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10 JULY 2009 :: A BEAUTIFUL GIFT

A friend of mine sent me interesting email yesterday, she offered me tickets to see the London Symphony Orchestra at St Pauls here in London. They were going to play Brucknerís Ninth Symphony. Itís not a name I was at all familiar with. But, as you know, Iíd go to the opening of a lunch box if someone gave me the tickets.

Despite the fact Iíve been living in London for 8 years, Iíd never set foot inside St Pauls. Itís a beautiful, imposing and breath taking cathedral. I was captivated as we walked slowly through it. Gazing, open jawed at the splendour of the ceiling and trying to work out where our seats were. The seats, once we found them, were excellent. From our vantage point we were able to take in the whole of the orchestra and view the mosaics around the inside of the dome.

Keeping with the impressive surroundings, the orchestra itself was big. While waiting for them to start I tried to quickly tally up their numbers. I got to a total of 120 before getting distracted. This was a big orchestra, capable of producing a big sound.

The programme described Bucknerís Ninth as ďdedicated to god the belovedĒ I did not think I was about to have a religious experience, but Iíd hoped it would do justice to the surroundings and my sense of anticipation.

As impressive as the setting and orchestra were, once they started playing both melted away into the background. The opening piece was astonishing! An ocean of sound that managed to engulf every corner of this imposing cathedral. The music was intimidating and powerful. Somehow managing to be complex and challenging, but , minimal and stark at the same time? I sat, completely captivated, gazing at the orchestra as this ocean of sound washed over us. For me, the music conjured up images of violence and destruction. Not the initial shock of witnessing these acts, but the truly disturbing concept of walking alone, through the aftermath. Feeling your skin crawl as you realise the utter isolation and deafening silence of your surroundings.

A day later and Iím still in awe of how good this performance was. All these years in London and it still manages to knock me off my feet every once in a while.

The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.
Albert Einstein