Politicians, concerned continually for their media image and anxious to avoid exposure to real truths that are superfluous to statistics, become lost in their obfuscations, chicanery and feasibility studies, and are simply baffled when they come across serious matters that concern the role of music, or art of any kind in the human community. And they clutch desperately at the term, “market forces” like a disturbed child cowering in the corner with a broken toy.
In the peaceful symmetry of Trinity Square the rush hour rumblings of Borough high street softened and gave way to the sound of brass that came striding across from the church to meet us, and I could feel the first vibrations of the exhilarating day that was to come.
One of the ways in which the Chinese cook duck, is to poach it in water and rice wine, the resultant liquid forming a disgusting, off white viscid soup, the drinking of which, we were told was to be the most nourishing and desirable part of the experience, second only to the eating of the brains of the unfortunate animal which are exposed by the waiters, who split the head lengthwise with a cleaver, thereby enabling the contents to be picked easily from the skull with chop sticks.
Our children are everything. They are the future. There is no future without them and they are our responsibility!
We have burdened them with the debt of disgraceful and illegal wars. We poison their food and then we blame them for the disorder in society. We refuse to pay for their education and berate them for their ignorance and naivety. We complain when they take no interest in politics while the politicians entrusted with their future and security are prosecuted for dishonesty and duplicity.
Thirty-five people make a perfect audience for Chamber music, and Steve’s instruments, having lain asleep in the workshop for more than a year, filled the room with their song: a glorious gratitude to their craftsman and the quartet, and for the joy of having an audience. Afterwards I felt a warm satisfaction inside, redolent of my early days performing. No critics were there, no conductor or agent. No fee or potential recording contract. Only applause and smiling faces.
Where would Beethoven, Strauss, Wagner, Mahler and John Williams have been without the likes of us? Would Siegfried, Robin Hood, Indiana Jones and Luke Skywalker have lived so vividly in the human imagination without such noble accompaniment to their exploits?
Scientists say that there will be a serious power shortage in the future. Music and power are linked in more ways than one!
Years ago the lights went out towards the end of a concert during one of our RPO Welsh tours during the finale of the seventh symphony of Beethoven which was steered calmly to its conclusion by the composure and silver haired experience of the then ostracized and destitute Royal Philharmonic,
I had never seen an artichoke before that evening and the effort involved in eating and pretending to enjoy it, while surrounded by mystifying conversations about Arts council spending and its proportion of the gross national product, only amplified my feelings of inadequacy, but a small comfort lay in the fact that hardly anyone present appeared to have the slightest interest in me or my awkwardness.
The atmosphere of Bookbinders was unique. It was a sort of ancient temple of devotion to the pleasures of seafood where the conversation took a different tone within the high oak panelled walls, the aroma of cigar smoke, and the subtle attentions of the priestly waiters
Jim Brown had to stay, reluctantly in London to do some recordings on that weekend, in order to placate a fixer who was very angry with me for getting married and for inviting so many horn players to Edinburgh on his “big film” recording day.
When we do work for him, he’s no doubt angry with us for taking ninety per cent of his fee!