Fevers, Frets, and Futures: A music reflection of uncertain times and new challenges
David Warren (Year 4, Leicester)
In the past three years, anxiety surrounding COVID-19 has been widespread. Fretting over threats to our health, economic, and social models, alongside broader challenges of the pandemic, has been a status quo, with questions of ‘what if’ and ‘what of the future’ playing a major role. Every health and political system across the globe has been put to the test. It is regretful that in many cases the responses of leaders have often been ‘improvisational, occasionally bordering on the absurd’, which was especially unsettling in the period before vaccines arrived.
The future holds some promise but continues to be uncertain. Whilst relative stability from high levels of vaccination and infection has offered a crutch, there is much yet to be understood about long-term control and long-term health repercussions. We have, in the words of Prof Peter Oppenheimer, ‘become rather accustomed to hearing large numbers and thinking, Well, it could be worse’.
The arts have long been used as a remedy to the frets surrounding uncertainty and even fevers.  Through recent lockdowns, musical offerings have been extended – some more welcome than others – from a celebrity rendition of Imagine to the BBC’s Big Night In.
My short musical reflection on ‘Fevers, Frets, and Futures’ spreads from a small musical motif based on three ‘F’ pitches which eventually sweep across the whole orchestra.
The first section traces a gradual rise in pitch and intensity, reflecting the emotional and literal spiking of a fever and a pandemic. The middle section releases the instruments of the orchestra into a cacophony of fretting, with heated dialogues between various parties. The final section looks forward to the future. A brighter feel takes hold but is ultimately overshadowed by the underlying sense of uncertainty that pervades the day-to-day in national and global economic and political climates.
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