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Rusalka’s Song to the Moon and Memories of Kitnocks Hill

August 29, 2015

Hearing the snatch of a song on the radio on Thursday and learning its source, reminded me that it is high time that I acknowledged the sad outcome of efforts to stop building on land associated with an ‘unquiet spirit’ known as Kitty Nocks, who is said to appear around midnight when it is the full moon. A very well researched appraisal of Kitty Nocks and her legend can be found here.

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The music I heard was ‘Song to the Moon’, from Dvorak’s opera, Rusalka, sung by the soprano, Lucia Popp, playing the part of Rusalka. I was saddened to find that Lucia Popp’s own life was cut short in 1993 at the age of fifty-four.

Realising what the music was took me right back to composing what was a piece of motivated writing, with the primary aim of preventing a housing development on a plot of land associated with apparitions of Kitty Nocks. I found strong parallels in her story with stories of the rusalka, a female spirit in Slavic folklore, associated with lakes and streams.

Sadly, in spite of the best efforts of those opposed to the development, it eventually went ahead.

It must be over a year since the houses were built. On this day of the full moon, it seems only right to acknowledge what has been lost and maybe, in a Benjaminian sense, take a step towards settling a moral debt to a past in need of redemption.

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