I went to a wonderful concert tonight by the Merling Trio. The second half of the program was Dvorak's Dumky Trio, which was played exquisitely. The group did such a phenomenal job of painting moods and scenes that it left me literally breathless in places, stunned almost.
Then, the most jarring thing. Between movements, the audience clapped. Now this audience was fairly large for this area (150-200ish) but fairly unsophisticated musically. Thus, I wasn't surprised when they clapped between movements of Haydn, Piazzola, etc. Normally I don't think much of it, however, the applause in the Dvorak seemed almost sacriligeous, due to the mood the musicians had painted and the way that was broken. It was terrible...I found myself shaking my head and covering my ears, especially between the 3rd and 4th movements. I was feeling almost robbed.
I've often wondered why we musicians don't do a bit of educating in the process, explaining in advance that a work is a whole, a unit, and that we don't break that unit up with applause. Would it be so terrible to explain and ask that in advance? More aware concert-goers would probably be grateful, and less experienced ones might appreciate knowing 'the rules' so they don't feel embarrassed for applauding inappropriately. Why don't we do this?
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