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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000068.txt from 2005/08

From: "dnleeson" <>
Subj: [kl] Apllause and other interriptions at concerts
Date: Sat, 06 Aug 2005 09:29:20 -0400

Until the advent of the romantic movement, audience participation
(meaning applause or other expressions of approval or even
disapproval) at public concerts was the norm. Sometimes
audiences would not stop their expression of approval until the
section or movement was repeated. There are countless cases in
the classic period where Mozart was stopped cold by applause.
There are also countless cases in Italian opera houses where the
audiences refused to allow a singer to continue, so bad was s/he.

The romantic movement, which saw and sees the emotions of the
music and its impact on the listener as the essence and purpose
of a concert, stopped that practice cold. Applause within a
composition was considered both interruptive of the emotions
given to the audience by the music, and offensive.

The jazz world has never acceded to these standards. When
someone does a good thing in a jazz concert, the audience is
expected to react at that moment. Not to do so is an admission
that the soloisit did something poorly.

Opera patrons, particularly in Italy, want to express their
pleasure or displeasure at that very moment, and to try to stop
them from this practice is to endanger one's life.

Only in symphonic music is the audience silenced to the degree
that it is. It is as if the attendees at a concert play no role
other than to buy tickets and applaud when social practices
authorize such behavior. To stifle applause meant to show how
pleased an audience is at the moment when the pleasure is given,
is counterproductive. The effort should be to gain audience
participation, not stifle it. And that participation can also be
"boos" as well as "bravos."

Those who have written on this subject talking about how applause
ruins the mood of a concert are, in my very humble opinion,
slaves to the romantic tradition of stifling audience
participation at public events. And I say, to hell with them.

Dan Leeson

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