As I tiredly sloped from the Jubilee Line at London Bridge to the Northern Line a few weeks ago (I don’t know how many steps are involved, but enough to make it painful the day after a 5k run) last night, I listened to the recording of La Traviata featuring Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti. If iTunes files were vinyl records, I would have scratched right through the record of this opera, I’ve listened to it so many times. There is nothing in my (granted, quite charmed) life that cannot be improved with a good dose of top E flat from the end of Act One.
When I was about 15, I spent a summer playing a lot of cricket. I think I played an average of 3 matches a week for the school term and then 2 a week during the holiday. Plus training. It was a lot. And we lived in the countryside, and we almost always had to drive west, and we always took the same route west. And it was the summer that The Book Accumulator had rediscovered or bought a CD called “The Best Sixties Album Ever” or some such, and I cannot listen to one track on that CD without remembering a specific junction at Billingshurst (which is a crossroads, more than a village, in West Sussex).
I’m waffling. My point with all of this is – now that music has been taken primarily out of the performance arena* and into permanent background noise, have we changed it? Is that spectacular E flat any less or more spectacular for the fact that I last listened to it descending a grotty station staircase with the rest of London? Am I unusual in my preference to have music playing ALL the time? And how good are Bluetooth earphones?
*If anyone has spare tickets to a performance of any Verdi opera, ever, with any orchestra/soloists, I’m interested. My twitter handle, if not readingwithtea, would be Verdiaddict.