Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Ice Music, mortality, Richard Coles

Maybe you heard the Radio 4 doc the other day about the Ice Music festival in the far north of Norway. If not, the video below gives some idea of what's involved, though Richard Coles' radio interviews, chats and comments, plus a bit of sound-track, gave me a better idea.

How fascinating that sometimes the ice sounds, other times it won't. If the temperature rises, the ice instruments start melting whilst they are being played. And no, I don't think it's just a gimmick. The sounds are ethereal and beautiful, the underlying concepts rewarding, I think. I loved the musician's appreciation of unpredictability and chance.

At the end of the Radio 4 doc, someone was saying that the instruments are just left to melt away, their time is over, their music made, and then they are gone. "Like us," said the Rev Coles.

Little doors and windows started opening in the mind at this point, so brace yourself for some cliches: each of us should give up our music, unpredictably, and as naturally as possible, before melting away, job done, time over. (This next bit particularly for Buddhists:) Change back into water and then freeze again so next time around, maybe, get made up into another short-lived instrument, make some more fleeting music....

OK, it seemed more profound when it was half-thought, half-imagined, left symbolic rather than stated so baldly. So back to the ice music and enough with the cracker-barrel philosophy, Gloria.....


  1. Inspiriting thoughts for a Feb morning. Or any morning. Mmmn, it's a very beautiful metaphor, by no means bald when written down, GM. A treat to contemplate existence from a fresh obliquity.

  2. That was stated beautifully, not badly, GM. I agree with Charles, it's a lovely metaphor and, I think, a very comforting one. It also reminded me of this quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes...

    "Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out".

  3. Sorry GM, I've just re-read your last paragraph and realise you said 'baldly' not 'badly'!! I obviously need to get to the opticians...
    But again, it was beautifully, not baldly, put...

  4. Thanks CB, and what a good eye you have for a great quote! Maybe such people realise too late that life isn't a rehearsal, or as the Swansea Bard put it rather better:

    "Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
    Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light."