Watch: Yo Yo Ma plays beneath the Arc de Triomphe

At this morning’s memorial ceremony.


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  • …and, as Ma and Capuçon play the 2nd mvt of Ravel’s Violin & Cello Sonata, TV subtitles say “Ravel, Sonate pour violon et piano”, repeated by the journalist afterwards… Now playing the Bolero, and, oh wait… everybody in the orchestra is standing up at the E major modulation.

  • I switched over and heard Bolero, and thought I must have the wrong channel. I soon went back to the Cenotaph. Did they really play the whole of Bolero? Why?

    • Yes, they did play the whole of Bolero (Trump seemed slightly bored though).
      Maybe they chose it because Ravel is a symbol of courage: in 1914 he tried to join the French Air Force, but was rejected because of his slight constitution. After several tries, he joined a regiment as a lorry driver.

      • A more apt choice might have been the Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, being written for WWI veteran Paul Wittgenstein. But it has none of the same familiarity, of course (and there you’d really see Trump looking bored).

      • That may well be, but this choice of piece seemed rather inappropriate. It had the effect of an ironic comment to the ritualistic proceedings.

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