David Johnstone, as a performer and composer (with which his position in the arts is clear), expresses himself publicly to be totally against the programming of festivities with any abuse towards animals for 'human enjoyment', and especially bull-fighting. He is fully agreed with the phrase: “Torture is neither art nor culture". Even more, for him it is the shame of the Spanish nation... and so, as proof of that, here is a personal committment in an important work of Johnstone:
ELEGY - THE ORATION OF THE BULL Solo Viola with String Orchestra or Piano
'Elegy' is a concert work that can be played as a 'pure' concert piece, without mention of the programmatic thread – as such, a late romantic intense outpouring with occasional impressionist touches present. It is very much of film ambience; the special quality of the viola sings (in all registers) almost uninterruptedly in long awe-inspiring phrases that would seem to perfectly fit the big screen. There are two performance possibilities, for the work is equally persuasive whether performed in recital with pianist, or with string orchestra. The duration is about seven minutes and a half.
The composer has for many years been a staunch defender of animal welfare and animal rights, and this offering is specifically an oration dedicated to the plight of the Spanish bull in the bull-ring ('la corrida'), which he sees neither as art nor culture. There are no doubts, in Johnstone's mind, as to the need still (in the twenty-first century) for animal 'justice' and to act against unreasonable animal exploitation:
The music starts … at once the bull demonstrates his physical condition in this solo 'cadenza', although it soon becomes obvious that he is in an entirely hostile and unknown atmosphere. Nevertheless … what great expansion of melody he feels. The power of the main theme (the big song) comes to the fore a number of times. The fantasy and 'rubato' passages from the viola soloist are indeed of our chief character, the bull himself, trying to re-group his forces to regain his initial strength. The second theme, syncopated and in imitation, is rather more 'distant'. Without going further into details, the rest of the work describes the unequal fight between man and bull, terminating with the death of the bull. Further more detailed programmatic information is available from the composer upon request.
The work is affectionately dedicated to Asún Vidal (untiring worker for animal rights), and the ‘Fundación Protectora de Animales de Navarra’, España.
Sociedad Protectora de Animales de Navarra (Spain)*
This is the principal organization in Navarre for the defence of animals in that region of Spain, and is now constituted as an Animal Foundation. www.protectoranavarra.org Sociedad Protectora de Animales de Navarra / Calle G - s/n, Pol. Ind. Mutilva Baja, 31192 Aranguren, Navarra, Spain
ACIG – Animal Cruelty Investigation Group (Great Britain)*
They carry out stunning work investigating animal abuse - it's a small group who even risk their physical integrity to do justice towards the animals. www.acigawis.co.uk A.C.I.G. / P.O. Box 8, HALESWORTH, Suffolk. IP19 0JL Great Britain
LACS – League against Cruel Sports (Great Britain)*
This large organization has worked for the defence of animals during many years and is highly regarded, especially in the torture received from cruel sports, and is an effective political pressure group. www.league.org.uk info/at/league.org.uk League Against Cruel Sports / New Sparling House, Holloway Hill, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1QZ Great Britain
This organization fights for the protection and care of domestic animals, above all dogs and cats. www.altarriba.org
A consolidated web page on the rights of animals, with national and international news. www.animanaturalis.org
PACMA – Partido Animalista*
An excellent political pressure group, formed as a fully political party, with an excellent voting return in 2016. www.pacma.es PACMA - Partido Antitaurino Contra el Maltrato Animal en España / Apartado de correos 18110, 28080 Madrid, Spain
Onekind (Advocates for Animals)*
This organization carries out a very important role in the protection of animals in Scotland, with a strong public presence and campaigns of undeniable influence. www.onekind.org OneKind / 10 Queensferry St., Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland EH2 4PG
(*) Johnstone es socio, colaborador o apoya económicamente a estas organizaciones