“ ‘Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity,’ ” wrote the philosopher Simone Weil in the first half of the 20th century,” writes Zoë Madonna in Friday’s (12/14) Boston Globe. “Public life has adapted to the new constant connectivity…. But at a classical concert … listeners are typically asked to do nothing else but be present…. I most vividly recall the moments that made me forget about the distractions waiting on my phone … grateful that I was in the presence of something unrepeatable. For me, the divide between ‘enjoyable concert’ and ‘the reason I love music’ hinges on the simple question ‘Does it spark?’ … The Handel and Haydn Society consistently sparked in performance this year, [as did] the four students from ZUMIX who collaborated with composer Gonzalo Grau to perform with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra….. Roomful of Teeth’s introspective performance of David Lang’s ‘the little match girl passion’ at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum invited the audience to lean in, as did pianist Garrick Ohlsson’s easygoing rendition of a Rachmaninoff concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra…. When those sparks light up … I don’t want to do anything but be where I am.”

Posted December 17, 2018