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A Few More Thoughts on Applause: Why Can We Interrupt at the Met?

I have been having a wonderful time going to hear opera – this year at the Met, the thrill of an unforgettable Tristan and Isolde, a beautiful – and new to me – Thais by Massenet, and a deeply touching Eugene Onegin. During the Tchaikovsky I realized that the audience expectation and behavior is the complete opposite of what we are used to in the concert hall. At the end of virtually every aria, there was wild applause, which often had little to do with the actual action on stage and certainly no connection to the story line.

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Disney Hall

It is a real challenge for anything that is awaited with great anticipation to actually live up to the excitement. After the thrill of performing in the new Disney Hall, I can only say that for me, it has surpassed all my expectations. In the most exhilarating way, it inspires awe without forcing us to be reverent.

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When to Applaud

All of us love applause, and so we should – it means that the listener LIKES us! So we should welcome applause whenever it comes. And yet, we seem to have set up some very arcane rules as to when it is actually OK to applaud. I have been trying to find out exactly when certain listeners and performers decided that applause between movements would not be “allowed”, or at least would be frowned upon, but nobody seems to have been willing to admit that they were the culprit.

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Next Concerts

    April 22, 2018

    University of Michigan

    Hill Auditorium

    Ann Arbor, MI

    MozartPiano Sonata in F Major, K. 533

    LisztThree Sonnets of Petrarch

    J.S. BachPartita for Keyboard No. 5 in G Major, BWV 829

    BeethovenAndante favori in F Major, WoO. 57

    BeethovenPiano Sonata in C Major, Op. 53 (“Waldstein”)

    April 26, 2018

    Cliburn Concerts

    Kimbell Art Museum Piano Pavilion

    Fort Worth, TX

    MOZART Sonata in F Major, K. 533
    LISZT Three Petrarch Sonnets
    LISZT Vallée d’Obermann from Années de pèlerinage, First Year, Switzerland
    BACH Partita No. 5 in G Major
    BEETHOVEN Sonata in C Major, Op. 53 (Waldstein)

    April 27, 2018

    Cliburn Concerts

    Kimbell Art Museum Piano Pavilion

    Fort Worth, TX

    MOZART Sonata in F Major, K. 533
    LISZT Three Petrarch Sonnets
    LISZT Vallée d’Obermann from Années de pèlerinage, First Year, Switzerland
    BACH Partita No. 5 in G Major
    BEETHOVEN Sonata in C Major, Op. 53 (Waldstein)

    May 1, 2018

    Boston Symphony Orchestra

    Symphony Hall

    Boston, MA

    BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2
    BRAHMS Symphony No. 2 (44 min)

    May 3, 2018

    Boston Symphony Orchestra

    Symphony Hall

    Boston, MA

    BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2
    BRAHMS Symphony No. 2 (44 min)

    May 5, 2018

    Boston Symphony Orchestra

    Symphony Hall

    Boston, MA

    BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2
    BRAHMS Symphony No. 2 (44 min)

    May 10, 2018

    Carnegie Hall

    Carnegie Hall

    New York, NY

    MOZART Piano Sonata in F Major, K. 533/K. 494
    LISZT Sonetti di Petrarca
    LISZT Vallée d’Obermann from Années de pèlerinage, première année: Suisse
    BACH Partita No. 5 in G Major, BWV 829
    BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 21 in C Major, Op. 53, “Waldstein”

    May 18, 2018

    Houston Symphony

    Jones Hall

    Houston, TX

    MOZART Piano Concerto No. 27
    STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring

NY Philharmonic

Artist-in-Residence: Emanuel Ax 2012/13.
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Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4
Brahms: Music For 2 Pianos
Haydn: Piano Sonatas
Liszt: Piano Sonata in B Minor
Mendelssohn: Piano Trios
Strauss: Enoch Arden

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Extract from masterclass given by Emanuel Ax on Beethoven Piano Sonatas and Variations. The student is Nicolas Van Poucke. The full masterclass is available on DVD from www.masterclassfoundation.org

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