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Apples are not the only fruit

June 10, 2013

I rounded off lunch this afternoon with an apple. A green apple. And I had one of those moments when a simple phrase prompted an association to a song which I haven’t heard since I was about 6 and can’t have thought of very often since: Little Green Apples. I couldn’t remember who sang it, but after a little research recognised Roger Miller’s name, and that proved to be the version that I used to know. But I really didn’t like it, so I looked on, and so I’ve linked instead to a version by Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry. Very nice.

Almost as nice as the picture above, which I found over at http://notebookworthy.wordpress.com/category/recipes/cake. There are some mouth-watering goodies to be found over there, and I hope they don’t mind me borrowing their picture.

As to the apple I ate: it was tart – which is ok – and had chewy skin – which isn’t, and I didn’t finish it. This led me to the unwelcome conclusion that I don’t like my apples too green, which disappoints me, because it means I have to resile from a principle which I espoused early on: that I Know What I Like (And I Liked Green Apples).

More song association (isn’t this fun?): I know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe). Genesis (another apple connection: this is beginning to feel like kizmet*) – in the early days when they were still fronted by Peter Gabriel. Yet again in my musical odyssey, Genesis are an example of a band I got to know a little about long after they were cool. When they came to prominence, I could only listen with envious admiration as two friends endlessly contested the merits of Genesis (Wieslaw) and fellow prog-rockers Yes (Neil) respectively, trading insults as if they were rival fans at a football match.

It makes me wonder, now that sports stadia routinely host huge concerts by the biggest names in music, whether this is why you rarely have two headline acts appearing on the same stadium bill. Fans on one side of the ground might be cheering for the Beatles, while chanting for the Stones would roll round the other. No – it could never work: the sin bin would be full before the show started.

Now I need to go back a paragraph or two, because although for narrative purposes I allowed there to be a connection between apples and Genesis, that’s not quite right. Most visualisations of the story at the start of the book of Genesis depict Eve tempting Adam with an apple; but if memory serves me correctly, the fruit in question – that is to say the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil – is not actually identified in the bible story. Could be anything, and if we were going to presume that the Almighty chose for that unique tree a species known to mortal man, I would expect it to be one indigenous to the Middle East, or at least  one likely to flourish in a climate where you would expect to be able to go about dressed in nothing, or nothing plus a fig-leaf or two. Indeed: why not a fig tree?

persephone

Sir Frederick Leighton: The Return of Persephone

Or  a pomegranate: that would seem suitable. It crops up in another significant “temptation” story – that of Persephone (or Proserpina, depending on which language you favour) by Hades. Having successfully abducted Persephone, Hades is forced to return her to the living world, but manages to get her to eat pomegranate seeds while she is still in the underworld, by which means he somehow becomes entitled to have her spend part of every year with him thereafter. I suppose the principle is that tasting of the forbidden fruit is an irrevocable step.

Stravinsky wrote a long dramatic work dealing with the myth. This is the 2nd part- Persephone in the Underworld – which I find more accessible than much of his work – the slow choral section near the end is lovely. And here, which I came across quite by chance and know nothing about except how much I enjoyed it, is a piece from www.mythigaia.com – Persephone and Hades. Bear with it – and if it bothers you that it is a piece created within the confines of technology, try to overlook that fact and get the mood and colours that come ringing through.

For more fruit-based Russian classics, see Prokofiev’s opera The Love For Three Oranges. Perhaps with an eye to pleasing less patient audiences he re-worked some of the music as an orchestral suite, and here is the brief 3rd section – March. The story comes from a fairy tale, which in its best-told version forms part of a series of 50 stories called The Pentamerone. It’s fascinating – take a look. And the music is spiky and upbeat. Unlike the rather saccharine Lemon Tree – another 60s folk/love song by Peter Paul and Mary. Not quite as I remembered it, and a little mannered, but pleasant enough and tuneful.

Tenuous link coming up – from fruit to juice – enabling me to share the fantastic Juice Newton singing Angel of the Morning. Forget the covers of this song – here is a country classic with a brilliant arrangement, a true, emotive and edgy voice and something about it to shake the soul.

However, that’s not the way to close: I feel I should end with a fruity thrill. And the best place to get that: On Blueberry Hill, with Fats Domino.

* Ie kizmet in the sense of a purposeful fate, not the urban dictionary meaning of, well, go and look it up for yourself.

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