|Barenboim raises a hand with his Berlin Staatskapelle. (Photo: bbc.co.uk)|
Three days into the Proms and it's already clear that the world's leading musicians are more clued in to the folly of the flat-earth idiocy in Brexit Island than our own politicians are. Igor Levit played the Ode to Joy as an encore after his performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.3 on opening night. Yesterday Daniel Barenboim followed the questing, Schumannesque lament for a vanishing world that Elgar's Second Symphony evokes with a speech about the dangers of isolationism, identifying the overarching problem that causes religious and political fundamentalism as a failure in education. The usual howls that politics and music don't mix have been curiously quiet - perhaps because Levit didn't say a word, but let Beethoven do all the speaking; and perhaps because Barenboim is, quite simply, right. [Update, 3.30pm: they've now stopped being quiet, but it was only a matter of time... and Barenboim is still right.]
(You can also read the transcribed text of his speech at Jon Jacobs' blog, Thoroughly Good, here.)
Watching and listening links for the Barenboim Prom here.
In the interests of our unfortunate country, I think it's time we kicked out the government and replaced them with people who know what they're talking about through music. It can't be any worse, after all. Following the Proms Coup (as opposed to the more usual Queue), here is the new cabinet.
Ludwig van Beethoven. The greatest ideals and the biggest vision. Also, given his hearing disability, a fantastic symbol for inclusion and equality.
Daniel Barenboim, one of the world's few true statesmen, working together with Beethoven.
FIRST SECRETARY OF STATE:
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, for a balancing human touch at the top of the power tree.
CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER:
Giacomo Meyerbeer, who made a great deal of money - and used it magnanimously.
Felix Mendelssohn, who could charm and befriend anyone and everyone, including royalty.
Sir Edward Elgar, who works closely with Beethoven and Barenboim. A "home-grown" composer whose influences were chiefly European, including Schumann, Brahms and Strauss.
Zoltán Kodály, music's arch-educator with an outlook for both inclusiveness and expertise.
WORK AND PENSIONS SECRETARY:
Johann Sebastian Bach, who knew a thing or two about hard work and should have left Anna Magdalena a proper pension. (She ended her life destitute. Bach should fix this before it happens.)
Franz Schubert, who had pacifist leanings.
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, whose Scottish island landscape and terrifically powerful personality would be a valuable asset.
Dame Ethel Smyth. Cross her at your peril.
Frédéric Chopin, who would evince a profound interest in making sure antibiotics remain effective and available to all.
Antonin Dvorák, who'd enjoy sorting out our trains and would also ensure that everything ran smoothly on the transatlantic front.
Frederick Septimus Kelly, who was not only a fine composer, but also an Olympic gold medallist in 1908, for rowing.
This department is abolished, because we ain't leaving.
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