Published on 30 March 2020

SPH Digital News / Copyright © 2020 Singapore Press Holdings

Two scheduled concerts of choral and orchestral music were quickly reduced to one concert of music for a small string ensemble led by Singapore conductor Darrell Ang.

If this drastic change had seemed a bit of a let-down for potential concertgoers, as it transpired, it turned out to be a prescient decision.

With the hall closed to the public, such an intimate ensemble was perfect for the medium of a live webcast broadcast on the SSO's YouTube channel (where you can still watch it) and, with just 32 string players on stage, it meant they could spread out sufficiently to conform to guidelines on social distancing.

The World Health Organisation has asked people to ditch the phrase "social distancing" and this concert showed why.

The musicians may have been physically a metre or more apart, but that seemed to increase the social cohesion evident in their playing.

This performance had a real sense of intimacy, brought about not so much by the camera lenses which allowed audiences at home to get close to the players in a way they never could in the concert hall, but because the players themselves imbued everything with an overwhelming sense of togetherness.

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