Music calling for action

In the words of the Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel, ‘with an instrument you own the world’. He is one of the many believers in music’s power to unite and inspire people regardless of any possible barrier they may face.

Music can help us tell compelling stories, engage armies, share complex ideas and feelings, motivate action, promote meaningful conversation. Music can reach and touch people far beyond the limits of spoken words – in fact, music is this universal language by which human links are made without the need to share any common language.

The use of music to help convey messages is not new, but it is always delightful to find out about new uses. I was especially touched by the campaign “Two Thirds of Spring”, where the The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra played a version of the widely known Vivaldi’s Spring Concerto arranged by the London-based composer Chris Roe, intentionally taking 1/3 of the notes out. Why 1/3? Because this percentage represents the amount of funds Cancer Research UK  received from wills in the UK last year. So instead of thinking figures and amounts, potential donors are actually invited to ‘feel’ what a difference 1/3 makes.

No more talking: I share hereunder the ‘behind the scenes and full performance’ video. Kindly check Cancer Research UK’s page on The importance of Gifts in Wills for more details.

Understanding some basics: Concerto and Concerto grosso

Concertos are musical works usually written for orchestras and feature a both musically and technically talented soloist or sometimes even a group of soloists. In its more than 300-year history, the designation concerto has been used to describe a large variety of musical pieces.

Here goes three of my favourites that you can explore to appreciate the different work pieces named concertos:

1) Vivaldi’s Four Violin Concerti ‘The Four Seasons‘, Opus 8 (1723-25) – here beautifully executed by the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin:

2) Liszt’s Piano Concerto Nr 1 in E-flat major, S.124 (1849) – with one of the finest pianists ever, Mrs. Martha Argerich:

3) Elliot Carter’s Double Concerto for Harpsichord and Piano with two Chamber Orchestras (1961)

On a separate note, Concerto grosso is more often used to refer to baroque compositions (1600-1750s) where a group of solo instruments establishes a conversation and are accompanied by an orchestra.

If you feel like appreciating how it sounds, here goes another suggestion: one of the oldest works in this arena, Händel’s Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, Nr 4, in A minor, HWV 322, written between 1739-40 – and considered one of his finest:

More to come on other music work formats. See ya!