The difference between background and foreground listening fascinates me.  There is no way to generalize about any kind of listening, of course.  But one of the assumptions of background listening is that you can opt in or out of it at any time.  Foreground listening seeks maximum attentiveness all the time.
Yesterday I played a Handel Suite that includes a set of variations, one of the more musically virtuosic set that I know of, by which I mean that it is rife with invitations to improvise timing and texture over the rather square theme, and all those invitations are revealed strictly through compositional devices--note values, textural shifts, etc.  In other words, a considerable level of musical experience is required in order to discover them.  One of the listeners really hated it: he found it tedious.  And here I was, delighting in  almost over the top freedom.  
Whatever the experience, whether positive or negative, it certainly was not in the background!


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03/09/2015 8:45am

"By heart..." Hmmm. The subject of a book, perhaps.

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