Founded in 1923 by Sir Compton Mackenzie and Christopher Stone as ‘an organ of candid opinion for the numerous possessors of gramophones’

Music can help to heal the divisions in society

We live in a world of division – though of course, sadly, we always have. Sometimes we ignore it, muddling on or turning away. But sometimes events force those divisions unavoidably into the public eye. The horrific massacre in Nice; the following day the attempted coup in Turkey. And, in the UK, a referendum which threw stark and overdue light on divisions within British society. Light illuminates the divisions, but also enables us to see more clearly the cracks, the better to address them. Music has a proud history of uniting, sometimes intentionally, sometimes simply as a reflection of what it is and does. At a high-profile level, projects such as Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra bring players from different backgrounds together and inspire their audiences. Concerts such as the Beethoven Ninth that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall can be as eloquent as any speech. Or the playing (and tears) from Rostropovich in Dvo∑ák’s Cello Concerto, a Czech masterpiece, at the 1968 Proms on the day the Soviet tanks rolled forward to crush the Prague Spring (released by BBC Legends). Or the powerful simplicity of opening this year’s BBC Proms with the Marseillaise as a tribute to the victims of Nice and to the ideals of a free society.

But step away from the global stage, and perhaps music’s even greater unifying role is less celebrated and more subtle. I think of the extraordinary work done by teaching organisations or the education departments of orchestras, or groups like Streetwise Opera whose belief in the power of music to change the lives of homeless people found such moving testimony in a Bach St Matthew Passion earlier this year (available on YouTube). Such outreach projects are of course conceived to help the disadvantaged, but at their best it’s not always clear-cut who is the giver, and who is the recipient – such interaction channels understanding in both directions, to participants and audiences alike. A hand is extended to people to help them up, but one hopes that, through shared experiences, seeds are sown on both sides of a divide, until such a boundary becomes blurred and ultimately irrelevant. The role such community and grassroots initiatives can play in healing society cannot be overestimated, and it is where new support now needs to go if we really believe art is for everyone and can change lives – which I believe it is and can.

Finally there’s the simple fact of the international nature of music-making. Just take a single disc from this year’s Gramophone Awards shortlist: a Norwegian violinist joins a German orchestra and an American conductor in concertos by an Englishman and an American forced to flee his native Austria – and recorded by a label based in France.

Difference and division are not the same: the former can be a creative catalyst and source of learning. Division not so. The more thoughtful people today are looking at the fractures around us, reading through the rhetoric and seeking solutions. Music has a part to play in that, and where it can, we all have a responsibility to be its greatest cheerleaders: let us not waste the opportunity. martin.cullingford@markallengroup.com


‘Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony is a boon companion for di„„icult times,’ says DAVID GUTMAN,

‘The Seattle Symphony’s transformation over the past half decade under its Music Director Ludovic Morlot author of this month’s Collection. ‘Neither optimistic nor pessimistic, this is music that o„fers a realistic, Beckettian kind of hope: “You must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” The best recordings, not all of them old, make us think we can.’

has been interesting to observe,’ says THOMAS MAY, author of this month’s feature on the orchestra and its burgeoning relationship with the music of Dutilleux. ‘It really is a case study in how orchestras are adapting to new challenges.’

‘It was fascinating to attend John Wilson’s recording session for his second Aaron Copland instalment on

Chandos,’ says KATE MOLLESON, who met the down-to-earth conductor for this issue’s feature. ‘He somehow managed to draw valid parallels between the MGM musical tradition and this thorny mid-century symphonic repertoire.’

THE REVIEWERS Andrew Achenbach • David Allen • Nalen Anthoni • Tim Ashley • Mike Ashman • Richard Bratby Edward Breen • Philip Clark • Alexandra Coghlan • Rob Cowan (consultant reviewer) • Jeremy Dibble • Peter Dickinson Jed Distler • Adrian Edwards • Richard Fairman • David Fallows • David Fanning • Iain Fenlon • Neil Fisher Fabrice Fitch • Jonathan Freeman-Attwood • Charlotte Gardner • Caroline Gill • David Gutman • Christian Hoskins Lindsay Kemp • Philip Kennicott • Richard Lawrence • Andrew Mellor • Kate Molleson • Ivan Moody • Bryce Morrison Hannah Nepil • Jeremy Nicholas • Christopher Nickol • Geo„frey Norris • Richard Osborne • Stephen Plaistow Mark Pullinger • Peter Quantrill • Guy Rickards • Malcolm Riley • Marc Rochester • Patrick Rucker • Julie Anne Sadie Edward Seckerson • Hugo Shirley • Pwyll ap Siôn • Harriet Smith • David Patrick Stearns • David Threasher David Vickers • John Warrack • Richard Whitehouse • Arnold Whittall • Richard Wigmore • William Yeoman

Gramophone, which has been serving the classical music world since 1923, is irst and foremost a monthly review magazine, delivered today in both print and digital formats. It boasts an eminent and knowledgeable panel of experts, which reviews the full range of classical music recordings. Its reviews are completely independent. In addition to reviews, its interviews and features help readers to explore in greater depth the recordings that the magazine covers, as well as o fer insight into the work of composers and performers. It is the magazine for the classical record collector, as well as for the enthusiast starting a voyage of discovery.