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In Reply to: RE: Improv scares me posted by rbolaw on March 16, 2017 at 10:16:58
" The comment about Debussy seems odd, as Debussy was supposedly a fanatic about players following his score as closely as possible".
I think that the comment may have meant up to (but not including) Debussy.
Some of the evidence for historic practices is fascinating. I remember reading a novel ( probably E.F Benson or Dorothy L. Sayers) a couple of years ago. One of the characters enquires of another " Have you adopted that new fashion for not applauding after movements?". The Benson novel was written, set in and published during the 1920s and the Sayers the 1930s. So this implies that this restraint in audience reaction may be as recent an occurence as after the first World War. In many cases I personally find the practice very artificial.
However all this is stepping into the waters of HIP so best keep schtum :-)
" Have you adopted that new fashion for not applauding after movements?".
You have nothing to worry about. As the current generation of classical music listeners dies off, that practice will disappear just as surely as did the woolly mammoth, the sabre tooth cat, or classical listeners themselves.
I have access to a number of different concert venues in the greater Chicago metropolitan area ["greater metropolitan area" denotes the city and its suburbs (or do you say surburbs?)]. Some of them are halls on college campuses. Of those, Northwestern University and The University of Chicago have major college orchestras and interesting halls. Someday I'll be posting my survey of hall acoustics, featuring the resplendently acoustically rich Mandel Hall on the UC campus.
In any case, whether you attend Orchestra Hall, home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, or one of the community orchestras, or especially any of the university halls. you'll hear wild, enthusiastic applause - all the time.
Cause - that's what you do when attending any sort of pop/rock concert [so-called*].
The audience applauds when the rock "musicians" walk out on stage. So, audiences start applauding the very split second - and I sure mean split second - an orchestra member saunters out on stage.
You can just feel the audience's bafflement as the rest of the orchestra players slowly shuffle out, with no particular urgency, not bowing or even acknowledging the audience and its applause.
They were expecting what they're used to any rock "concert" [whether it's Barbara Streisand, Keith Urban, Snoop Dog, or The Hell Metal Drifters] - the band comes out, more or less all at once.
Somewhere toward the 20th and the 50th player of the orchestra walking out on stage, the audience gives up, stops applauding, and lets the musicians tune up. They have no idea they're supposed to applaud when the first violinist comes out, nor even when the conductor comes out.
Of course, at the end of every movement of a multi-movement work, they applaud wildly, although, if it's something like the Mahler 3rd, by the time they reach the end of the 5th movement, or Saturn in The Planets, they've finally figured out that they're not in Kansas anymore there at that boring classical "thing".
Inter-movement applause is particularly jarring after a movement that ends tragically or irresolutely, with the resolution still far off. Examples abound, such as the Bruckner 9th, the Tchaikovsky 6th, the Death & The Maiden quartet, and on and on. Here you are, immersed and carried away by the composer's musical discourse, only to be whipsawed out of the spell by the pack of nose-pierced, tattooed, utterly musically uneducated Millennials clapping like braying chimps in jungle [or, for that matter, middle-aged cowntry heros].
It makes no sense to applaud a piece until it's completed. I once attended a Schubert song recital. Obviously, lot's of songs on the program. The audience of geniuses broke into applause after each damn song. Finally, the soprano stopped the recital and sternly instructed the audience to hold their applause until the end. She was much kinder than I would've been.
* Pop/rock performances are definately performances, but more like performance art than actual concerts of music. Theater plays as great role as the so-called music. In the case of today's EDM, where everything's pre-recorded and it's all lip-synced, the "music" hardly matters at all. The most important elements are dancing, more-or-less sexually explicit gyrations, the stage set, and the costumes, or lack thereof.
Edit - forgot to attach the Mandel Hall foto.
Severius! Supremus Invictus
Some of his tunes/charts were pretty long (10-30 minutes), with multiple long solos and he didn't want the usual jazz audience habit of applauding after each solo to interrupt the music.
Not being of Mingus' stature, I've never asked an audience to refrain from applauding any time they get the urge :-)
At every jazz performance, you're supposed to clap after each solo. That's been the case at all of the jazz performances I've attended [many over my life].
Of course, the average pop rock listener doesn't know that either. It's another moment of chagrin when the first solo of the evening finishes, and only a handful of people applaud.
Rockers look around in total confusion. After a while, they figure out what's going on - but then, a bit after that, they stop. It's way too much clapping for them. Usually, there's no simple rock drum beat - whap THUMP whap THUMP whap THUMP - so nothing for the, uh, inebriated members of the audience to clap to during the music.
So, the average person claps too much at classical concerts, and too little at jazz performances. Life is so hard.
Severius! Supremus Invictus
a response seems a bit odd.
Maybe I'm lucky but I've never witnessed such ignorance on a scale as grand as you describe.
I've been to concerts where you can see the buses from the retirement homes all neatly parked in the lot. And unfortunately, dementia is already setting in with some of the attendees from these locations.
OTOH, as I've posted before, applause in the middle of a movement is HIP! There's a contemporaneous account of a performance of Haydn's Creation, and at the point where the sun comes out, the audience broke out into applause even as the music continued. Apparently, Haydn wasn't too worried about it, beause he is said at that moment to have pointed up to heaven (whence came his inspiration!).
I interviewed Aldo Ciccolini one time, and he was more lined up with your way of thinking. He felt that applause after a performance always broke the musical spell he'd been working so hard to create or evoke. He claimed he would be happier if there was complete silence after his performances. He also claimed that serving music was like being a monk in a monastery, and if one were totally dedicated to serving music, one should not get married!
"the buses from the retirement homes all neatly parked in the lot".
Yes. Mindless clapping isn't limited to youth [although they have the most insoucient attitude towards it].That's what I meant by middle-aged cowntry heros - middle aged and older folk who's daily, normal music tastes are mostly pop-rock, cowntry, etc.
But, nevermind that. You're info nugget about Ciccolini is valuable. Interestingly, Dmitri Mitropoulos believed the same thing - and lived that way. Apparently, he hed a simple, dirt poor, monastic lifestyle. No big house. Just a simple hotel room. All so that he could devote himself entirely to music.
Such devotion is so inspiring and thought provoking - and is the sharpest contrast to the lifestyle of pretty much every single pop rocker. Cf the sprawling estate of late, sainted genius of rock - Prince Rogers Nelson.
Severius! Supremus Invictus
Yes, quite a contrast with Karajan, much less the "pop rockers" to whom you refer. And when Mitropoulos was unceremoniously shoved aside at the NY Philharmonic to make way for the younger and more glamorous Leonard Bernstein, suddenly a superstar thanks to his smash hit Broadway musical West Side Story, he was graceful and dignified about it.
There are people who are geriatrics, who've been listening to classical music their entire lives, sometimes play some instrument and read music, and have many interesting stories about great musicians of the past.
They also know what they like and what they don't like. I've had some interesting encounters with such persons at concert halls.
Most recently, there was a guy who sat in front of me at a CSO concert. On the bill was the Beethoven Piano Con #3 [first part of the program]. followed by Mahler's Blumnine movement. After intenmission, the big piece was the Schoenberg orchestration of the Brahms Pian Quartet. While I was thrilled to hear the Beethoven, hearing the latter 2 pieces - in concert - was the big treat for me. Especially the Schoenberg - since the orchestration was the point there - and recordings just arent' an in-the-flesh performance.
The guy in front of me listened with rapt interest during the Beethoven, and then bolted right at intermission. And, these were no cheap seats.
Another older lady told me that Ravel was way too noisy. She avoided him.
Still another older lady tolerated the Bruckner 9th - which means she sat thru it without leaving. Afterwards, all she said was "So much brass! I've never seen so much brass in my life!". She didn't like the music.
Severius! Supremus Invictus
As I mentioned last year: While attending a Dutoit/Suisse Romande concert at UC Davis, (Rachmaninov, Stravinsky and Ravel), I was shocked to see a gaggle of extremely old professors leave after the Rachmaninov.
Funny, Debussy reportedly was not a good conductor, and Ravel, who apparently also felt players should play exactly what was written without any embellishment and famously commented, "performers are slaves", also reportedly was not a good conductor.
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