Thursday, May 14, 2015

Give music a chance . . .

In a world starved of positivity, may I share some good news?
It's a story about music.   So, as music was Shakespeare's 'food of love', we couldn't have a better form of nourishment.

Everyone is familiar with Oxfam, Medecins sans Frontieres and the Red Cross . . . three admirable organisations that bring sustenance, healing and hope to war-ravaged countries.

But I rather doubt whether you've heard of the Brussels-based charity,  Music Fund.
Launched in 2005, it's a humanitarian project with the unlikely but wholly commendable aim of supporting musicians, and music schools, in areas of conflict and deprivation.

Music Fund came to prominence the other week in an enterprise supported and financed by the conductor and pianist, Daniel Barenboim.  It was called upon to restore a Yamaha grand piano in war-ravaged Gaza.

A Yamaha grand piano in Gaza?
Yes, I agree . . . it's hardly what you'd expect.
But surely no strip of land could be in greater need of 'the food of love'?

Whilst the Nawras Theatre, where the piano had been housed, was badly damaged in the recent conflict (as you can see in this photo), the piano was an unlikely survivor.

Daniel Barenboim and Music Fund were determined that it should once again bring pleasure to the people of Gaza.  To this end, hours of painstaking, loving work have been devoted to its restoration . . .  every string, hammer and felt has been replaced.

From Music Fund I was fascinated to learn that no two pianos are identical . . . they each have their own highly-individual song to sing, their own 'soul'.
Each time a pianist and a piano come together to produce music, it's to manifest something that's never been heard before . . . something that it would be impossible to repeat.

'Give music a chance . . .' pleads Music Fund on the side of its buses.  But surely this plea should not be restricted to areas of conflict and deprivation?
We all need the healing, unifying power of music.

For Shakespeare, music was the food of love.
For Delius, it was an outburst of the soul.

Whilst for the American author, Hunter S. Thompson, it was simply a form of 'fuel'.
When his car ran low on petrol he would turn up the volume on the car radio, secure in the conviction that musical fuel would carry him home.
I wonder whether he ever watched this video.

It's impossible to over-estimate the power of music . . . the vibrational power of sound.
On a commercial level, did you know that music can have a decisive effect on what you buy in a shop . . . or that soothing music is often used by dairy farmers to increase their milk yield?

But, if we're truly to give music a chance, we need to experience its power for ourselves.

Have you a few minutes to spare?
Then may I suggest you click here.
Let your body, mind and spirit be transformed by the combined magic of Beethoven,  Daniel Barenboim . . and a piano!