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ASUmusicMAN

Some conductors not suited to judge manners

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Some conductors not suited to judge manners

Judith Martin

As if they don?t have enough fun dressing up and waving those sticks about, orchestra conductors harbor an ill-disguised desire to take over Miss Manners? job. Once again, a prominent concert was followed by a tirade on the subject of manners delivered by the maestro.

The conductor, who sounded off after a concert in Naples, Fla., earlier this year, was more restrained than the director in Rio de Janeiro last fall who indicated what he thought of the manners of the audience at his Tristan and Isolde. He mooned them.

Music has a long history of such incidents. Well, not exactly these incidents; the mooning revealed that the offended gentleman was wearing green drawers, which may be a first. Nevertheless, attempts from the podium to persuade audiences to be polite have been going on for centuries.

Perhaps a career exchange could be arranged. It is true that Miss Manners can?t count terribly well, but she looks fetching in evening clothes and has some experience at terrorizing people into silence with a mere glance. How difficult can the rest of it be?

Apparently, that is the same view that conductors take of her august calling. Judging from their performances, they believe that her highly complex discipline involves nothing more than berating people of whose behavior they disapprove, and that it is not necessary to employ good manners when doing so.

Musicians have always complained that audiences paid them insufficient attention. Mozart whined to his father that people were multitasking ? chatting and drawing ? while he was playing. Long before the invention of television, classical music audiences had invented television manners, including wandering in and out during the performances.

Impresarios saw it as a class problem. In Europe, the blame was put on arrogant aristocrats who attended to show off, as opposed to the modest folk who loved music. So, in Paris, the boxes were made smaller and prices reduced to attract a better crowd.

In America, the blame was put on rowdy riffraff, as opposed to the rich and refined who loved music, so expensive seats were installed to replace the pit and attract a better crowd.

But audience behavior only changed radically in the late 19th century, when some fed-up conductors went into the manners business. Threats, sarcasm, stomping out, singling out individuals and silence (where the music should have been) changed the standard of audience behavior to the one-cough-and-you?re-dead expectations of today.

Miss Manners does not claim that the problem has been solved. In addition to eating, humming, chewing, talking, telephoning, snoring and conducting along ? all the activities that people go to concerts and opera to do ? we now have the rude machinations of music vigilantes armed with rolled-up programs. We have come to the sad point where every performance now opens with an elementary etiquette lesson about cell phones and beepers and cameras, which someone should set to music.

Finish it HERE

http://www.citizenonline.net/citizen/archi...erFriendly=true

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The conductor, who sounded off after a concert in Naples, Fla., earlier this year, was more restrained than the director in Rio de Janeiro last fall who indicated what he thought of the manners of the audience at his ?Tristan and Isolde.? He mooned them.

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

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yeah man...don't mess with the motivated artist...or you'll get ass in your face

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lol He should have conducted Moonlight Serenade

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