The applause after Francescatti's Beethoven Concerto with Mitropoulos and
the NYP-SO has certainly generated a lot of verbiage. Such applause after
the first movement of a standard concerto has long been customary although
not inevitable in both European and American concert halls. It rewards the
soloist's performance of the cadenza (usually in the opening movement) as
well as his negotiation of what is often the most substantial movement of
the usual three.
The uncertainty and confusion expressed in some posts reflects the decline
in knowledge of concert etiquette over the past four decades. Many factors
have contributed but most significant is the diminished exposure to music
in the public schools. Another is the general decline in common politeness.
The result in both cases is people not knowing how to behave or when to
applaud. Inter-movement applause in solo, chamber and orchestral music is
undesirable, because it breaks the mood of a multi-movement work, whereas
applause after individual, unrelated pieces is expected.
It has hitherto been customary to inhibit distracting elements whenever
possible in order to encourage increased concentration, which accounts for
the uniformity of dress that is still preferred by players, management and
audiences alike. However cultural fashions may change and previously
accepted norms may be supplanted, audience silence and a consensus about
when and how to break it will, I suspect, remain a preferable condition for
On Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 10:09 AM, Carl Pultz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Tom, the app idea is a hoot, and thoroughly possible. Some philosophers
> would say that listening to music is not much different than watching
> abstract lights and color patterns on a screen, and about as edifying. They
> are not popular philosophers.
> One of Mahler's unpopular innovations in Vienna was to darken the house. It
> wasn't so that notes (and bios and advertisements...) couldn't be read, but
> to combat the social club aspect of opera performances. It was tough for we
> little shavers to sit still and pay attention, but it was good mental
> discipline as well as the creation of a memorable, important experience. A
> little churchy, to its benefit.
> But applause is another matter. There's lately been a healthy debate on it
> among music critics and concert consultants (not small minds), many
> that if the idea is to grab audiences so tightly they must respond, then
> they certainly should. Some would also say the same for negative responses,
> too. But, it is a question of it being appropriate. Attended a concert with
> a lot of kids present recently? They can't wait to applaud; ie to
> participate. Maybe we weren't any better, but we weren't accustomed to the
> fast pace of EVERYTHING, as children are now. Adults, too, of course, so
> concerts are pushed along so as not to bore the less committed. Planning
> started to take into account the idea that the symphony concert may be just
> the beginning of the evening for the metro millennial club-hopper, not the
> single or primary musical or social experience that day. With the
> impressions of kids and 20-somethings regarded as the "future" of the
> concert audience, a lot of energy is turned that way.
> Anyway, I thought the Oct 1952 ovation after I. was totally appropriate,
> thought that was a rare thing at that time.
> Chicago SO has been doing some multimedia stuff during subscription
> concerts, but I don't know much about it.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
> Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2012 8:41 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] FW: [ARSCLIST] Beethoven Violin Concerto on YouTube
> Hi Carl:
> I think audiences today in the US are more "polite" (some would say
> "restained" or "detached") than
> times past. I have some old recordings of concerts at Carnegie Hall and
> other venues, mostly
> transcriptions of broadcasts, and you hear constant coughing and shuffling,
> and often applause
> between movements. Orchestras seemed to pause more between movements back
> then, expecting applause.
> I wonder if the LP era and classical's "golden age" of recordings got
> audiences used to shorter
> pauses between movements, and some sort of cultural change caused a
> group-think that classical music
> must be reverently enjoyed in silence. I remember being discouraged from
> reading program notes while
> the orchestra played during a school trip, as if I can't listen when I'm
> reading. Meanwhile, how
> long can a kid pay rapt attention to men and women in black suits moving
> bows across strings?
> In today's multi-media age, I wonder why more orchestras don't at least
> explore, if not adopt, the
> concept of accompanying classical music to light shows and/or other visual
> events. Is it somehow
> "mind pollution" for another artist to suggest what colors and/or images
> accompany the music?
> What if anyone with a wifi device in the hall could create their own visual
> entertainment, triggered
> by the ambient audio and/or some sort of sync to the score, on their iPads
> and cellphones (with the
> damn ringers turned off, of course - perhaps the app could do that
> automatically when it's
> launched!). I think it would make the genre more mainstream, boost
> appreciation for the idea that
> music can be deep and complex and subtle (as opposed to stereotypically
> simple and silly, like most
> pop hits). Don't forget that Scriabin wrote detailed notes on light shows
> accompany his solo
> piano music, and Hilde Somer re-created some of that entertainment in the
> 60's. Also, I would
> suggest that Virgil Fox's tour of rock venues with the massive Rodgers
> and accompanying
> psychodellic light show, exposed more people to the music of Bach than all
> of the symphony concerts
> in the world occuring in the same time frame.
> Here are two of Virgil Fox's "Heavy Organ" concerts:
> (registration required, lossy streaming audio, but you'll get the idea)
> Bottom line, who cares if people applaud between movements? Take the
> stuffiness out of the concert
> hall and the music will live on in "the masses."
> One caveat to my populism -- notice I don't advocate dilluting classical
> music with silly
> "crossover" dreck. It should remain a highly skilled affair, with close
> contact to the heritage of
> the art, and the worst thing to do is think that poptart "singers" or
> whatever else is popular at
> the moment has any place mixing in with Beethoven. And idiotic "theme"
> albums like "Bach for the
> Bathroom" or whatever just make the music seem dumb and boring. These are
> marketing ploys created by
> small minds, not artistic expansion of a music form into the modern arena
> mixed-media arts.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2012 8:00 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] FW: [ARSCLIST] Beethoven Violin Concerto on YouTube
> > Applause after 1st mvmnt!
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> > [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Shai Drori
> > Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 5:21 PM
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] FW: [ARSCLIST] Beethoven Violin Concerto on
> > A really nice performance. Listening in bed for the night.
> > Shai
> > Sent from my ringing donkey
> >> There is this outstanding performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto
> > have just discovered.
> >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epkviHdNMww
> >> It's by Zino Francescatti,and The New York Philharmonic,under Dimitri
> > Mitropoulos.It is obviously a concert recording.Can anybody
> >> tell me when it was done,and if it was ever issued?
> >> Roger
Dennis D. Rooney
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