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In a new series, international musician and writer
JENNIFER PAULL shares some of her musical memories

September 11th 2001


The year 2001 will stay etched in our collective memory through a series of horrific television images that encapsulate man's inhumanity and injustice to man. We were all touched in one way or another, wherever we live. September didn't improve, it worsened. Adding to this unfolding tragedy for all innocent people everywhere, others died at the hands of an invisible killer brought to them by the Post Office.

I was preparing to give a concert of four Bach Cantatas with solo oboe d'amore obligato in the United States. A cell of suspicious terrorist activity was found adjacent to the very college to which I was going, arrests were made, crop spraying feared, and white powder found dumped to install panic. The latter turned out to be a hoax, but somehow the horror of it all was very near even though I live in a Swiss village at the foothills of Mont Blanc.

For the first time in my life, something held me back from Bach. I felt outrage, I felt disappointment, and I felt sad. My concert was altered, I was let off the musical hook for a future date, tickets were cancelled and refunded, yet I wondered whether I would ever again be able to assemble the necessary jigsaw of pieces enabling such an oboe d'amore marathon.

In all the real horror and grief, a minor detail such as my concert held no place. Something about the failure to realise it was eating me away with frustration, but I couldn't put my finger on exactly what it was.

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Copyright © 31 December 2001 Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland





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