January 13, 2023
 by Paul McGowan

Ever notice how time flies when you’re having fun? Or engaged? Or smitten?

If I am required to listen to not-so-great music I find myself checking the minutes left on the track.

Put on a piece that not only sounds great but the music is clicking with my mood and time seems not to exist.


There are any number of quality indicators for great sound and great music but timeless is one that is almost never wrong.

Once you find yourself lost in the music it’s as if the world just stops and takes a break while you connect.


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22 comments on “Timeless”

  1. For me “timeless” in connection with music has a different meaning.

    It’s music ahead of its time and listenable as progressive, innovative and contemporary even decades later (not a standard Blue Note blowing session, not KOB). KOB would be a timeless classic in contrary (without the 3 characteristics I mentioned).

  2. “ required to listen to not-so-great music”

    I guess you put yourself in that position. How much are you really hearing while constantly flipping the wrist?… Watching time very slowly march on for eternity and probably preoccupied with thoughts of what else you could be doing.

    It may be that if most people (consumers) pick a recording that evokes clock watching – then the listening session music choice quickly changes.

  3. Paul: “[…]a quality indicator. “
    Corollary: listening to the end is an unequivocal tick of excellence.
    For me, Scheherazade, the Thomas Beecham version is unstoppable.

  4. Opera, especially Handel, is a good test. You have to sit motionless for 3 or 4 hours. If it’s a good ‘un, you don’t notice the lack of blood flowing to your nether regions and your back seizing up. If it’s a dud, it can become a living agony.

    The worst was a fairly recent performance by Rosas to the tune of Biber’s Mystery Sonatas, 2+ hours and no interval. Debra Craine writing in The Times gave it 1 star, which it didn’t deserve, and the headline “Mystery Sonatas / for Rosa review — a mind-numbingly boring endurance test”. Time stood still on that occasion. There was no remote control or fast forward button available.

    1. Steven,

      You write about this sitting motionless – mind numb – boring endurance test. How is that a form of entertainment? Sounds more like a form of torture.
      When it’s good I understand. When it’s not why not walk out? Maybe it’s not socially acceptable, but unless I was chained in my seat are there were armed sharpshooters strategically placed in the venue I’d be long gone. If I became banned from those performances for life then I’d ask why the hell I ever got involved in the 1st place. If walking out ostracized me from some societal group I’d give them the proverbial middle finger and move on.
      I just don’t get it….

      1. We do walk out, and we walked out of that one after 75 minutes, but we should have left after 15. Theatre it’s very difficult – people get angry – so you have to wait for an interval. At quite a few places like Covent Garden the doors are closed so you have to wait for an interval. I normally take a book to the theatre because my walking out % is quite high and I have to wait for the wife, but recently we’ve had a good run of successes. Philip Glass’s opera Orfeo reached a pretty high pain threshold.

        We used to go to quite a lot of “experimental” dance and years ago I remember a one-man show when so many people left during the first half, when he finished he stood at the front of the stage and asked the remaining audience to please come back for the second half. We went for an Indian instead.

        Kenneth MacMillan is in the top 5 of 20th century choreographers and his work is still the core choreography of the Royal Ballet, and it performed widely across the world. His last full ballet before he died in 1992 was called The Judas Tree and we walked out of that, I think it may have been the opening night. So we’ve walked out on the best.

        1. I understand etiquette and consideration of other patrons. But also they should understand – I’m guessing the good experiences out weigh the bad ones.

        2. I think for those of us who regularly go to live performance, it’s also about money. It adds up if you go a lot and it’s annoying to walk out of a show when you have to make choices in the first place what to see.

          1. I left at the intermission of La fille du Regiment when Pavarotti decided not to show up at the last second. It wasn’t worth it, even if the Met was a nightmare driving to and then fro. Better to go home. No sunk cost here.

    2. Steven after 50 years of attending concerts i concluded that I should just walk out the moment I find myself looking at my watch. I have encountered closed doors and found that threatening to call 911 with a police complaint of being kept captive against my will in front of an attendant functions as a very effective Open Sesame. I know this is very harsh. And I have never done it when a musician I respect is just having an “off” night. But I am no longer willing to pay to endure torture

      1. One answer is never going to an opening night, as you get to see the reviews. The Rosas thing I mentioned we went on the second night. Rosas is always sold out and we were surprised it was only half full. Obviously many had read the reviews and not turned up. We’ve done that before.

        You need a watch to look at it. Bad plays give me a stiff neck. I remember seeing a brilliant play and it was only towards the end I realised I’d seen it before, because the first time Liam Neeson was in the lead role and he was so bad I spent most of the time with neck ache. The second time was the wonderful Rupert Everett. Glenn Gould playing Mozart piano sonatas is the same experience, he plays so slowly they are unrecognisable and unlistenable.

  5. One album comes to mind immediately is Tom Waits “Mule Variations”. There are many others, but this is one that feels sacrilegious to not listen all the way through from beginning to end with rapt attention. My favorite albums are those that are a singular work of art and not just a collection of disconnected songs. Pink Floyd “Wish You Were Here” is another fine example.

    1. Full agreement on those two, plus, of course, Dark Side of the Moon. I think Supertramp’s Crime of the Century fits that category. Many other Tom Waits’ albums are “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” The recent album “My Bluegrass Heart” by Bela Fleck is one I also want to listen to in entirety.

    2. Talking about pain, anything from Tom Waits is that sort of thing, for me … “You mean, people actually listen to this for pleasure!”

      I always think he’s just milking a one joke stand up routine …

  6. Have you noticed when everything clicks – the recording, the sound, your mood – that when the music stops, there’s a silence. It feels as if the world took a break!

  7. [Paul-Once you find yourself lost in the music it’s as if the world just stops and takes a break while you connect.]

    After listening sessions, I am often amazed how Long I’ve been immersed in the music’s emotional grip! Then I realize I have listened to 5-10 complete CD’s…Timeless!

  8. To me “timeless” is something ( music, art, cars, architecture, clothing, books ) that were produced in the past and are still popular today.

    When it comes to music I think of things like Beethoven’s 9th symphony or Beatles songs.

    Being lost in the music is great, but that does not make it timeless, it just means you really like it.

    1. Absolutely Agree, Tony! With Paul’s title, I was thinking the same (Way Too Many “timeless” songs to list, but those are two great examples)!

      Whether it is getting loss in the “timeless music” itself, or the fidelity of music reproduction pulls you into the “live performance” of a great recording, time certainly stands still as an emotional connection is made with the musicians and their art!! 😉

  9. I spent more time getting my system to what it is now than the years left in my life. Lol. Its about the fun of the chase not just listening. Wish my life was timeless so I can listen to my system forever. My son will have more time to enjoy my system than I do. I did it for him. Hopefully one day he will sit down and listen and say wow Dad really knew what he was doing. A new audiophile will be born. You really don’t know your system until you’re alone with it.

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