I have an MP3 player hooked up to some old computer speakers in my workshop. The little harddrive holds a lot of music, but I don't bother much with it. With all the racket I rarely hear much of it, so the same things can cycle around quite a bit without getting boring.
Sometimes, during a quiet interregnum, the music will synch itself with the slant of the light through the window, and the lull in the fighting, and the effect can be quite profound. Like the shade of a tree on a hot day. Which brings us to Ombra mai fu, from Handel's opera Xerxes. It's an aria about the shade of a tree, after all.
Tender and beautiful fronds
of my beloved plane tree,
let Fate smile upon you.
May thunder, lightning, and storms
never bother your dear peace,
nor may you by blowing winds be profaned.
A shade there never was,
of any plant,
dearer and more lovely,
or more sweet.
Ombra mai fu was probably the first piece of music ever broadcast on the radio.
On the evening of December 24, 1906 (Christmas Eve), Fessenden used the alternator-transmitter to send out a short program from Brant Rock. It included a phonograph record of Ombra mai fu (Largo) by George Frideric Handel, followed by Fessenden himself playing the song O Holy Night on the violin. Finishing with reading a passage from the Bible: 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will' (Gospel of Luke 2:14). He petitioned his listeners to write in about the quality of the broadcast as well as their location when they heard it. Surprisingly, his broadcast was heard several hundred miles away, however accompanying the broadcast was a disturbing noise. This noise was due to irregularities in the spark gap transmitter he used. (Wikipedia)
Hmm. A beautiful piece of music, during a time of quiet and reflection, interrupted by a disturbing noise. Handel had me pegged.
(The whole opera on DVD at Amazon: Handel - Serse / Rasmussen, Piau, Bayrakdarian, Bardon, Hallenberg, Peirone, Lippi, Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques, Dresden Opera)