At last night’s rehearsal, we basses practiced the modest section in The Peacemakers where we take the limelight. It was a revealing moment.
We were singing in the style of a Gregorian chant, the words being provided by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It’s one thing to read or listen to these words; it is quite another to sing them properly. Singing them makes you think about them and what they really mean. And they are challenging.
Particularly so this week for me, as I had been sounding off to anyone who would listen about the dreadful nature, in my view, of most, if not all, politicians. Until, that is, a friend reminded me of two old adages. “Countries get the politicians their people deserve”, and “Politicians tend to reflect the nature of their constituents”.
Hmmmm. Does that mean that I am part of the problem? It is indeed exactly what the Dalai Lama means when he writes – and we basses sing – “Peace starts within each one of us”.
That set me looking at the rest of the words in The Peacemakers. In some ways it is Jenkins’ choice of the text rather than his music whch make this piece special. Yes, the music adds to the words, but the words are fundamental to communicating the nature of this work to an audience.
It is good that Carlos, as always, makes us reflect on the words we are singing. Our performance could be, in its own modest way, one of that myriad of small actions which lead to a more peaceful world.