On Sunday, April 21, after a very bleak week of horrific news from Boston to Texas to China to Baghdad, the London–based Legatum Institute presented a choral concert, composed by Sir John Tavener, at the Washington National Cathedral. The power of music to lift the soul was once again demonstrated. US News reports that Tavener attended the concert much to the delight of the audience. Some comments:
Jeffrey Gedmin, an American who is the institute’s chief executive officer, said Legatum’s multi–disciplinary approach does not treat arts and culture as a kind of a dessert nor as a diversion from the social sciences. Rather, he said, they are part of any society’s sum and can make the sum larger than its parts in a ways that cannot always be measured in an index. Gedmin connected dots between his past and present by reaching out to his Vienna, Va. high school music teacher, the maestro Robert Shafer, who deftly conducted the concert.
In the end, Gedmin had orchestrated a rare convergence that clearly crossed (or blurred) Anglo–American lines. It was practically a public service after a bleak week. More than a thousand people swelled in a crescendo of emotion to the choir’s rousing renditions of Tavener’s works and a handful of classics, including “Jerusalem.” But the anthem “God Save the Queen” brought the house down.
Read it all here.