My first encounter with a stereo headset was in high school; my friend (and choir seatmate) Vik Berstis insisted that there was something magical about the device, and forced me to listen to–well, I really don’t remember what. But I did agree about the magic.
For a long time, the “most magical” headset recording I knew was the Robert Shaw Chorale’s recording of the Bach B-Minor Mass, a rendition I first encountered in a college Music Appreciation class (it’s actual name was Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Stravinsky–but that’s probably another day’s tale). One evening’s listening assignment included the last few movements of the Mass–Sanctus, and the several Osanna movements–and the only word was heavenly. The Dona Nobis at the end, in particular, builds from every side to a glorious climax of chorus and trumpets and kettle drums. Every time I hear the music it takes me back to a little room in the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center….
This little reminiscence courtesy of my Mac, which doubles as a music box. Every night I feed a few CDs to the machine, then (circumstances permitting) I don a headset at work the next day and listen mostly to randomly-ordered “new” musicks. So far I’ve stored about 5,000 “songs” in iTunes, and it looks like I’ll reach 6K before I run out of compact disks.
One of last night’s imports was the Eurythmic’s Sweet Dreams album, and the title song came up a few minutes ago. There’s really nothing like it; this song was clearly engineered in a headset. I’m not much of an Annie Lennox fan, but I really like this one song. Hard to believe, though, that I’ve been listening to it for twenty-some years.