Surprised by beauty

Tonight I went to the World Premiere of a new composition by Phillip Glass. I didn't know much about his work. Most of the time when I have heard new compositions at the symphony they have been edgy, a little challenging. That's what I was expecting.

It's not that the new piece doesn't have edges. It's just that they were much smoother than I had anticipated. I was surprised by the beauty of it. Just as I was surprised in the opening notes of the evening (a different piece) by how lovely the violin really is. I had forgotten how it sings.

It is easy to be surprised by problems, by irritations and by inattention. (Don't ask about the email I received from the Prime Minister's office promising, helpfully, to forward a letter to a minister who was copied on the original). It is harder to be surprised by things that are right.

It helps to be sitting next to your favourite people (I was out with my sons tonight). It helps to be sitting still and forced to be quiet (very quiet - the programme advises that the audience should avoid quiet conversations during a piece).

It helps to expect that sometimes what surprises us will be beauty.


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