Haruo Shimada, the chairman of the board of the orchestra, takes the stage before the concert and speaks with a high spirit. Appearing in one piece, the orchestra is performing just as every orchestra does. No musician shows on their face emotion of a stricken family member or worry of disconnected friend. It is only in Mr. Shimada’s speech that we see the power of the musicians in front of the catastrophe.
After the concert [in the same evening of the earthquake], most of the musicians stayed over night in the hall, because they were unable to come back home due to paralysis of transportation. They slept on the floor of the hall wrapping themselves with blankets. They are here today in front of you.
There, after a round of enthusiastic applause, Mr. Shimada continues,
And a few days afterwards, we flew from Tokyo to come over to Hong Kong to see ‘you.’ We came to see you because we wanted to convey to you and share with you the message that ‘music has a special power, power of communication, power of encouragement, power of joy, power of hope, and even the meaning of life.’
You may read the full transcript here.
There is no Adagio for Strings, no Nimrod, only a brief moment of silence called for remembering the victims of the disaster. Joy prevails over the concert, with Prokofiev’s last symphony being the main work of the concert. Alexander Lazarev is a conductor full of charges and energy.
Not a single slice of sadness. This is a blessed land of good, passionate people and I wish them a quick recovery over what has happened.