In Denmark, the pasture is alive to the sound of music

Published on: Amended:

Stevns (Denmark) (AFP)

A concert for the cows? Unable to perform during the pandemic, a cellist in Denmark turned to an unusual audience, an experience so rewarding that it continues even after concert halls reopen.

“Playing for cows is a continuation of what I have always done in my solo career: I am passionate about bringing classical music out of the concert hall,” Jacob Shaw told AFP.

The British musician, who is also a teacher at the Marshall Academy in Barcelona, ​​has established a cello school in the countryside in Stevns, an hour south of Copenhagen, performing throughout the region.

“During the crown, of course, that wasn’t always possible and we decided to move on to the next best thing – playing for the animals,” said the 30-year-old.

In the fall, he convinced a music-loving farmer to expose his cattle to classical music to improve their welfare.

“When he told me about it, I didn’t think it was crazy but rather exciting. I feel the calming effect of music on my own body, so I thought it would be the same for cows. , and I was right. ” said Mogens Haugaard.

The cows were first introduced to the classical repertoire through loudspeakers installed in their barn in winter, but it quickly seemed to strike a chord with the cattle audience.

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– ‘They liked him’ –

“Everyone got to see from the first time they liked them, so we kept going. Now they get used to it and the result is that they are incredibly nice and healthy animals,” said the cellist, who also runs a music festival in Charente. department, says.

“They’re calmer and more relaxed. They’re easier to approach,” Haugaard said.

Cattle even have their preferences, Shaw argues, although the subtlety may escape the layman.

“They react differently to different tracks, we played something a little more catchy and a little more modern and a lot of them didn’t like it and left,” he said.

“I think the type of piece that comes closest to their vocals, their mooing, is actually similar to the sound of a cello, which is why it’s so popular with them,” he said. added.

If he sometimes comes to play alone, the cellist is also often accompanied by one or more musicians who have come to spend time in his institution, the Scandinavian Cello School, which opened in 2016.

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According to Shaw, performing outdoors in front of this perhaps less demanding audience helps guest performers relieve some of the stress of a performance.

“If they have the chance to play in front of the cows, I think it allows them to relax and enjoy more of what they are doing.”

– ‘Different perspective’ –

Roberta Verna, a 22 year old violinist, came to Stevns to “get a different perspective on things”.

Holding a Stradivarius, Verna, along with Shaw, performed songs by Reinhold Gliere and Bela Bartok for the ruminants, who were apparently as moved by the beauty of the melody as they were by the distribution of food.

“It was a different situation than usual, but not worse. It was really interesting because they really listen. And they respect us”, explained the young musician.

At the end of the quarter-hour concert, the second of the day for the cattle, calves and cows quietly grazing the pasture while waiting for the next recital.


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