Script -Wednesday 7th May 2014 - Andrea Rea
When I was a student at university, one of the works set as part of a music repertoire test was hen Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck. It was one of the first avant garde, atonal operas of the 20th century; an important work that intrigued and puzzled those of us raised on more standard, classic works. Berg began composing it 100 years ago, in 1914, basing it on a play he’d seen. Our library’s LP of Wozzeck had Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream on the cover – an image that suited the fraught, tragic story of the opera.
Munch actually painted four different versions of the Scream, and their history has been somewhat fraught and tragic too.
Some of the paintings have been the target of high-profile thefts over the years. Twenty years ago today, one version that had been stolen from the National Gallery in Oslo, was returned to the museum. It had been missing for three months, a worrying time for the art world, especially in Norway.
Since Munch created it, the painting has been used in many ways, in addition to that LP cover long ago. It appeared on the cover of a psychology book called The Primal Scream, about therapy in which expressing emotions - crying, shouting, even screaming – is a means of healing inner trauma – an idea that might sound odd to many of us. Other representations of Munch’s work have been ironic, or witty - even funny.
Life is often contradictory, of course – full of tragedy and triumph, laughter and tears, and sometimes those things exist closely together. My days at music college, for example were wonderful and difficult, often at the same time.
Lord of light and dark, of sorrow and joy, help us to accept the contradictions we experience; to understand their influence in our lives and embrace them as part of your plan for us. Amen