The intermission that wasn't, or

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Ricordanza
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The intermission that wasn't, or

Post by Ricordanza » Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:19 pm

Why I'm not writing a review of Richard Goode's recital.

A very peculiar thing happened at Richard Goode's piano recital in Philadelphia last night. The printed program was as follows:

Four pieces by the Renaissance composer, William Byrd;
English Suite in D Minor, BWV 811, by J.S. Bach
Intermission
Piano Sonata in A Minor, Op. 101, by Beethoven
Preludes, Book Two (12 Preludes), by Debussy

After the English Suite, Goode left the stage, the house lights came on, and many audience members, including myself, headed for the lobby. Some of us, including myself, then proceeded to the rest room. Normally, I wouldn't include this detail except to note that the rest rooms are some distance away and on a different level in the Kimmel Center than the recital venue, the Perelman Theater. Thus, I wasn't in the lobby when the ushers came out to announce that this was NOT the intermission, that Mr. Goode was returning to the stage to play the Beethoven, that the intermission would take place after the Beethoven, and that the audience members should return to their seats. By the time I returned, it was too late to be seated. A TV screen, with a very low sound volume, provided the only means for us stragglers to experience Goode's performance of the Beethoven.

Goode's presentation of Byrd and Bach was pleasing, and his performance of the Debussy set was very well done, but I must admit that when I attend a recital by Richard Goode, I come to hear him play Beethoven. He is a master interpreter of this composer, and when Beethoven is not on his program, I skip that recital.

So, being frazzled by this intermission snafu, and disappointed with my inability to fully appreciate Goode's performance of the Beethoven sonata, I lost the desire to craft a review of this concert.

jbuck919
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Re: The intermission that wasn't, or

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:00 pm

Why is a very fine pianist performing anything by Byrd at all? I can do that.

Before I left Baltimore, I attended a performance that included a Bach violin concerto, the rarely performed First Leonora Overture, and the Beethoven Triple Concerto. There was no intermission at all. Unless we're talking about something like Meistersinger, I have never gotten the concept at all. I understand bathroom needs, but when I was growing up, they were mainly an excuse for people to go the lobby to smoke. (Debussy, who had little use for Beethoven and because of his own greatness could get away with it, once attended a performance of the Eroica and said, "It's only the development. I have time to step out for a smoke.")

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

John F
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Re: The intermission that wasn't, or

Post by John F » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:06 pm

What a willful discourtesy to the audience.
jbuck919 wrote:Why is a very fine pianist performing anything by Byrd at all? I can do that.
Most in the audience can't do that. And if Goode didn't included that music in his recital, most in the audience would never hear it at all.
jbuck919 wrote:I have never gotten the concept at all
That is, of having an intermission of 15 minutes or so halfway through the program? Apart from providing physical relief (not just for the audience, for the performer(s as well), it provides the opportunity to absorb and reflect on what we've just heard and, sometimes, to discuss it with friends or others in the audience.
John Francis

lennygoran
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Re: The intermission that wasn't, or

Post by lennygoran » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:44 pm

Ricordanza wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:19 pm
Why I'm not writing a review of Richard Goode's recital. After the English Suite, Goode left the stage, the house lights came on, and many audience members, including myself, headed for the lobby. Some of us, including myself, then proceeded to the rest room. Normally, I wouldn't include this detail except to note that the rest rooms are some distance away and on a different level in the Kimmel Center than the recital venue, the Perelman Theater. Thus, I wasn't in the lobby when the ushers came out to announce that this was NOT the intermission, that Mr. Goode was returning to the stage to play the Beethoven, that the intermission would take place after the Beethoven, and that the audience members should return to their seats. By the time I returned, it was too late to be seated. A TV screen, with a very low sound volume, provided the only means for us stragglers to experience Goode's performance of the Beethoven.
That's just awful-these people owe you-where were the ushers when you needed them! Regards, Len :x

jbuck919
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Re: The intermission that wasn't, or

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:10 pm

John F wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:06 pm
What a willful discourtesy to the audience.
jbuck919 wrote:Why is a very fine pianist performing anything by Byrd at all? I can do that.
Most in the audience can't do that. And if Goode didn't included that music in his recital, most in the audience would never hear it at all.
jbuck919 wrote:I have never gotten the concept at all
That is, of having an intermission of 15 minutes or so halfway through the program? Apart from providing physical relief (not just for the audience, for the performer(s as well), it provides the opportunity to absorb and reflect on what we've just heard and, sometimes, to discuss it with friends or others in the audience.
Yes, but John, you know they seldom do that. They line up at the restrooms, and it is more like 20 minutes. I don't know what the custom was at the Festschpielehaus when Die Walküre was premiered, but I doubt that it lasted from six-thirty to near midnight.

Back at college, at the MacArthur Theater, I attended a performance by Anthony Newman. It was a long selection from the Well-Tempered Clavier, and he did take an intermission. I tried to approach at that point, because he had worked with my college organ teacher, but an amanuensis prevented it, saying he needed his cup of coffee. I do understand that, and eventually talked to him briefly when the entire performance was ended. This is irrelevant, but I am terrified of fame. It was everything I could do to approach him. I had opportunities to meet Archbishop Fulton Sheen and Aaron Copland, and cowered in a corner rather than approach them.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Belle
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Re: The intermission that wasn't, or

Post by Belle » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:38 am

Sometimes it's "carpe diem" when you want to meet somebody famous. I met Nureyev in the 1970s when he came to Australia only by going backstage afterwards with another young female friend and just staying put until we saw him. He autographed a wonderful poster I had bought of his face, which I promptly threw out in 1981 when moving into a new house!! My recollection of the great dancer was of a man stupendously handsome, with deep pools of eyes and broken English. And he wore all-leather clothing. We were two very silly, giddy girls (a bit like the Bennett sisters. Lydia and Kitty!) but it was a very memorable experience.

With regard to the OP: in my experience the 'intermission' is usually printed in the program. And they are sometimes necessary for females who've had 4 children!! Last time at the Musikverein, while I was standing in line outside the "Damen", I met a warm and charming Viennese woman and we chatted enthusiastically. We continued to talk to each other even after we'd gone into our separate cubicles!! (She wanted to know all about Australia!) But most of the time I remain seated because I cannot be bothered to move. It's a good opportunity to talk to your neighbours as well. I learned a lot about Austrians that way.

Ricordanza
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Re: The intermission that wasn't, or

Post by Ricordanza » Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:12 am

John F wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:06 pm

That is, of having an intermission of 15 minutes or so halfway through the program? Apart from providing physical relief (not just for the audience, for the performer(s as well), it provides the opportunity to absorb and reflect on what we've just heard and, sometimes, to discuss it with friends or others in the audience.
Exactly. At piano recitals in Philadelphia, the intermission provides the welcome opportunity for me to exchange a few words with "arepo" a/k/a "Cliftwood."

John F
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Re: The intermission that wasn't, or

Post by John F » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:31 am

jbuck919 wrote: I don't know what the custom was at the Festschpielehaus when Die Walküre was premiered, but I doubt that it lasted from six-thirty to near midnight.
Whatever may have been done in 1876, the current practice at Bayreuth is for the opera to begin at 4:00 in the afternoon, and for each intermission if any to last one hour. This not only gives the lead singers an unusual amount of rest during the performance but also allows the audience to have supper during the intermission of its choice.
jbuck919 wrote:Yes, but John, you know they seldom do that.
I.e. "absorb and reflect on what we've just heard and, sometimes, to discuss it with friends or others in the audience." What you mean "they"? You're generalizing from insufficient evidence. :) Every time I go to a performance - concert, opera, play - with friends and/or family, we always meet to chat during the intermission(s) or else head for the washroom, both if there's time. Indeed, we often go to the same performance so we can do that. I remember vividly a Met "Meistersinger" in the '90s during which we met on the balcony after Act 1 and agreed that we were seeing and hearing a great performance; sharing our excitement added to it.

Anyway, what's your problem with intermissions? They don't add much to the length of the performance while adding considerably to the comfort of those in the audience who do as I do, especially now that trips to the washroom are often necessary.

Like you, I'm shy about approaching famous people, or indeed anybody I don't know. (It doesn't bother me when they approach me, as at the information desk at the library.) At times, however, something in me overcomes that barrier. Back in 1965 when I was stationed with the Army near Nürnberg (before moving on to near Stuttgart), Clifford Curzon played Mozart's concerto #27 with the local orchestra so beautifully that I felt impelled to thank him personally. He was quite gracious and actually thanked me; I kept it short and beat it out of the green room in no more than a minute.
Belle wrote: I met Nureyev in the 1970s when he came to Australia
In the early '70s the Australian Ballet toured the US with Nureyev and I saw "Don Quixote" in Saint Louis. Robert Helpmann was Quixote. I didn't know that ballet at all and thought it was inadequate as Cervantes but remarkable as dancing. :)
John Francis

jbuck919
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Re: The intermission that wasn't, or

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:40 am

I guess the difference between me and John F is that I never go to concerts with friends, but always by myself. My loss, I guess. I know that I attended Elektra at the Met with my friend Ted, but it is a shorty with no intermission. Also, I am somewhat spoiled by organ recitals, which never have an intermission.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Belle
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Re: The intermission that wasn't, or

Post by Belle » Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:03 pm

John, that was the very production in which I saw Nureyev and later met him. Robert Helpmann was strutting across the stage like a superannuated turkey!!

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