BBC Music Magazine

Track records

Music’s rail enthusiast­s


Cecilia Bartoli (pictured above) is a devotee of train travel, in part because of her well-publicised fear of flying which has limited her appearance­s in North America. In the 1990s the Italian mezzo-soprano travelled from New York to Los Angeles in a private car attached to an Amtrak train, evoking the opera singers of an earlier age. Antonín Dvorˇák was a very keen trainspott­er. Not only did he enjoy criss-crossing Europe by rail but he spent his free time chatting to workers at Franz-josef Station in Prague. He memorised internatio­nal train schedules and once claimed that the opening theme to his Symphony

No. 7 came to him at the Prague station, as a train carrying his countrymen arrived from Pest. Jean-efflam Bavouzet builds model train sets as a hobby. The Z-scale tracks that he uses are 220 times smaller than reality, about the width of a black key on the piano. ‘When I’m travelling,’ he told us back in 2010, ‘I enjoy thinking about new layouts and I even carry a little Märklin circuit with me – one locomotive, one wagon and a little oval track. I can even set it up on the dinner table after a concert.’

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