Goodbye to Berlin
‘A master of Balinese dance once expressed the idea that a performer must consciously see himself as a channel between the world within and the world outside. If the ego gets in the way, the channelling is reduced.’That will most definitely be my only comment about Simon Rattle’s departure from the Berlin Philharmonic and the speculation surrounding his successor. The quote comes from Living Presence by Kabir Edmund Helminski; the author is a Sufi teacher but his wisdom spans several esoteric traditions – as Jan Garbarek observed “I live in a spiritual neighbourhood around the world”. Benjamin Britten was one of a number of musicians whose spiritual neighbourhood included Bali, and I wrote about that connection in Britten’s passion for the East. Another was Colin Mcphee who took the header photo of a child dancer in Bali. McPhee was a friend of Britten and the two composers recorded McPhee's transcription of Balinese ceremonial music for two pianos in New York in 1940. Four years earlier McPhee had written the important and overlooked proto-minimalist Tabuh-Tabuhan for orchestra and two pianos. The introspective nature of composer anniversaries is confirmed by the notably unproductive results of a Google search for 'Britten centenary Colin McPhee', although the results do link to my previously mentioned article about Britten and the East. But no problems, there is much more in my 2007 post Colin McPhee - East meets West.
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