Emmanuel Pahud and Alien Audience
Flautist Emmanuel Pahud visited Copenhagen this week and he is absolutely pie and among the best flautists in the world.
He played Carl Nielsen’s flute concerto, and he did it with a lot of humour and very equilibristically. When the first movement was over the worst thing happened. The.worst.thing. The audience began to applaud frenetically.
Please, someone, tell me who beamed this audience down to the concert hall of the Danish radio? And from which planet? And why? You may think “well, what’s the big deal – they were just happy”. But no, that wont do. Here is a list of reasons why you shouldn’t applaud between the movements:
1. Silence is part of the music. The pause is just as important as the sound.
2. You disturb the concentration of the performers.
3. You disturb the concentration of your co-audience.
4. You destroy the atmosphere and the feeling of being inside the music.
5. You exhibit your ignorance of the rules of classical concerts.
6. The piece isn’t over. Would you applaud in the middle of a play?
7. You drag others with little experience of classical concerts with you and they will never learn the rules.
8. We will never get home if we have to applaud every time there is a pause.
In this particular case I felt even worse since it was a foreigner and a star who will now tell all his friends – “Copenhagen? Ha! I will never go there again – too damn provincial. You know what? They applauded between the movements! Can you believe that?!”
Or maybe not, but the gaze from Mr Pahud to conductor Thomas Dausgaard just wanted me to make the whole bunch of idiots incinerate instantly and leave the concert hall to the rest of us. So embarrassing.
After the Nielsen and Shostakovitj’s 4th symphony (which shook me a lot) there was a bonus concert with Mr Pahud and a harpist. Unfortunately I had to go after the first piece, but that was unforgettable. Total darkness and just a flautist standing in a spotlight playing something very strange and very short. He moved the borders of how to play the flute by wringing out sounds that I have never heard. The piece was by Heinz Holliger: “Sonata (in)solit(air)e”, from 1995-96.
After the first movement Pahud continued with the first movement of Bach’s partita in A minor (BWV 1013) and after that another movement of Holliger, then the second movement of the partita etc. And it was amazingly beautiful. One of the the movements by Holliger was even funny when Mr Pahud slowly went down to a pianissimo and then less and less while fixing his eye at a female member of the audience holding the flute with one hand and letting the other lie softly on top of it by his cheek slowly pointing flirtingly at the girl. Pie! It made me so happy all of it and the audience can go to hell since music of such high quality will always win. But so sad that they had to shake my good feeling by applauding after every Bach movement.
Emmanuel Pahud – such a flirt.
Today I went to the library and picked up the score for the partita. It’s playable. And with Emmanuel Pahud in my ears maybe, maybe, maybe I can get a tiny little bit of that sound out of my own instrument. Well, at least he’s an inspiration. Sigh.
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