Brother. The first time someone outside my family called me “brother” – well, that was a memorable moment. Some 25 years ago, while I studied political sciences in Munich, I had picked up a stranded student from Nigeria, well dressed in a suit, not knowing anybody in Germany, not speaking a word of German and naively hoping to begin his engineering studies within a few weeks. Or was it me who was naive? Anyway, my sense of solidarity compelled me to help him out with a warm meal, that he insisted to pay back, with directions as where to find the university, the dining hall and the Studentenwerk. And I tried to find some Nigerian expats who could guide him through the first weeks in Germany.
Today, Luxembourg celebrates its national holiday. For decades, this day has been marked by cherished traditions: fireworks, a military parade and a solemn mass with an even more solemn Te Deum. Lully, Bach, Händel, Haydn, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Berlioz, Kodaly, Britten… many composers have set this early Christian hymn of praise to music. But one of the most impressive versions I know has been written by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, who turned 80 last year. I have a wonderful record released by the German label ECM recorded by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra conducted by Tonu Kaljuste.