Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Polite listening

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I do not like to attend concerts with other people, with very few exceptions.  The experience is too precious to me.  If I am bored, as I often am, I want to fall asleep.  If I am disappointed, as I often am--I can be interested in the music while not enjoying the playing--I don't want to have to talk about it, as I don't like discouraging other people from finding interest in what they are listening to.  Live listening always takes precedence over individual taste.

If, on the other hand, I do enjoy what I am hearing, everyone around me knows it whether or not we have been formally introduced.  This often leads to conversation with total strangers, not only in clubs but also in concert halls.

When Artur Rubinstein played in Carnegie Hall I invariably sat in the balcony, some seven flights of stairs up and down.  On the way down, again invariably, total strangers would converse about the excitement of the evening, as if we had all been guests at a generous feast.