Tonight we meet for our third roundtable discussion. But, first, the update from last week's conversation!
The fellows met on June 12 to examine the rituals of the concert hall and their relation to audience engagement. We considered two columns, one by Alex Ross and the other by Isaac Schankler. Both thinkers asked for a more flexible, less rigorous application of concert rituals (e.g. The No Applause Rule). The Chamber Music Campania fellows concur with Ross and Schankler: concert rituals, whether flexible or rigid, should not be systematically applied, but rather determined by the particular situation, the venue, the nature of the musical material, the audience, etc. The fellows also built upon Ross and Schankler’s observations, pointing to the interconnection between audience etiquette and the (somewhat) out-dated notion of the multi-movement work. Such an idea led nicely into a dialogue about non-linear art, and our NYC-based fellows suggested an application of “Sleep No More” to the musical arts, i.e. several chamber ensembles performing contrasting but complementary pieces in a multi-room or multi-level space.
The fellows also discussed the decorum of performers, during and after a concert. The fellows challenged the common practice of affect-less performance (i.e. the total absence of physical gesture) and the self-deprecating musician (e.g. the flautist who refuses compliments: “Bravo!” “NO. It was terrible”). As our fellows argued, in the aftermath of a concert performers should aim for a demonstration of gratitude, rather than humility; and the conscious use of visuals encourages the audience to be emotive and demonstrative, hence strengthening the audience-performer rapport.