Many people don’t realize it in everyday life, but our ability to hear is much more advanced and complex than our vision. We can blindly recognize a single voice within
thousands, we can locate a dropping coin with closed eyes, we can tell the model of a car passing outside, including the condition of its engine. In a simple experiment, normal people can learn to point at the picture frames hanging on a wall in a completely dark room – after clapping their hands and listening to the echo. We can hear noises, tones, timbres, echoes, rhythms, dynamics, paces and textures to an extent that sometimes even can become a burden. Yet the opposite side of the medal is our ability to enjoy sounds, especially the sound of music, in incredible richness. When people travel to the ocean, they can see it in real, but the overwhelming part of the experience is the sound of the breaking waves. Once a violinist becomes a world class virtuoso, his or her performance would be incomplete without a Stradivari or Guarneri. The world’s leading concert halls would hardly consider anything else than a Steinway D as their permanent piano. The biggest single cultural investment the City of Hamburg ever made is its ultra sophisticated concert hall, the magnificent Elbphilharmonie. When it comes to the wealth of listening, no effort is too great.