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Trails and Euros


I have always been fascinated by the omnipresent ghosts of the past, the myriad diversities of the present, and the hopes of artistic possibilities to come. These three tenses permeate our world.

Living as I do in mainland Europe, every day of the past few months has been a countdown to the Euro. The commotion has been more than a little invasive. Never have so many people used a single currency since the days of the Roman Empire, or so we have been reminded daily, for months.

Jennifer Paull

I survived both the decimalisation of the British pound and performing 'live' in an avant garde concert series on BBC radio in the same year, 1971. No mere mental calculation relative to a new currency could induce anything approaching parallel panic within me, in spite of the daily doses of media hysteria.

In the days before the telephone, web site and computer, how was it possible for a musician at the Swedish court of the 18th century, for example, to know that the best place to study composition was Bologna, Italy? The oldest of Europe's universities had been drawing scholars from all over the civilised world since the 12th century. Of course, the 'civilised world' wasn't by any means the size it is today, but neither were transport timetables.

Musicians came to study with the greatest teacher of composition, Jean-Baptiste Martini, on horseback. Born in Bologna in 1706, he lived to the ripe old age of 78, a remarkable achievement at the time. Martini's influence upon musicians of several generations was considerable.

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Copyright © 11 January 2002 Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland






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