The music of heaven

Paul Tortelier playing the the Prelude from J.S. Bach's first cello suite. This is the one of two pieces of music that I want played at my funeral and, in want of a professional cellist, the recording should be by Tortelier for his musicianship and his humanity.

He was a true believer in the potentiality of music to unite beyond difference and of beauty to save the world if attended to aright. I remember the vivid engagement of the master classes he gave in Oxford and of a memorable evening in London at a performance of Walton's cello concerto when he dedicated it to peace and gave a wonderful impromptu plea for reconciliation of all to all from the stage in heavily accented, heartfelt French.

Splendidly he relates in his autobiography seeing a beautiful town in (I think) Belgium disfigured by garish adverts for Coca Cola and being moved, him and his students, to a night time of guerilla poster stripping!

The Bach suites are extraordinary pieces - a serenity binds each one as it explores every facet of potential mood, moving back and forth from a still centre. They recognise every facet of our humanity and witness to a core of yet something other - a divine image dancing in each and every particularity of our step.


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