, yet wonder at its creativity… play the classics and seek to appreciate the contemporary…”

    As a developing Melbourne arts company we present inter-discipline art performances that features both traditional and new art forms to Melbourne audience. The company is led and run by a group of young Australian artists, and our next performance is called Shared Lines, featuring mixture of contemporary chamber music, a physical theatre piece as well as vairous arts installations. Fore more info please see :http://www.forestcollective.com.au/sharedlines

    We are wondering if you would like to attend one of our coming performance Shared Lines at the Abbotsford Convent in July. For more info please see :http://www.forestcollective.com.au/sharedlines

    Kindly let us know if you would like to come one of the show and it would be great to hear your opinion on it!

    Please let us know through email, thanks!


    Forest Collective

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