Thursday, 15 August 2013


Fantasy Bob’s mind was on other things on Monday night.  He checked the Ashes score.  Australia were 170 for 3.  Well on their way to the target.  

He immersed himself in other things prior to leaving the house for the Usher Hall and Gustav Mahler’s Second Symphony played by Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.  Mahler’s Second Symphony is named the Resurrection, but is not under any circumstances to be confused with Ashton Gardner and Dyke's 1971 hit Resurrection Shuffle.  His sense of anticipation was high.  A top orchestra playing a huge piece, an emotional journey from dark to light and an orchestral showpiece.  What could be better?

'What could be more appropriate?' thought FB to himself as he waited for the bus, 'For surely the Durham test has seen the resurrection of Australian fortunes.' A doughty innings by Rogers and fine bowling by Harris had put them in a strong position.

The symphony ends with a huge choral finale, which builds through a series of episodic fragments to a final climax which raises the roof.  Mahler himself wrote to a friend as he finished the work, 'The increasing tension, working up to the final climax, is so tremendous that I don’t know myself, now that it is over, how I ever came to write it.'  (A feeling with which FB is familiar in writing his world famous match reports of Carlton All Star 4th XI's exploits).

Jansons’ performance was a triumph and the audience, FB among them, exploded with enthusiastic and lengthy applause.

As FB learned on his return home, Australia's resurrection had been deferred - if not abandoned as shortly before Jansons raised his baton their final wicket fell.  

And if there was a resurrection it was in the reputation of Stuart Broad whose 6 wickets won the match for England.   Broad, never the most popular cricketer but whose failure to walk in the First Test excited intense levels of loathing, is now on a pedestal.  The same Broad whose place might have been in doubt at the start of the summer.  

Now that is the kind of resurrection Mahler must have had in mind.


  1. It has been an interesting Ashes series thus far. The 3-0 scoreline in England's favour belies the fact that they have only dominated in one match. One would have been won by Australia, had the weather not intervened, and the other two could have gone either way. That England prevailed in those two contests is largely down to character - they were able to raise their game at the point where it really mattered. No doubt Gustav Mahler had a similar epiphany while writing his second symphony although, being mid-European, he would not have appreciated the cricketing associations of such a moment. Inspired by such heights of artistry, FB will be expected to perform to a similar standard at his next outing for Carlton. We await with interest.

    1. The triumph of hope over experience.