I took a Martha Argerich collection out of the library last week. Solo recordings for Deutsche Grammophon. There are eight CDs, too much to digest. For a while I’m happy just to look at the covers.
Does anything apart from those Deutsche Grammophon covers convey more powerfully the sense that the 1970s and 1980s were a very different time? This sense might be a fiction, but the fact stands: in these decades classical music and chess had some clout.
Television stations still screened concerts and even the occasional opera (I remember seeing opera on television for a moment when I was a little boy. I was with my uncle and he was flicking stations. It baffled him, and he said it was “bullshit”).
It feels like chess and some aspect of classical music – maybe a vague sense that it was still, to some extent, a living tradition – vanished when the Iron Curtain fell.