Please indulge me again. I know I keep coming back to this piece. The music is sublime, but I’ve come back to this little video at least once a week for years, I think, because the intense and delightful connection between conductor, musicians and choir leaves me utterly spellbound. Note the conductor’s continued concentration and movement into the silence at the end of the piece – and his delight, throughout, in both the music and the connection. I think this is close to musical perfection … as some of you may have noticed from time to time in the past!


Pianist Stephen Hough (The Guardian: Arts hit back at Brexit) looks for vibrations deeper than words:

Musicians keep playing when the lights go out, when people are suffering, confused or angry. In every generation, politicians let us down but music can lift us above the fighting and the mistakes. It does not offer answers to specific political questions. Instead it looks beyond them. Classical music thinks in centuries, not four-year terms.

One of the things that touches me most when I play for an audience is that, although we may be unable to communicate in words or have diametrically opposed views on hot-button issues, while the music sounds we can be at peace, we can be friends. The vibrations that fill an auditorium have no passports and they unite ears when hearts may be divided.

Whether in or out of Europe, we will always need to be building – and repairing – bridges. Sometimes the arts can be the only way a connection can be made across turbulent waters. On my piano at the moment sit scores of Beethoven, Debussy, Franck, Schubert, Liszt – a European community that can never be divided.

The Guardian, 24th June 2016

I wept for shame upon hearing the result of the EU referendum. I wept for joy when I heard violinist Joo Yeon Sir’s Lament, and still do when I listen, over and over again, to Ola Gjeilo‘s The Ground. Music tells us that tears of both shame and joy are ultimately channeled into one and the same great river of life.

It’s that kind of connection, vibrations with no passports, that will make us – all humanity, that is – “great again”.