Friday, April 21, 2006

A unique concert experience

A strange, funny, somewhat alarming moment at a concert I'm not going to blog in any depth because it's just not my fach. NYPO, Rostropovich, Vengerov: Shostakovich violin concerto & Symphony 10.

They play the first moevement of the concerto. It ends, everyone coughs and coughs. They open the doors to let in the stragglers, who straggle extensively. Really it was several minutes, and then at the end of several minutes, with Vengerov and Rostropovich just standing up there being musical eminences [quibble if you will; Rostropovich certainly is one and Vengerov, I mean, he's younger than me dammit but he's just so in charge on that there fiddle...] these two tackily dressed, helmet-haired matrons are still standing in the aisle. Just standing. I think perhaps someone was in their seats but for god's sake, just sit somewhere, I mean...!

And then the audience, en masse, HISSED at them. But I'm not kidding. And an usher went down and straightened the whole thing out, and Rostropovich and Vengerov did I think have some subtle outrage in their body language, and when the biddies found their seats, everyone APPLAUDED. I've seen localized hostility at the bearer of an errant cell phone, but this was kind of wild.

Anyway so all I'll say about the concert is it was mightily impressive to hear MV take that utterly cold and jagged cadenza and play it with legato. Remember in the early 90's when it seemed like they were turning out a bunch of violinists with technique to burn but no real edge or soul? It seems like that was all bad dream, sometimes, when you happen to hear the likes of Vengerov, or Mutter, or Shaham, who have it all. I wonder if the cadenza of the heart-stopping final allegro contained just a little venom reserved for a certain pair of latecomers...

6 comments:

straussmonster said...

I saw that same program (same cast) about...jeebus, 6/7 years ago? in Chicago. It was an awesome experience then--Vengerov broke a string in the Scherzo and had to go off and get his violin restrung.

And cheers to the audience for not putting up with obnoxious shit from rude people.

Maury D'annato said...

That's amazing, he broke a string. I had always heard the protocol in that situation was that the concertmeister would hand over his/her axe.

Ariadne said...

It's not? I thought that was a given, in the case of a violin soloist breaking a string ...

Those old biddies live in a world by themselves. I had one sitting behind me at a recent concert in NYC, first she opened three very rustle-y candies, then spent the rest of the entire first half of the concert commenting directly behind me into the back of my head about how long and blah blah blah my hair was.

My hair was not up at all, mind you, not in her way in the least, just long, loose and red, just sitting there, minding its own business.

What, like I'm deaf or something??? I really let her have it at intermission. I've never ever done that before, but I was there to hear a concert not have her open candy wrappers and bitch/admire or otherwise engage in a continuous commentary on my hair, for crying out loud.

Gert said...

It's pretty disgraceful that they let people in during a concerto. They should arrive on time or wait until the end of the first piece. And if that's a problem make the first piece an overture or fanfare.

If they did that, people would make sure they arrived on time.

janexxx said...

I was at that concert too, and incidentally at all 4, and the same thing happened with the stragglers being let in at all the performances. It really did spoil the music, and I guess the performer's concentration.

Unruly audience members get to me too...reading (noisily) programmes all through the performance for instance. They can't be listening to the music if they are reading. I once sat next to someone (in AVH) who actually got a torch (flashlight?) out in order to see it better!

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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