The Miro Quartet played a wonderful concert Saturday evening at the Whitaker Center for Market Square Concerts. It ended the 2005-2006 season (the summer season begins quite soon - and will mark my first year here in Harrisburg!) - and it was a huge success, musically.
The Miro's Haydn was exquisite - and I endulged myself by following the score (getting to watch them during repeats - which they honored) and I knew it would be a lovely concert. They followed it with a new work by Brent Michael Davids, his Tinnitus Quartet. It features a high A throughout the piece, and is quite effective - as the violist noted, it is an emotional journey. One huge paradigm shift was the silence that came afterwards - and the distinct feeling that everyone in the hall was listening very intensely. I mean that silence in the best sense, too, not that everyone was glad it was over, but that Davids had communicated well the malady.
The second half brought on stage the amazing Paul Katz, cellist extraordinaire and chamber music guru. They played Schubert's monumental String Quintet (see the previous entry about this work.) Unfortunately a drunk person came in at the very start of the first movement and was rather disruptive. During the second movement, security came and removed him. At least he went quietly. But for me the damage was done, hard to focus on one of the sublime works of art when someone is flailing their arms, clapping (yes, he did!) in the pause - almost sarcastically yet, blindingly stupid - between the first two movements (and I'm not a snob about clapping after movements) - but this was very different, you had to be there! He waited and then knowingly was brash about it.
Okay, so you say, but John this is a one time incident. You can't stop going to concerts, just because someone might distract you...well, I have to tell you, and I'm preparing a post about this sort of thing, that I am going to DRASTICALLY filter the concerts I attend. Everywhere. Remember this post about talking during the music? What about Dr. Dick's adventure in NYC?
I can see in some respects why we're all putting on headphones with our I-Pods.
Please don't read this as an effect from Miro, Paul, or M.S.C. - this is something I've been thinking about for some time. I'm not blaming any one presenter or performer. That is not the case at all.
I have been crafting a sign to carry in my suitcoat pocket, that says "Please be quiet." and "No talking during the music." On the flip side I should make a "Thank you!" sign as well.