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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

The Future is Fiction

Make your musical dreams come true in real time

Sernancelhe 2013, with invited concert guitarists of the jury who also performed at the Festival: from left to right: Pedro Rodrigues, Thibault Cauvin, Julio Guerreiro, Paula Sobral and Carlos Bonell (not in photo is recitalist Artur Caldeira)

Here I am at Oporto airport, Portugal, after a few lovely days spent at the Sernancelhe International Guitar Festival and Competition. Sernancehle is some 90 miles from here, up in the hills, in a rural and utterly unspoilt location with little evidence of international tourism. Much has remained unchanged in the past half century. Here gathered some of the finest guitarists of the younger generation to compete, as well as more senior members of the fraternity including yours truly to listen, judge, award and entertain in our own right eager audiences of local people.

I noticed, to my surprise and consternation, that I was the oldest plucker in their midst. I seem to have travelled in time from being a mere youth (like the competitors) to my present advanced state of three score and three years scarcely ever noticing the difference - until brought face to face with the stark reality, as in these past days!

Anyway, to return to what I was saying - I have at this moment nothing to do except wait for my flight back to London, so, as is my wont, I have bought a newspaper. Usually I buy a local one - if I am in New York it would be The New York Times,in Mexico El Nacional, but here my attention was grabbed by the nearest newspaper on the stand, El PaĆ­s from Spain.

Turning to page 38 I note the title (in Spanish) for you "To Act Or Nor To Act, That Is The Question" - I have it open at the page as I write. It refers to a gathering organised by the BBVA Foundation of 10 great and wise men and women creators from the world of Science, Economics and Music. They are all major prize-winners. The youngest is 57, and the oldest 91 - no spring chicken here.

Faced with the question of how to deal and prepare for the future there is a disconcerting agreement of opinion. They all feel it is very difficult to predict or plan for it, even when we are certain of the present. Of all of them, Susan Solomon - who researched and discovered vital aspects of the ozone layer - gives the future of her speciality the most positive spin:
"this is a new type of chemistry, opposition to it is very healthy, although there is a danger of too much of it. The truth always emerges in science, and usually quite quickly. It is a bit like a symphony, it all comes together, but this wouldn't happen without disagreement."
The point of course, is that disagreement about this matter is still very intense.

These highly intelligent people all try to balance in their discourse the demands of the present and near future with the uncertainties of the long term.

And so it may be in our small world of music too. It may be best to throw ourselves 100% into making the most of the present, with a small peak into the near future by asking ourselves questions such as what we want to achieve in the next year or two. It is good to consider further down the line (five, ten years hence) but like the larger world out there that is just conjecture, full of unpredictability.

Bearing this in mind all our technical and musical development could be planned for the right now and soon, keeping an open and flexible attitude as to how to develop and change it, just like the world of science and economics.

This brings me back to my Sernancehle experience: I have lived mostly a life rooted in the present and near future, and so have not often noticed the march of medium to long term time in my personal existence, until those occasions when I have been surrounded by the fresh faces of youth, as during this week.

Let me be honest: it has surprised but in no way disturbed me. Time and its passing is not just inevitable, it is wondrous and beautiful. Personally, we can embrace it positively. Let us hope we can say the same of the world itself in sixty three years' time!

23rd June, 2013, Oporto, Portugal

Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=2520 .
© 2019.

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