Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html en-gb 30 Sat 01 Aug 2015 19:44:09 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html RobertIain http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=96#comment24 Probably nonsense, but still I wonder - is it actually part of the wider lack of patience and desire for immediate gratification that seems a growing trait of society?Why wait for the end of a long piece when we can clap, shout and cheer immediately something strikes us as 'good'...... Sun 27 Jul 2008 08:18:36 GMT+1 warden http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=92#comment23 Virtualgrumpyoldman wrote: "Inappropriate clapping can be just plain selfish - including the interruption of a poignant ending before a certain stunning interval of silence has elapsed."Quite. I've been to a couple of performances of Britten's War Requiem, with its magical mystical final cadence. The first time (Westminster Cathedral) there was eight seconds of silence before the applause started. On the second occasion (Royal Festival Hall) everyone was still for 46 seconds. In a capacity audience, no-one wanted to be first to break it!I don't like applause between movements, preferring to appreciate the work as a whole rather than in what become disjoint sections. Fri 25 Jul 2008 11:58:47 GMT+1 Virtualgrumpyoldman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=88#comment22 Surely applause is about appreciating the artists as well as the piece. Keeping quiet at the right time can often be the most powerful expression of appreciation of a performance - an indication that the impact is profound enough to stun or move everyone to silence. Many world class performers clearly want this endorsement of their efforts and we should be sensitive enough not to deprive them of it. I was at the proms First Night when there was a rather pathetic ripple of applause after each of the Richard Strauss Four Last Songs. It was completely inappropriate to the mood of the piece, and although Christine Brewer, and Jirí Belohlávek smiled in a resigned sort of way, not only they, but others in the audience who were bowled over by the intensity of both the piece and the performance, were clearly disappointed and distracted as a result. Silence would have been much better. Inappropriate clapping can be just plain selfish - including the interruption of a poignant ending before a certain stunning interval of silence has elapsed.On the other hand for other works that are exuberant or lighthearted, applause between sections (or sometimes even during them!) can be great fun.How about the programmers consulting the artists about what they believe to be preferable, and then just providing some simple printed guidance in the programme where necessary e.g. "The musicians would prefer to dispense with applause until the very end of this song-cycle/ symphony/ concerto".?That would not only be considerate to those artists we're trying to appreciate, but also help our understanding and enjoyment of the music. In today's world this has nothing to do with "elitism". It's simply a matter of some decent consideration for the views and enjoyment of someone else than ourselves, including the artists! Fri 25 Jul 2008 10:51:53 GMT+1 RangerGrainger http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=84#comment21 I freely confess that I am largely ignorant of concert etiquette, and often don't know the pieces well enough to know when applause is appropriate. I certainly would not applaud while the musicians were still playing or singing. Neither would I do so if I had been explicitly requested not to in the programme or at the start of the concert.However, just as I routinely thank people as they do me a service, whether it be for driving the bus, or holding a door open for me, or serving me a meal, I like to show my appreciation, whether the recipient is the man in the street, a performer, a colleague, or a member of my family.If someone expects me to lay what I think of as common decency aside, they had better explain clearly and politely just why they think I should do so, rather than huffily assuming that I will know the (current) standards of their etiquette by osmosis. We live in a plural society after all. Thu 24 Jul 2008 15:33:46 GMT+1 ArgyllJenny http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=80#comment20 It's not just at live concerts, though, is it? You can watch a stirring drama or saddening documentary on TV, it reaches the climax, and what do you get? Some inane "continuity" chat telling you what's next and who's starring in it before the dialogue is over.Then there's the persistent subtitle/surtitle about what's next, which hides some vital visual clue and distracts you from the resolution.I have actually stopped watching or listening to Prom concerts because I can't stand this mauling of the mood and you can't tell when it might happen. However, I agree with other posters it depends on the piece, and applauding or yelling over the end of the piece is often much worse than between movements, as it can just ruin the experience. Maybe I'm doomed to listen only to recorded music, which would really hurt. Come on, is respect for others' love for music so much to ask? Wed 23 Jul 2008 19:05:56 GMT+1 Anne Sullivan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=76#comment19 I would not have a problem with a few people spontaneously clapping between movements if they were particularly moved by a piece and it did not break the mood. However, how many are clapping because they are genuinely moved and how many because they are confused and following someone else's lead?Etiquette rules aren't from some magic book sent down from on high. They are rules of behaviour agreed upon by a group so that everyone can feel comfortable knowing what is expected of them. Because of this, they will change over time.That said, I suspect one of the reasons many people clap is because they don't know the rules and just follow others that don't know. If a few people start clapping, and then others join in because they fear they will look mean or stuck-up, that is not spontaneous applause or appreciation.When I go to a concert or the theater, I want to spend my time appreciating the music or play -- not spend my time worrying about what other people think about me if I clap or don't clap. Wed 23 Jul 2008 18:16:26 GMT+1 Belmons http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=72#comment18 Heigh-ho, another step in the remorseless dumbing-down of our culture. Starting back in the 1950s we have, aping America, handed over the agenda to the "Sun" readers of this world. What we need is more elitism, not less. I am quite relieved to think that, at 73, I shan't have to watch this dismal process for too much longer. Wed 23 Jul 2008 17:41:45 GMT+1 hartonislander http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=68#comment17 I was at last night's Prom too and what was interesting was that the conductor (Roger Norrington - an experienced old hand at the Proms - who had an impish rapport with the audience throughout) actually seemed to encourage the inter-movement clapping by adding a little light applause of his own. Certainly no-one seemed to mind much, and the programme note reminded us that when Elgar's 1st Symphony - played last night - was premiered, applause between movements was common, and the third movement received special acclaim.Personally, because I, like Mark Easton, was brought up to wait till the end to applaud, I don't think I'll ever get used to clapping after each movement and do find it interrupts the flow. But I think it's less offensive than the behaviour of noisy exhibitionists who always have to the the first to applaud and bellow their "bravos" even before the last chord has died away. That really does break the mood. Wed 23 Jul 2008 12:50:04 GMT+1 tedyeoman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=64#comment16 I just hope it doesn't go as far as it has in non classical settings. During the recent Bruce Springsteen concerts I had to get up every few minutes as someone pushed past to go to the bar, the loo and anywhere else. Listen to other people having to shout "you what?" at their mobiles ... At a blues club I couldn't hear because of the lovely people sat behind me chatting about their plans for getting bladdered at the weekend. It's all about me and s*d everyone else the manners of the day! Wed 23 Jul 2008 12:34:48 GMT+1 the-media-are-sheep http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=60#comment15 I entirely agree with 5. Whether to applaud or not should depend on the piece being played. I remember a few years back listening to a Shostakovich symphony at the proms and having no choice but to applaud after the first movement as the music had been so dramatic and uplifting. It was a spontaneous reaction from me and many others. Surely this is what the composer would have wanted. There were some "tuts" from a few around me but I just felt sorry for them for being too uptight to be able to show their emotions. A very English re-action. Wed 23 Jul 2008 11:00:01 GMT+1 Gerbil http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=56#comment14 As someone who used to play classical guitar on the few occasions I performed I always appreciated, and asked for, silence between pieces and clapping only at the beginning and end.This was because during the pieces, and in between them, I was concentrating on the tempo, timbre etc and clapping actually broke my concentration and the 'atmosphere'.By not clapping the audience builds an affinity with the performer(s) where 'silence is golden', as this silence is as much a part of the music as the music itself.Also it is wonderful to be in a concert where the piece ends and there is a pause, sometimes quite long, as the audiance bathes itself in the beauty of the final dying notes before they show their appreciation by clapping. Wed 23 Jul 2008 10:36:28 GMT+1 PinkSwan21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=52#comment13 I'm so frustrated with the ridiculous 'rules' in classical music. I am a composer and guitarist and have performed my own music for non-classical audiences. I love playing live to rock and pop and jazz fans because they respond naturally, and honestly to my compositions. Classical music fans can be so anally retentive sometimes and it makes younger people like me who really love it not even want to touch it. How many other listeners of other genres sit around debating the appropriate time to clap music live?Live performance is not about decorum, it's about passion and emotion and making the music come to life. Many performers feed off the enthusiasm of audiences and to tell people to stop applauding a wonderful performance of a favourite movement is sheer lunacy. Wed 23 Jul 2008 10:35:28 GMT+1 doctor-gloom http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=48#comment12 Good thing too. Smash the walls of elitist claptrap. Lets have more clap clap. Wed 23 Jul 2008 10:33:27 GMT+1 threnodio http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=44#comment11 I think this has less to do with with the manners of the day and more to do with the music of the period. Mozart would have expected outbreaks of spontaneous applause at key moments and structured the music accordingly. In this respect, it is quite like grand opera, peppered with big set pieces and arias designed precisely to elicit applause. The composer is deliberately signaling that this is a 'big number' in his 'hit musical'.The 19th century brings a change. Beethoven uses the instruction 'attaca subito' - to be played without a break - for precisely the reason that he does not want the flow interrupted by applause. By the latter half of 19th century, you have composers creating fully integrated structures with cross referencing of thematic material between movements and the impact is seriously compromised by interruptions of any sort. No wonder Mahler scowled. Likewise with opera, Wagner is not writing loosely assembled collections of big numbers, he is writing integrated symphonic structures. No wonder Newman railled agaist Wagnerian except concerts as 'so many chunks of bleeding meat on a butcher's block'.The Tchaikovsky 6 is a good example. The third movement is undoubtedly an orchestral tour de force and unsuprisingly a crowd pleaser but the ironic element that it is a prelude to a movement of dispair is undermined by interruption.I also suspect that applause between movements is not prompted by the music so much as the performance. You can almost hear Brucie saying 'Didn't he do well?'There is a tension between enjoyment and appreciation sometimes and I would be the last person to pontificate about people going to worship at the shrine of great art. Sheer pleasure is an enormous part of concert going and should be celebrated, but I do also think that unnecessary interruption mitigates against the appreciation of the whole and favour the approach that displays of appreciation are best saved for where they belong - at the end of the performance. Wed 23 Jul 2008 10:29:25 GMT+1 Matthew Cain http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=40#comment10 Performing in South Africa I noticed a marked difference between traditional audiences in concert halls and 'new' audiences when we played in schools and townships. However, when there was applause before the last movement of Mahler 2, it ruined the performance. But when there wasn't applause after the slow movement of Elgar 1, I was always sightly disappointed.I think it all depends on the piece, audience and setting. I've also found applause in cathedrals (particularly performing Requiem's) slightly odd. Wed 23 Jul 2008 10:25:47 GMT+1 purplePeedurr http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=36#comment9 One famous concert when silence was called for took place after Dennis Brain's tragic death. The audience was asked not to applaud, even at the end of Tchaikovsky's 'Pathetique' symphony. All those present spoke of the overwhelming emotion, as the music faded to nothing, and to total silence. Wed 23 Jul 2008 10:25:13 GMT+1 theandrewssister http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=32#comment8 Hmmm -- people have always felt they have a licence to be a little more exuberant than usual at Proms -- not just the last night thereof. For example, I was at a Prom on Monday -- at the end there was ritual clapping, foot-stamping etc., which you would not normally hear at an English performance for anything other than the most barnstorming of crowdpleasers. The conductor then gave a heartfelt little speech about how much the audience and the atmosphere at the Proms meant to him, and then geed the orchestra up into a hyper-jolly, top-speed Carmen medley as an encore -- not that this really fitted with the organ music theme of the night, but obviously he felt it fitted with the spirit of the Proms in general. Personally I could do without clapping between movements -- it breaks the mood (as, indeed, does the ritual hacking and coughing -- certainly clapping is better than that!). Either a piece is an integrated whole, or it isn't, and you don't have to be an aficionado to have the sense to wait until other people start clapping before doing it yourself. That's not snobbery; it's common sense. Wed 23 Jul 2008 10:24:45 GMT+1 dateman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=28#comment7 I was at the first night of the Proms this year, and there was some clapping between movements, which surprised me a bit. But certainly no one seemed to mind - and why should they? I'm also a performing (orchestral) musician myself, and it's never bothered me in the slightest when applause comes between movements. Wed 23 Jul 2008 10:23:59 GMT+1 purplePeedurr http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=24#comment6 I don't think it matters if people clap (or cough, or sneeze, or whatever) between movements. What is very annoying is when the noise starts while the music is still playing. Opera audiences are terrible in this respect (applaud wildly during the last few bars of every single aria), and Prom audiences can start cheering during the last triumphal chord of a work that they know, which is unforgivable. We don't go to concerts, or listen to them on the radio, to hear the audience - it's the music that matters. Wed 23 Jul 2008 10:19:20 GMT+1 saintbatty1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=20#comment5 I wonder if the knowledge of a lot of the audience know the piece they are listening to and because their is a pause they think it's over. It's like sport more go do the big venues to say they have been, not for the event. Wed 23 Jul 2008 10:16:43 GMT+1 chrissw http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=16#comment4 I've always felt that the "rule" about not applauding between movements is completely false and unnecessary. I think the audience should be left to make up their own minds about when and whether it is appropriate. Perhaps after a slow or quiet movement, it would be better to maintain the silence, but at other times, what could be better than allowing everyone to express their appreciation? Wed 23 Jul 2008 10:14:30 GMT+1 Chrisk01 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=12#comment3 On the whole I'd prefer to be part of an audience that interacts with the music than one that sits in stony silence.There are times though when the music needs to be heard without interruptions.Hopefully audiences today can tell which is which. Wed 23 Jul 2008 10:11:41 GMT+1 Douglas Lee http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=8#comment2 Witholding applause until the end of a piece has nothing to do with musical snobbery and everything to do with respecting the mood the composer and performer(s) have established. The music of the movement just ended echoes around the inner ear and, when the conductor or performer judges the pause to be sufficient, he or she introduces the next idea. Applause disturbs this process and mars the overall experience. Wed 23 Jul 2008 10:09:49 GMT+1 gert68 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=4#comment1 In my experience the in-between movement applause is usually caused by 'newbies' and ignoramuses - usually the same people who will applaud when there is just a pause in a phrase, or will applaud the scenery, or the entrance of a starname in a through-composed work. Everybody is a newcomer to every situation at some point, and in general, it's usually wise to observe the behaviour of others when you are unsure how to behave.That having been said, I am generally indifferent to people applauding between movements. What I don't like is premature applause triggered by a lowering of the curtain - aren't they listening to the music? - or by a pregnant pause in a phrase before a glorious finale. Or applause of scenery. Or applauding the star name when they make an entrance in a through-composed work. Wed 23 Jul 2008 10:08:50 GMT+1 Steve Thomas http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/insurrection_at_the_proms.html?page=0#comment0 This really depends on the piece of music being played. Some have a natural break between movements, where some applause doesn't really hurt. For others, the silence between movements is an important part of the piece, and applause can damage the performance. I don't really see any need for applause between movements, it doesn't add anything to the piece and is a bit like tipping your waiter between courses. The fact that audiences are generally quieter during performance now than they have been historically is unsurprising. Back in the 19th century, orchestral music was popular music, so the audience will have been composed of many people who were not particularly musical, but liked a good tune and enjoyed the atmosphere and sense of fun at performances: much like the average pop-music listener today. As these people move on to contemporary pop music, the people left in the audience tend to be musical purists, who really want to hear the subtlety in the music and the performance. Personally, I enjoy both kinds of concert: the atmosphere of the last night of the proms is good fun, but I also like to really be able to hear a piece performed exceptionally well. Wed 23 Jul 2008 10:08:25 GMT+1