The Third Leader: Lullabies by any other name

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The Independent Online

Bravery, as we know, can take many forms. Some of today's parliamentary candidates, for example, have got the most tremendous nerve. And they are not alone. Step forward, Peter and Juliet Kindersley, philanthropists and organisers of a series of classical concerts for babies.

Bravery, as we know, can take many forms. Some of today's parliamentary candidates, for example, have got the most tremendous nerve. And they are not alone. Step forward, Peter and Juliet Kindersley, philanthropists and organisers of a series of classical concerts for babies.

There are those of us who have experienced babies, especially our own, at public performances, and tremble at the memory. We would as soon organise a concert for coughers. But the Kindersleys are fearless believers in the hormonal benefits of early exposure to good music. So much so that both born and unborn babies are invited, and toddlers, too. Toddlers. Aaargh!

Still, at a pilot performance last year, the babies were reported calm and the toddlers lively only in the right places. I would be worried that, as usual, they're just biding their time, but then I don't have the Kindersley faith in Brahms, Mendelssohn, Ravel, Mozart, Schumann and Vivaldi. And have you ever stopped parents talking to their babies all the time in that really loud voice?

I do recognise, though, that Mozart has long had his baby-based supporters; what's needed is a study of the effects of similar exposure to, say, Leonard Cohen, as I've seen what that did to most of my generation, and we were already 18. A fortiori, Genesis, Barry Manilow and the Incredible String Band.

No reason to stop with music. Recordings of Tony Blair on Iraq; Peter Snow on his swingometer; a half-time talk from Sir Alex Ferguson; all could produce fascinating results. And while we're on reassurance, I should point out to potential pregnant attendees that the Ravel is not Bolero.

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