Have you ever noticed that if you have an opinion about something it can easily be dismissed or agreed upon as soon as you know there’s a term or explanation for it?

For example I used to reject as distasteful olive oils that were so spicy they burned the back of my throat until I learned that the best olive oils in the world should burn the back of your throat and that without this burn they are neither extra virgin nor as healthful for you. Now that there’s a label (true extra virgin olive oil) and an explanation I can then choose to either change my opinion or reject the notion as hogwash. In this case, by the way, I changed my opinion.

This subject recently came up when I was complaining to a friend of mine that many of the older operatic divas ruined the music for me with the use of too much vibrato and an over-affectation of their voice at the beginning of a phrase that sometimes reminds me of my grandmother. I can hear that this is an added affection because when they sing duets the technique goes away and they’re beautiful again.

My friend dismissed my dislike for the singing as “the style” of the day and therefore it should be appreciated for what it was.


Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Chicago Symphony in our homes?

To my post yesterday one of my readers posted a comment that was so well written and so to the point I just had to share with the rest of you.

“If I were wealthy enough, I would hire the Chicago Symphony to be my personal musicians, and, if I could, I would bring back George Solti and Carlo Maria Giulini to conduct, and while I was at it, I would take Adolf Herseth back 20 years (I have some recordings that kind of do that!). But then to make it real I should also hire some lady with a sinus problem to sit behind me, an old guy to snore next to me, and a young couple to sit in front so that the young gentleman can try to impress the young beauty by telling her what is coming up next at every transition.

A real plus for recorded music is that we get to pick the time and material. Sometimes I am at a concert of Mahler’s 2nd, 3rd, or 8th, and I don’t have the attention span or concentration to get into the music, no matter how well performed. On the other hand, sometimes at 10:27 am on a Saturday Mahler would be well received by my nervous system, but if not, maybe some Coltrane, Dire Straits or Willie Nelson would be. If so I am only a few clicks or a vinyl prep ritual away from a “close to the real thing” event that I can control.

I won’t have the lady with the sinus problem behind me, however.”

Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.