IGCSE English (First Language): Specimen Questions with Answers 166 - 167 of 179

Passage

Passage-1

Music – The Hope Raiser

One of my parents՚ deepest fears, I suspect, is that society would not properly value me as a musician, that I wouldn՚t be appreciated. I had very good grades in high school, I was good in science and math, and they imagined that as a doctor or a research chemist or an engineer, I might be more appreciated than I would be as a musician. I still remember my mother՚s remark when I announced my decision to apply to music school. She said, “You՚re wasting your SAT scores!” On some level, I think, my parents were not sure what the value of music was, what its purpose was. And they loved music: they listened to classical music all the time. They just weren՚t clear about its function. So, let me talk about that a little bit, because we live in a society that puts music in the “arts and entertainment” section of the newspaper. Serious music, the kind your kids are about to engage in, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with entertainment, in fact it՚s the opposite of entertainment. Let me talk a little bit about music, and how it works.

One of the first cultures to articulate how music really works was that of the ancient Greeks. And this is going to fascinate you: the Greeks said that music and astronomy were two sides of the same coin. Astronomy was the study of relationships between observable, permanent, external objects, and music was the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects.

Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us. Let me give you some examples of how this works. One of the most profound musical compositions of all time is the “Quartet for the End of Time” written by a French composer Olivier Messiaen in 1940. Messiaen was 31 years old when France entered the war against Nazi Germany. He was captured by the Germans in June of 1940 and imprisoned in a prisoner-of-war camp.

He was fortunate to find a sympathetic prison guard who gave him paper and a place to compose, and was fortunate to have musician colleagues in the camp, a cellist, a violinist, and a clarinetist. Messiaen wrote his quartet with these specific players in mind. It was performed in January 1941 for four thousand prisoners and guards in the prison camp. Today it is one of the most famous masterworks in the Repertoire.

Given what we have since learned about life in the Nazi camps, why would anyone in his right mind waste time and energy writing or playing music? There was barely enough energy on a good day to find food and water, to avoid a beating, to stay warm, to escape torture-why would anyone bother with music? And yet-even from the concentration camps, we have poetry, we have music, we have visual art; it wasn՚t just this one fanatic Messiaen; many, many people created art. Why? Well, in a place where people are only focused on survival, on the bare necessities, the obvious conclusion is that art must be, somehow, essential for life. The camps were without money, without hope, without commerce, without recreation, without basic respect, but they were not without art. Art is part of survival; art is part of the human spirit, an unquenchable expression of who we are. Art is one of the ways in which we say, “I am alive, and my life has meaning.”

Passage-2

In September of 2001 I was a resident of Manhattan. On the morning of September 12,2001, I reached a new understanding of my art and its relationship to the world. I sat down at the piano that morning at 1 a. m to practice as was my daily routine; I did it by force of habit, without thinking about it. I lifted the cover on the keyboard, and opened my music, and put my hands on the keys and just as soon took my hands off it. And I sat there and thought, does this even matter? Isn՚t this completely irrelevant? Playing the piano right now, given what happened in this city yesterday, seems silly, absurd, irreverent, and pointless. Why am I here? What place has a musician in this moment in time? Who needs a piano player right now? I was completely lost. And then I, along with the rest of New York, went through the journey of getting through that week. I did not play the piano that day, and in fact I contemplated briefly whether I would ever want to play the piano again. And then I observed how we got through the day.

At least in my neighborhood, we didn՚t shoot hoops or play Scrabble. We didn՚t play cards to pass the time, we didn՚t watch TV, we didn՚t shop, we most certainly did not go to the mall. The first organized activity that I saw in New York, on the very evening of September 1 th , was singing. People sang around fire houses, people sang “We Shall Overcome.” Lots of people sang “America the Beautiful.” The first organized public event that I remember was the Brahms Requiem, later that week, at Lincoln Center, with the New York Philharmonic. The first organized public expression of grief, our first communal response to that historic event, was a concert. That was the beginning of a sense that life might go on. The US Military secured the airspace, but recovery was led by the arts, and by music, that very night. From these two experiences, I have come to understand that music is not part of “arts and entertainment” as the newspaper section would have us believe. It՚s not a luxury, a lavish thing that we fund from leftovers of our budgets, not a plaything or an amusement or a pastime. Music is a basic need of human survival. Music is one of the ways we make sense of our lives, one of the ways in which we express feelings when we have no words, a way for us to understand things with our hearts when we can՚t with our minds. Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, I expect you not only to master music; I expect you to save the planet. If there is a future wave of wellness on this planet, of harmony, of peace, of an end to war, of mutual understanding, of equality, of fairness, I don՚t expect it will come from a government, a military force, or a corporation. I no longer even expect it to come from the religions of the world, which together seem to have brought us as much war as they have peace.

If there is a future of peace for humankind, if there is to be an understanding of how these invisible, internal things should fit together, I expect it will come from the artists, because that՚s what we do. As in the concentration camp and the evening of 11 September, the artistes are the ones who might be able to help us with our internal, invisible lives.

Question 166 (2 of 2 Based on Passage)

Edit

Write in Short

Short Answer▾

Answer the following Questions based on passage 1 and passage 2.

How did Messiaen point out the significance of the powers of music to the prisoners in the concentration camp? (Marks 10)

Explanation

In the concentration camp there was no hope of life. When Messiaen was in the concentration camp, he spent his time by composing music. He wrote his famous Quartet for the End of Time. It was performed in January. 1941 before the prisoners and guards. According to Messiaen, music is the basic need of human survival. Art is a part of human spirit. It is an expression of who we are. Though the inmates of the camp had no hope, money, and recreation they were not without art.

Passage

Here is a narrative story of Kushwanth Singh՚s Portrait of Lady.

My grandmother, like everybody՚s grandmother, was an old woman. She had been old and wrinkled for the twenty years that I had known her. People said that she had once been young and pretty and had even had a husband, but that was hard to believe. She often told us of the games she used to play as a child. That seemed quite absurd and undignified on her part and we treated it like the fables of the Prophets she used to tell us. She had always been short and fat and slightly bent. Her face was a crisscross of wrinkles running from everywhere to everywhere. No, we were certain she had always been as we had known her. Old, so terribly old that she could not have grown older, and had stayed at the same age for twenty years. She could never have been pretty; but she was always beautiful. She hobbled about the house in spotless white with one hand resting on her waist to balance her stoop and the other telling the beads of her rosary. Her silver locks were scattered untidily over her pale, puckered face, and her lips constantly moved in inaudible prayer. Yes, she was beautiful. She was like the winter landscape in the mountains, an expanse of pure white serenity breathing peace and contentment. My grandmother always went to school with me because the school was attached to the temple. The priest taught us the alphabet and the Morning Prayer. While the children sat in rows on either side of the verandah singing the alphabet or the prayer in a chorus, my grandmother sat inside reading the scriptures. When we had both finished, we would walk back together. This time the village dogs would meet us at the temple door. They followed us to our home growling and fighting with each other for the chapatti we threw to them.

When I went up to University, I was given a room of my own. The common link of friendship was snapped. My grandmother accepted her seclusion with resignation. She rarely left her spinning wheel to talk to anyone. From sunrise to sunset she sat by her wheel spinning and reciting prayers. Only in the afternoon she relaxed for a while to feed the sparrows. While she sat in the verandah breaking the bread into little bits, hundreds of little birds collected round her creating a veritable bedlam of chirruping. Some came and perched on her legs, others on her shoulders. Some even sat on her head. She smiled but never shooed them away.

It used to be the happiest half-hour of the day for her. Even on the first day of my arrival, her happiest moments were with her sparrows that she fed longer and with frivolous rebukes. The next morning, she was taken ill. She lay peacefully in bed praying and telling her beads. Even before we could suspect, her lips stopped moving and the rosary fell from her lifeless fingers. A peaceful pallor spread on her face and we knew that she was dead. We left her alone to decide for her funeral. In the evening we went to her room with a crude stretcher to take her to be cremated.

The sun was setting and had lit her room and verandah with a blaze of golden light. We stopped half-way in the courtyard. All over the verandah and in her room right up to where she laid dead and stiff wrapped in the red shroud, thousands of sparrows sat scattered on the floor. There was no chirruping. We felt sorry for the birds and my mother fetched some bread for them. She broke it into little crumbs, the way my grandmother used to, and threw it to them. The sparrows took no notice of the bread. When we carried my grandmother՚s corpse off, they flew away quietly. Next morning the sweeper swept the bread crumbs into the dustbin.

Question 167 (3 of 3 Based on Passage)

Edit

Write in Short

Short Answer▾

As young Khushwant Singh, write a letter to your parents describing your daily routine along with your thoughts and feelings about staying in the village.

Explanation

Hadali

th July 2020

Dear Dad and Mom, Well and wish to hear the same from you. Here I am fine. Grandma is also fine. She fills my belly with her hand made-delicious chapattis. Not only that, she teaches me a lot of moral stories. She helps me even in arithmetic՚s too. We go to school regularly in the morning. At that moment she feeds the stray dogs with stale chapattis. When I attend my school, she is praying at the temple which is beside the school.

When we return home in the evening the dogs follow us. They fight with one another for the chapattis we give them. I feel very happy for being here with my sweet grandma. Take care of your health. There is no need to worry about me. I enjoy my life with my sweet grandma.

With regards

Yours loving son,

Khushwant Singh

Address on the envelope:

To, 88 Sir Sobha Singh, 3.

Sixth Avenue Hadali,

Khushab district, Kerala,

Descriptive writing