Watching the Euros

8th July 2021 | Daily Life, Musings | 4 comments

I’ve been watching the Euro 2020 football matches on TV – to the surprise of some of my friends. But I find that things are always interesting once you start to know a bit about them, and as there is so much coverage of the championship, it makes sense to take an interest.

As I don’t know the first thing about football, I watch as if I’m watching a musical performance, or perhaps a dance event. I use the same yardsticks that I do when assessing how convincing a musical ensemble is – tempo, flow, intensity, dynamic movement, individual brilliance. The relationship of each player with the ball (in this analogy, ball = music). The ‘entrainment’ one can observe in the way the whole team moves around the pitch, which differs quite a bit from one team to another.

Surprisingly, or perhaps not all that surprisingly, my musical yardsticks work rather well. I’m often right about which team is going to win, even though I couldn’t join in with the most basic discussion of football tactics. I suppose it’s only natural that the same ingredients of tempo and flow which have to be mastered for a musical performance should be discernible on the sports field as well.


  1. James

    How interesting, Susan. I never took you for a football fan!
    I’m listening right now to your recording of the Faure Piano Quartets and I would appreciate some information about why you revere this composer so highly.
    I’ve followed the Florestan Trio and Domus through some of the highways and byways of the repertoire with pleasure over the years, yet Faure still seems mysterious to me. It’s beautiful music, admittedly, but I wonder what makes him so seemingly central to your outlook as a musician and as an artist.
    By the way, I hope your team wins!

    • Susan Tomes

      James, I’m not sure I could put the appeal of Fauré into words – love of Fauré’s music sort of crept up on me, as it did on my fellow musicians too.
      As you say, his music is beautiful, but it also shows an amazing grasp of how to unfold a long line of music, with tension increasing and decreasing in a very controlled and absorbing way. The late works also seem to evoke the distant past – mediaeval music and plainsong, with their spiritual atmosphere. Whenever I’ve worked on one of Fauré’s chamber pieces, we’ve all found that his music sticks in our head and plays over and over. Everyone found it sort of addictive.

  2. Kartikeya

    That was amazing Susan! That’s a great way of showing that the expertise or the knowledge that we have in one field can be extrapolated to other fields as well. Thanks for this wonderful article.

    • Susan Tomes

      Thank you Kartikeya! What a nice response.


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