In the thick of the biggest European migration since the 1940s, with nuclear powers playing Russian roulette in Syrian skies, a Labour leader who wants to drop our defences and a Europe that is rebuilding its borders, the act of writing about music can seem futile, if not positively escapist. What benefit is there in contemplating the work of composers, the merits of interpreters and the putative meaning of black notes that fly in and above five stave lines like crows at the dawn of Armageddon?
In times of crisis we are enjoined to keep calm and carry on. But carrying on is the hardest thing to do when there is no correlation between the overriding abnormality and our concentrated preoccupation with very small things. What, in a word, is the point?
Read my current Standpoint essay here.