Recording of the Week Missed Opportunities
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.
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.