Yogi Berra had a famous expression: "It's deja vu all over again." He might have been describing classical music as most of us experience it.  We've heard it already; we know how it goes. Ho hum.
But what if we haven't really heard it?  What if the performance was lackluster, but not the music itself?  Are we willing to give it a second chance?
Sometimes I tune in the radio at random, just to test my capacity to pay attention objectively.  Often I am surprised by what I hear.   Wow!  That's interesting playing!  I wonder who it is?  When it turns out to be an artist whose work I have admired in the past it confirms my initial impression.
Sometimes I chance to hear the announcement of what is about to be played:  that is a real test.  I recall once hearing that it was to be Schubert's "Death and the Maiden" string quartet.  Yikes, I thought.  Anything but that!  But, instead of turning the dial I gave it a try.  It took no more than the first two bars to proves that this was an extraordinary ensemble.  I never heard the piece played like that and it firmly fixed the Balcea quartet in my universe among the best in the business.


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