‘Such a Fine, Sunny Day’
Digital Download: File Type: M4A – AAC LC – Stereo – 96 kHz – 32 bit
Track Length: 12:43
‘Such A Fine, Sunny Day’
Sung by opera star Paul Whelan
Music and libretti composed and produced by (c) Alan Griffiths 2021 (p) 2022
‘Such A Fine, Sunny Day’ is the last thing 21 year old German peace activist student Sophie Scholl said before Hitler had her executed in 1943. Two narratives weave through the libretti; the first is from the point of view of one observing what Sophie had to endure leading up to her execution, the other is her internal monologue.
Paul is accompanied by a dramatic piano duet played by Australian multi-international award recipient Nicholas Young and New Zealand multi-award winning concert pianist Anna Maksymova.
Recorded at The Piano
"… very appealing… It’s not weird. This is neither plinky-plonk or squeaky gate music. This is lovely rich harmony…"
- Paul Whelan
"... Alan Griffiths is inquiring, evocative, soul searching, rummaging with delicacy and thoughtfulness ..."
- Kathleen Gallagher
(New Zealand award winning writer, poet, filmmaker and novelist)
‘… extremely impressive mastery of style and range of emotions….’
ANZCA Music Examinations
‘Such A Fine, Sunny Day’ World Premiere Performed by Paul Whelan
This song-cycle is dedicated to Sophie Scholl and the 1940’s Munich university student pacifist group White Rose.
It was during Melbourne’s second lock-down in 2021 that I wrote ‘Such A Fine, Sunny Day’. It was born out of a deep gnawing dread, as I was gripped by terror. I knew with 100 percent certainty that we were going to have a war with Russia in 2022. The prospect of a nuclear war has always horrified me. The Secretary of the United Nations, Secretary General Guterres stated last year that we are a ‘mistake, a miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation’.
I had to do something in 2021 to express myself effectively against this clear threat. I found inspiration from the 1940’s Munich University student pacifist group White Rose. Their six public letters openly defied Hitler calling on Germans to rise up. I believe that their writing is just as relevant to today as it was back then.
My libretto consists of two lines of narrative that weaves around each other. The first is from the point of view of an observer watching Sophie Scholl, one of the members of White Rose, and speaks about what she went through. The second narrative is Sophie’s internal monologue in reaction to events unfolding around her.
Whilst not mentioning the nuclear war in the below radio interview, this project allowed me to juxtapose today’s threat of nuclear annihilation with what the White Rose feared the most. They believed that Germany was going to be destroyed forever for the horrific crimes the Nazi’s had committed against humanity, especially against the Jews and the Soviet Union. In the concert program I posed the question, if Sophie was alive today, how would she respond to our very real threat of nuclear war?
As the last verse says:
‘From Napoleon’s sword,
Through Stalin’s reign of terror,
Till Hitler’s down fall,
I cry out to you,
Twenty-seven and a half million dead,
Enough of this bloodshed…’
New Zealand may be Nuclear Free but awareness in Australia is growing. Whilst I knew I was in the right country to launch this song, I believe that a majority of Australians are very worried about nuclear weapons and war, especially the recently announced AUKUS nuclear pact.
My Christchurch concert was by far my most successful yet culminating with a standing ovation. All five musicians exceeded my expectations (see my blog).
In addition to all who attended, I was delighted to have Robert Green and Kathleen Gallagher, both inspirational anti-nuclear activists.
Robert was the only commander of Britian’s navy to resign in protest in having to fly nuclear bombs. His wife Katie Dewes spent 40 years of her life campaigning with other organisations (see below) to establish the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
Australia has many excellent NGOs effectively raising public awareness on the need to ban nuclear weapons. There are the Australian Conservation Foundation, who was founding member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear (ICAN) weapons, Medical Association for the Prevention of War (Australia) – Recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize and also founding member of ICAN, International Peace Australia Network (IPAN) which I joined last years as a financial member, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace Australia to name a few.
TM Stagetec Systems sponsored the recording and concert by providing their latest recording equipment the NEXUS. This is the first recording on it and Stagetec commission the below promo video which they are using to promote the NEXUS in their 37 offices around the world. It is such a huge honour to be associated with such a well respected global company.
Nexus Stagetec 'Such A Fine, Sunny Day' Recording
Listen to Paul Whelan and Alan being interviewed on Radio New Zealand ‘Standing Room Only’, broadcast on September 11, 2022