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CLASSICAL  January 2009

CLASSICAL January 2009

Subject:

Re: Perlman - Applause Mandatory

From:

Ravi Narasimhan <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 15:46:15 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (75 lines)

Karl Miller responds to me:

>> According to this, [Perlman] played Messiaen in South Florida to
>> tepid applause and lectured the audience for not appreciating the
>> piece. Which he then played again.
>>
>> So, applause is now required?
>
> I find this curious.  I assume Perlman thought their lack of applause
> was due to the nature of the composition and not a statement regarding
> the quality of his performance.  If, however, the lack of applause was
> due to the nature ofthe work...

The question of the dialogue among artists, critics, and audiences is
a hot topic these days with artsjournal.com and aldaily.com linking to
pieces about it at least weekly.  It seems to me that 'dialogue' in this
context means the artists and/or critics get to talk at the audience,
which is supposed to take its medicine and be grateful.

Both Florida critics said Perlman's playing isn't what it was.  We felt
the same way in Los Angeles when he played and conducted here last season.
Everyone cuts him slack because of what he's done musically and what he
continues to do as an ambassador.  What are audiences to do when the
work on offer doesn't resonate?  The presumption is that it is our fault
and I think that's unhealthy.

>I am reminded of incidents like the time Slatkinspoke to the audience
>of the National Symphony, expressing hisconcern over their apparent
>lack of enthusiasm for exploring the repertoire.

Did he listen for answers?  In the U.S., booing is not accepted although
it may still be part of European concertgoing.  Now, not applauding is
also being questioned and punished.  What can one do when new work is
plugged into the programs whether one wants it or not?  As a Los Angeles
resident, I enjoy hearing the LA Phil play classical music in Disney
Hall.  But this also means getting Salonen and his inbred circle of
cronies as part of the ticket.  I've made the attempt, listened to the
preconcert talks, done the research, looked at scores, listened to
recordings, tried the new music evenings, and still don't think these
guys are of the same cranial or musical caliber as the Old Dead Ones.
I had to listen to glurgitudinous Part last week to get to a Brahms.
Tonight there's some techno-house-inspired Andriessen between Janacek
and the Rite of Spring.  This is not a solitary opinion.  If we aren't
clapping, what's it to anyone else - especially the artists?

>Again, we have that question ofwhat is the point of art...is it just
>entertainment.

I would ask what is the point of performance.  No, it is not just
entertainment.  It shouldn't be a scolding, either.

>I am also reminded of the time when La Mer was introduced to Boston
>Symphony audiences and many subscribers threatened to cancel their
>subscriptions...to which the conductor (it may have been Muck) responded
>by programming the piece againin that same season!

I would say that this is different from what Perlman did.  If he had
wanted to do a lecture demonstration and performance on Messiaen, he
should have said as much and let the promoters organize it as such. 
When "Announced from the stage" is a big part of the program, should
the audience simply accept whatever may come?  The possibilities for
abuse are endless.

Maybe the future is truly digital.  Concerts will be streamed to those
who can receive them and we can pay for those pieces we want to hear.
Until then we either stay out of the auditorium for portions of our
paid-for concerts or carry earplugs.

--- Ravi

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