After the abhorrent terrorist atrocities of the last few weeks, I wanted to write a little about the One Love Concert held at Old Trafford and the We Stand Together concert held at Bridgewater Hall. The latter organised by the Hallé, BBC Philharmonic and the Manchester Camerata and featured 100 musicians on stage plus special guests included fine mezzo soprano Alice Coote, Elbow frontman and Radio 6 DJ Guy Garvey and myself performing to a full and appreciative Manchester crowd packed with music lovers of every sort.
The programme was wildly eclectic and hugely emotional. Conductors Sir Mark Elder, Stephen Bell and relative newcomer to the Hallé family, assistant conductor Jonathan Heyward guided us through the selections where Elgar, Holst, Ravel, Mahler and Stravinsky mingled with Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart, Hal David and Burt Bacharach. Fellow BBC broadcaster Petroc Trelawny presented the evening brilliantly.
I usually fail when I attempt to put into words how live music makes me feel and why I believe it is such an important part of our psyche, enabling us to celebrate various cultures and histories a massive key to unlock emotion and memory.
I was trawling the internet when I came across an article written by Juliet Kuehnle entitled The Power of Live Music. It starts with a quote from Plato “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” If that’s not enough to make you start reading!?
Juliet writes so eloquently about how music stirs your soul, that its emotional expression affects our brains in a similar way to speech. She talks about, the value in allowing ourselves to be activated to feel and to express and react to those feelings.
I’m not saying for a second that music makes up for any of the terrible things that have happened just that it is a fantastic tool to bring communities together in an uplifting and way
On Sunday night I had the delicate task of picking up live transmission on Radio 2 from the Manchester One Love concert. What an incredible show it was, full of empathy and love, never once patronising or fake. I think all the artists were terrific and if we could only bottle Ariana Grande’s heartfelt positive energy, wouldn’t the world be a much better place?