Sport and politics, we now know, are intimately intertwined; the allocation of the world championship to Qatar proves that. The game of two times 11 players plus a ball has long since become a multi-billion dollar industry, with host countries trying to paint their battered reputations.

    Art and politics cannot be neatly separated either, and even the least tangible of all arts, music, has a political context.

    Enough nagging, can we also just enjoy? After the concert I hurry to tram number three, which stops in front of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. This is my favorite cosmopolitan moment in Amsterdam: the outgoing concert crowd, the jostling, frock coats and high heels chatting. I always think that’s how things were in Vienna and Berlin during the interwar period. Classical music talk in the street.

    Chineke’s concert just now! visited, the British multi-ethnic orchestra where white musicians do not predominate. Can you hear that from the tones, whether a black or brown or white musician is playing? No. You see it on stage and you can sometimes deduce it from the orchestra’s choice of repertoire. Chinese! chose works by three black composers: the 19th century Briton Coleridge Taylor and the 20th century Americans Walker and Price. With those last two you suddenly hear the blues.

    Three other concertgoers in the tram, young people. The man explains to his two friends that you shouldn’t really clap between the movements of a symphony; not even with Dvorak’s 9th, full of black, American spiritual sounds, with which Chineke! closed.

    And what the young man is right; he knows the mores as well as I do. And yet my hands started to applaud after that first part of Dvorak. There were more hands in the room participating. It was out of enthusiasm for the piece, but also for the performers, that proved that western, classical music is just as much a business for brown and black people. That sounds like an open door, but that door was pretty closed in the past. See the frustrations of Nina Simone who became known as a singer but actually wanted to become a classical pianist. Virtually impossible at the time (1950) in the United States.

    During the intermission of the concert I ran into the Dutch celebrity and BS (Famous Surinamer) Gerda Havertong. Delighted. “It’s like I was playing there myself.”

    The philosopher Kant described the experience of beauty as “disinterested pleasure.” But we cherished our interests and so belonged to the F-side of classical music for a while.

    Stephen Sanders writes a column here every Monday.

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