Music means many different things

Took the 100 bus to Cap d’Ail. The Beaverbrook stop. I tend to look down on bus-takers who queue in a huddled and disorderly way outside the Park Palace building for the long yellow bus back to the seething suburbs of Nice, or worse. It’s much smarter to take the Number 1 or 2 up to Monaco Ville.

However, one can never come back if one never leaves, so I pulled my mask up higher and paid my 1 euro 50 with the rest of them and got off in the centre of Cap d’Ail, crossed the road while trying to cause speeding motorcyclists to crash, preferably into each other, and then came back. It’s three euros well spent.

There’s almost always a great deal going on in Monaco, and I was delighted to be the guest of a very dear friend at Thursday night’s Lang Lang concert.

There was no break as he – Lang Lang – played Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and we all sat there in the auditorium for two hours with our masks on, except for the celebrated Chinese pianist.

I found that rather ironic, given that coronavirus started in his land of birth. Perhaps he knows something the rest of us don’t.

Like many intellectuals with strong opinions, I am a great admirer of Bach. In fact, every other composer, with the possible exception of Handel, Vivaldi, Purcell, plus a few more Italians, seems to be missing something.

In passing, it’s important to note that there are very few prominent Austrian composers from the Baroque era, when music reached its zenith. I suppose to be a great composer a sense of humour is needed.

Anyway, the famous Chinese pianist finished and then the applause started and seemed as if it would never end. He took one, two, three curtain calls. My hands were hurting. Coming back for the fourth wave of adulation, Lang Lang once again took his place as a hush spread over the masked music-loving multitude.

There was universal appreciation of his undoubted genius. Almost.

“Merde,” muttered the man behind us. He had things to do in Cap d’Ail.

The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the publishers