Presto News - 23rd April 2007
I remember listening to Daniel Barenboim’s Reith Lectures last year and the main focus of the five-lecture series was what he called 'the neglected sense' - the ear. He believes that, despite the fact that our hearing is the first sense we all develop (unborn babies can hear in the womb about 5 months before being born), in the modern world it is neglected as a result of muzak (the constant drone of background music you hear everywhere from hotel lifts to car parks) and by an undue emphasis on the visual.
Joshua Bell - ignored
What started me thinking about this again was an article I read this week in the Washington Post where they had asked violinist Joshua Bell to play at a Washington Metro station one Friday rush hour morning to see if a great musician playing great music could draw the attention of the busy commuters.
The answer was a resounding 'no'. Of the 1,097 people who passed Bell that morning only seven stopped to take in the performance - at least for a minute. After being initially astonished by such statistics I've now resigned myself to mere disappointment. It seems such a shame that so many people had the opportunity to hear something special that morning - whether classical music fans or not, something which could genuinely uplift their lives - and all but seven of them missed it.
Chris O'Reilly - firstname.lastname@example.org
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