If you could live at any time in history, what would be your choice? That
question is one which often arises in conversation, and articles in various
publications. People are fascinated by the possibility of other times which may
be viewed as romantic, heroic, or more virtuous. The fantasy is usually a
harmless one, and has provided much amusement to those who indulge.
When asked, my answer has always been that I would choose to go forward in time,
rather than back. For me, the world is full of new wonders, The past seems less
pleasant than today or tomorrow. This is not to say that the wonders of
yesterday should go without notice. Today's technology makes it possible for us
to enjoy much which has gone before.
There are museums, buildings, books, pictures, sheet music, dance notation, and
recordings: which enable us to appreciate the pleasures of many ages. One of the
joys of modern travel is the ability to visit a historic setting, then retreat
to a hotel room with a private bath.
Recently, I had occasion to enjoy the best of yesterday and today during the
Friends came to my home for dinner. We had a lovely meal, prepared in the
convenience of a modern kitchen, and I could relax knowing that most of the mess
would be cleaned in the dishwasher. After the main course, we moved to the
living area to sit a while with our coffee before having dessert.
It was time for a modern miracle which made the passage of time seem irrelevant.
I have a wide-screen television, surround-sound, and an interest in seeking out
good video. When everyone was settled on sofas or chairs, the entertainment
began. It was a digitally re-mastered DVD of Yehudi Menuhin in a 1948 recital,
playing Mendelsohn's Violin Concerto with encores which included Brahm's
What an experience it was to have a private command performance by such a great
master. We all applauded vigorously, and felt the special glow of having heard
musical beauty. Over dessert, our conversation was full of wonder and gratitude
for the ability to have enjoyed all this together.
There was a time when great performances once given, were gone forever. Now,
many have been made available for the ages. I've heard Horowitz play in Moscow,
Jacqueline DuPre in recital, and the gala to celebrate the 300th anniversary of
the city of St Petersburg: all on DVD. Your tastes may run to a different sort
of music, but you too can enjoy magnificence at home.
Today is full of miracles, and tomorrow will be as well. Isn't it a blessing to
be alive right now?
Copyright 2009 Eddy Robey