Monday, January 31, 2011

Attention to the Details

As Columbo used to say, "Oh -- just one more thing ..."

I just began writing articles for Suite101.com with a review of the opening night concert for the new home of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach. But one small thing I omitted is a wonderful example of the fantastic attention to detail that is evident in all aspects of this project.

You know that chime that tells people to put down their drinks in the lobby and get to their seats? The one that goes "bong ... bong ... bong ..." or maybe "bing bong ... bing bong ... ?"

Well that's not good enough for the New World Center. I was delighted to hear the chimes play an entire little tune. And even more delighted when I recognized it as one of the oldest known pieces of Western music: the "Seikilos epitaph" that was discovered engraved on a tombstone in Turkey, and which dates from over 2,000 years ago.

(If you're wondering how I happened to recognize such an old song, it's because I discovered it while researching the article I wrote about the discovery of some bone flutes from the Ice Age -- perhaps the oldest musical instruments ever found.)

So when you go to the New World Center, even in the act of being ushered to your seat you are being reminded of the wonderfully long and rich history that has delivered us to this new golden age. Here are the lyrics [translated] so you can sing along:

While you live, shine,
don't suffer anything at all;
life exists only a short while,
and time demands its toll.
So in other words, eat, drink and be merry!

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