Friday, 4 March 2011

Shall Mozart Quell the Shooting?

Two nights ago shots were fired at a police Land Rover on a nearby street. A British Army helicopter chugged above the city for the rest of the night, echoing a time gone by, but also a curiously resonant sound for today. The person who fired the shots hit the police's dysfunctionally uncivil Land Rover and almost hit police officers and civilians who were attending the retrieval of a stolen car. The shooter offers this action - this noise - as a solution to the problems posed by partition in Ireland.
Last night an orchestra played Mozart and Irish airs in the hall of a re-built school in an area of the city that sounded with the din of war for years. A piano concerto and a symphony. A soprano sang The Last Rose of Summer, with a clean high pitching tone and an ache that reverberated round the hall. Shall orchestras playing Mozart quell the shooting? Shall a soprano singing Moore's melodies solve the problems posed by partition in Ireland?
Would the great oud and string orchestras of Tunis, Tripoli and Cairo, perched and playing on the border between Libya and Tunisia, ease the passage of the displaced workers, now refugees? Bring Rahim Alhaj, the Iraqi oud virtuoso, from his exile in the US and let him play in the dusty, noisy transition camps on the Tunisia-Libya border. Shall the oud quell the pain? Smooth transitions to new functioning orders? 
As the shooter and the police engage on a nearby street, a call centre announces job losses. A contract changes hands, a client retrenches and the raucous bellow of the market shouts more people into unemployment. Perhaps a brass  band could come and play as the workers leave the call centre for the last time? The Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana is beautiful, sombre and affecting and sounds wonderful when played by flugelhorns, trombones, euphoniums and cornets. Would a brass band playing such beautiful music create new well-paid jobs? Lead us into economic recovery? 
The trial of Hazel Stewart for double murder ended in Coleraine (55 degrees North, 6 degrees West) with her conviction and sentencing to life imprisonment. She and her lover, Colin Howell, murdered their spouses, in order to facilitate their adulterous affair. Both murderers were Baptists, practising Christians, at the time of their affair and the murders. They sought salvation in power, lust and violence. Shall a choir sing Salvation is Created for the devastated families and quell their despair? Shall music be salvation? Shall we sing the world democratic?

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