This anecdote came in over the transom from friend-of-the-blog Katherine Anderson:
I was at the Apple store the other day when a young sales associate asked me if I wanted to try the AirPods. I already had a pair, purchased many months ago, but I am so inept I hadn’t yet figured out how to operate them.
I knew the sound offered by the AirPods would be exceptional, so I chose an exceptional piece of music, Vivaldi’s Mourning Daughters of Jerusalem, sung by counter-tenor Philippe Jaroussky.
This was no ordinary listening experience. Just to put the event in context, this is an Apple store in downtown Toronto (the only one), and it is so crowded, all the time, that you have to push your way through the crowds; and the noise is so deafening that people have to yell into each others ears even when they are talking face to face. And here I was about to introduce yet another layer of sound into my ever-so delicate ears … (clearly the AirPods are not designed as headphones, cutting off surrounding sounds).
Although The Daughters of Jerusalem is a prayer of mourning, it is a beautiful, life-giving piece of music. It was a revelation to experience the sources of sounds given by the AirPods … the sound that offered respite from the intrusive, deafening noise of the Apple store, as well as the sound of the people talking next to me that was enhanced in the midst of the mayhem … amazing … It made the music feel like it had to be coming from yet another source, an inner source, as if it was coming from my heart, and I cried.
I thought of all the remarkable people at Apple whom Tim Cook speaks with such pride. They are mostly unknown to us, but they must all be artists like Vivaldi. Devoted to the art of sound, Vivaldi created sounds unknown to music in his time; Apple creates tools unknown in our time. We are, all of us, elevated by such devotion.
My take. Thank you, Katherine, for sharing your story—and for introducing me to Vivaldi’s haunting aria, which is listed on iTunes as Filiae maestae Jerusalem.