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#2085755 - 05/20/13 01:06 PM Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences?
jjo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 624
Loc: Chicago
Here's something from the jazz club Small's in New York:

We had an interesting event last week -we had our first classical music salon. It's something that Mitch and I have thought a lot about doing and finally had the opportunity to. The musicians were excellent (thanks to Carlos Avila, Rebekah Durham & Amy Kang). What I was really curious about was how a jazz audience in a jazz club would react to a classical concert. The answer is that is was really successful and in an unusual way. Our audience connected with the musicians as if they were jazz musicians. That is to say, the audience, not being aware of the conventions of normal classical recitals, applauded in-between movements, cheered loudly, said "yeah, man" and otherwise engaged the artists. The "third wall" was broken down and the warm informality of the jazz club took over. The musicians were amused and, I think, delighted. People would ask questions and the musicians answered. It was a wonderful way to hear a classical concert. It was nice to have a cocktail and listen to Mendelssohn. It made me think a lot about how special a jazz room can be - not so informal that the music is ignored and no so formal that the audience is left in the cold. Another classical musician who was in the audience mentioned to me that this was how salons of the 18th and 19th century used to be - informal and fun. How can we take this paradigm of presenting music, that is to say the love and warmth of the jazz audience and utilize it to present other music, particularly classical which is so misunderstood and even feared? It was a wonderful afternoon and we will continue to present a salon each month.

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#2085779 - 05/20/13 01:49 PM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: jjo]
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
It seems your experience was a success in that the people there seemed to like it--but I doubt that I would like this in a more normal classical concert setting.

The silences between movements can be very rewarding, as the music sometimes continues to exist in the air, so to speak, and a good artist and an attentive audience can sometimes really milk this silence, and get one movement to morph into the next in a very expressive and satisfying manner.

But I know of what you're speaking, as I have participated in a kind of formality in jazz settings that is "experienced" as spontaneous. For example, after say, a drummer is featured in a solo, the audience applauds over a vamp. And sometimes the appropriateness of applause is actually signaled, perhaps by the leader of the band saying over the microphone, "ladies and gentleman, Mr. so and so on the drums." Even if the applause is over a vamp, and not the end of the music being played, is this not a formalized audience expression?

It may be that audiences in the past, and perhaps in salons, were less formal than are contemporary audiences. I too, have read books that make such a claim, but it's difficult to judge and assess specifically how they were less formal, and to what effect--I have a suspicion that they were not necessarily less formal, but that there was a different set of formalities in play. I don't claim to know. But in any event, I wouldn't necessarily like to see contemporary audience interaction with performers change--at the loss of my treasured silences--with only an imitation of the past used to validate it.

Tomasino


Edited by tomasino (05/20/13 02:17 PM)
_________________________
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#2085781 - 05/20/13 01:53 PM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: jjo]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2114
Loc: Canada
Loved this story!
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#2085784 - 05/20/13 02:05 PM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: Kuanpiano]
RealPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 2309
Loc: NYC
This is very interesting. But, not to diminish the contrast, the character of a jazz and a classical audience are not really that far apart. They are both audiences of experienced, educated listeners who are really there to pay attention. These are both forms of serious music and, while the jazz audience can be a little more demonstrative, the respect is there for the artists...and may I say, there's a lot of appreciation and respect between jazz and classical musicians in general.

In NYC there's another club, Le Poisson Rouge, where the modus operandi is to pair classical and rock musicians in back-to-back sets in an evening. I wonder how much cross-interest there is in that arrangement. It seems to be working for them, but I imagine the audiences would be completely different.

(Edit) By the way, classical audiences do noticeably react between movements...you'll notice a murmur, an exhalation, a shifting in the seat. It cn be subtle, but it happens.


Edited by RealPlayer (05/20/13 02:15 PM)
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#2085861 - 05/20/13 04:18 PM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: tomasino]
wower Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 242
Loc: Calgary
Originally Posted By: tomasino
The silences between movements can be very rewarding, as the music sometimes continues to exist in the air, so to speak, and a good artist and an attentive audience can sometimes really milk this silence, and get one movement to morph into the next in a very expressive and satisfying manner..... But in any event, I wouldn't necessarily like to see contemporary audience interaction with performers change--at the loss of my treasured silences--with only an imitation of the past used to validate it.


I jumped into this thread expecting to read Tomasino's agreement. I've let the post marinate but I guess I'm too much of an iconoclast to understand letting a priority for silence between movements overrule expanding classical music exposure and appeal. I've been on the uphill side of many arguments suggesting the appreciation of classical music does take a certain amount of attentive focus and tranquility of mind and soul but I have trouble expanding that view to limiting applause between movements. That point will just need to stay in the realm of subjective opinion. (As noted it's a rather arbitrarily chosen point considering the entire field of historically informed performance). I read the OP and thought it was pretty great and it sparked all sorts of cool ideas about what one could do in Calgary. As to if the same reception would be met at another jazz club is hard to predict.
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#2085899 - 05/20/13 05:00 PM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: jjo]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19199
Loc: New York City
I think there are different degrees of behavior that can make classical performances more like jazz or pop. A few from least controversial to more controversial:

1. The performer wearing more casual clothing. I certainly don't mind this and it seems to have become almost standard for a ong time for many performers or at venues other than places like Carnegie Hall(I'd guess it occurs even there to some extent).

2. Applause between movements. I don't really mind this but prefer if the performer or management makes some announcement ahead of time so people know what's OK.

3. Talking during performance would go into the unacceptable area for me. Although not exactly analogous, this reminds me of the World Team Tennis experiments of quite a few decades ago where fans were encouraged to yell during points or say whatever they wanted at any time in a fashion more typical of some other sports like baseball. Interestingly enough, this experiment never caught on.

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#2085911 - 05/20/13 05:19 PM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: jjo]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
I find the informal atmosphere of a jazz club much more relaxing than a standard classical concert. I go to hear fine classical musicians perform, but the audience is very distracting to me - people talking to each other during the playing, annoying women opening and closing their velcro purses, men opening cellophane wrapped candies, idiots who come to a concert with a cold and hack and cough all the way through the concert. At a jazz concert I recently attended in a concert hall, the audience was dead silent when the musicians were playing. I would say classical audiences could learn something from jazz audiences.

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#2085918 - 05/20/13 05:43 PM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: jjo]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 777
Loc: Michigan, USA
I think it's a fabulous idea! In fact, I've always had this silly dream about opening a place that featured my 3 favorite things: Pizza, beer, and Bach. (Maybe bock beer?) But seriously, the idea of presenting classical music in a less formal setting is step number one in demystifying it.

Of course, the tricky part is the audience. Jazz clubs tend to already be known to jazz aficionados, so the clientele is usually quite respectful of the music. Also, jazz can tolerate a bit more room noise (talking, clanging dishes, etc.) than classical. Although it's not ideal for jazz either, most jazz lovers will tolerate missing a note or two. Many classical lovers are not so forgiving.

I think the key is to view this setting as an adjunct to the traditional concert hall setting, not a replacement. It takes a very grounded musician to play in a venue so outside his or her comfort zone. But for those courageous musicians who are willing to put up with a little more noise, applause between movements, whistles and cheers after virtuosic passages, etc., then I say bring it on!! If you play, they will listen. And if they listen in a club, they just may decide to listen in the concert hall.

As wower said, "...I guess I'm too much of an iconoclast to understand letting a priority for silence between movements overrule expanding classical music exposure and appeal." And for me, expanding the classical music base is every bit as important as the music itself.

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#2086012 - 05/20/13 09:21 PM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: Old Man]
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Originally Posted By: Old Man
As wower said, "...I guess I'm too much of an iconoclast to understand letting a priority for silence between movements overrule expanding classical music exposure and appeal." And for me, expanding the classical music base is every bit as important as the music itself.


Believe me, I'm as concerned about the loss of the classical audience base as anyone, but I'm not persuaded that somehow introducing the behavior of a different audience for a different music addresses the issue. I think we need look elsewhere for a solution.

The jazz aficionados I know are serious people, and when they've asked me "what's with the no-applause thing after each movement?," I've been able to explain to them how those silences work for me, using language very similar to that that I used in my post up-thread: "The silences between movements can be very rewarding, as the music sometimes continues to exist in the air, so to speak, and a good artist and an attentive audience can sometimes really milk this silence, and get one movement to morph into the next in a very expressive and satisfying manner." They've been appreciative, and were able to understand the silences as a kind of audience/performer interaction, which is not the same, but akin to their own experience in jazz clubs.

To me, this kind of straight forward explanation seems a better approach than attempting to change the manner in which classical audiences appreciate music.

Tomasino





Edited by tomasino (05/20/13 11:00 PM)
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#2086085 - 05/21/13 01:53 AM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: tomasino]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 718
Originally Posted By: tomasino
The jazz aficionados I know are serious people, and when they've asked me "what's with the no-applause thing after each movement?," I've been able to explain to them how those silences work for me, using language very similar to that that I used in my post up-thread: "The silences between movements can be very rewarding, as the music sometimes continues to exist in the air, so to speak, and a good artist and an attentive audience can sometimes really milk this silence


On a similar note, having just returned from a ragtime festival, Joplin wrote a sublime piece called "Solace". You purely classical folk should probably look up, say, the Joshua Rifkin performance of that, which might be on YouTube.

To me, clapping at the end of that ostensibly pop music piece just seems completely inappropriate. If anything, the proper response is simply an audible sigh.
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#2086341 - 05/21/13 03:47 PM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: jjo]
wower Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 242
Loc: Calgary
Originally Posted By: tomasino
Believe me, I'm as concerned about the loss of the classical audience base as anyone, but I'm not persuaded that somehow introducing the behavior of a different audience for a different music addresses the issue. I think we need look elsewhere for a solution.


The jazz aficionados I know are serious people, and when they've asked me "what's with the no-applause thing after each movement?," I've been able to explain to them how those silences work for me, using language very similar to that that I used in my post up-thread: "The silences between movements can be very rewarding, as the music sometimes continues to exist in the air, so to speak, and a good artist and an attentive audience can sometimes really milk this silence, and get one movement to morph into the next in a very expressive and satisfying manner." They've been appreciative, and were able to understand the silences as a kind of audience/performer interaction, which is not the same, but akin to their own experience in jazz clubs.


To me, this kind of straight forward explanation seems a better approach than attempting to change the manner in which classical audiences appreciate music.



Oh my goodness Tomasino. I thought we were close on our views - I follow your argument to very end as I have a fierce dedication to the fidelity of the manuscript - but your comments made me realize a large gap actually exists between us. I had previously been disrespectful in not considering "classical music audience" as meaning the group of people who see international classical music artists tour through Calgary at places like the Rosza Center or Jack Singer Hall, which indeed shrinking to the best of my knowledge. Your last paragraph was an excellent summation of your argument but I don't think it's an explanation so much as a statement. You infer my position is to "[attempt] to change the manner in which classical audiences appreciate music" but I think this misrepresents my position and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to elaborate. You say at the beginning you're "concerned about the loss of the classical audience base" but I realized - and maybe this is just the entrepreneur in me - that I'm already at where some of these people are going! The Internet actually precipitates a lot of this. The threshold to organize a local event has decreased. And so I guess I see an opportunity to refocus on something hyper-local. While not all people leaving the classical music audience are showing up at classical music pub nights - as evidenced in the OP - I'd be very surprised indeed if there was no draw whatsoever to enjoying classical music causally in the company of like minded music fans.

It bares mentioning, along with having a strong desire to honour the score, I'm more sympathetic to points which revolve around showing respect to the performer and other audience members (such as those raised in the "Can Popular Music Audiences Act Like Classical Audiences?" thread) than drawing strict limits on how one can respond to classic music or where it can be performed. I'm in Calgary and it's 2013. There's just only so much I can carry out of 18th century Europe. And I don't feel alone. I'm not sure if Whizbang is making a joke or being serious when stating "the proper response is simply an audible sigh". I'm just thinking, like, holy smokes: I'm so glad this boils down to subjective preference. Please do not force me into this little box. And I'll happily take your spot at the piano on the jazz club stage. I promise never force anyone on PW to play piano at a jazz club or talk classical music at the pub, but would certainly extend a warm invitation to anyone finding themselves in town. It might change minds.



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#2086361 - 05/21/13 04:30 PM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: wower]
bennevis Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4739
It's horses for courses - or more specifically, it all depends on the performer(s), the audience, and not least, the venue. Just as much as the kind of music being played.

In informal, or less formal venues like clubs (and salons), there's plenty of opportunity for more interaction between performer and audience, should both choose to accept the mission (which movie did I hear that? wink ). I've given performances of exclusively classical music in small halls (but not jazz clubs), and chatted to the audience about the music I played, and been asked questions also; and I've also attended similar concerts given by others, where the same sort of interaction occurred. Yes, the audience often applauded (but not cheered or whooped) between movements. However, though unfamiliar with classical music (and most have never attended a classical concert before, and some probably have never heard any classical music apart from that used in movies and commercials etc), they were also attentive, and made sure they didn't cause any distraction (like clinking of glasses or cups) while the performer was playing - but that was also partly because a lot of classical music, unlike jazz, is played quietly. Whether Chopin would have been afforded such attentiveness during his own salon concerts is an interesting subject...... grin

And then you have jazz pianists like Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau giving solo concerts in big concert halls, where the atmosphere is indistinguishable from that of any classical concert, with no vocal interaction between the performer and the audience. Presumably, that's also what the pianists themselves wanted.

In the annual BBC Proms, there are always a few jazz concerts scattered among the otherwise exclusively classical ones. But in the vast space of the Royal Albert Hall, interaction is limited to the performers introducing themselves and the music, and the audience applauding briefly after brilliant solos, despite the audience containing a high percentage of jazz aficionados.

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#2086405 - 05/21/13 06:16 PM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: jjo]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2688
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
The concept of classical music as sacred space where silence is required hasn't always been the case. In Beethoven's time no such consideration was given, people talked during performances and moved around the room as they felt necessary (much like in a jazz club today). Personally, I appreciate the silence during classical performances because I feel there's more to listen for in classical music as opposed to jazz (IMO).

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#2086415 - 05/21/13 07:06 PM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: tomasino]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 777
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: tomasino

Believe me, I'm as concerned about the loss of the classical audience base as anyone, but I'm not persuaded that somehow introducing the behavior of a different audience for a different music addresses the issue. I think we need look elsewhere for a solution.

The jazz aficionados I know are serious people, and when they've asked me "what's with the no-applause thing after each movement?," I've been able to explain to them how those silences work for me, using language very similar to that that I used in my post up-thread: "The silences between movements can be very rewarding, as the music sometimes continues to exist in the air, so to speak, and a good artist and an attentive audience can sometimes really milk this silence, and get one movement to morph into the next in a very expressive and satisfying manner." They've been appreciative, and were able to understand the silences as a kind of audience/performer interaction, which is not the same, but akin to their own experience in jazz clubs.

To me, this kind of straight forward explanation seems a better approach than attempting to change the manner in which classical audiences appreciate music.

Tomasino

I agree with you that most classical music lovers (including myself) prefer to hear the music, all of the music -- and yes, the lingering silences as well. But as I said earlier, I don't think it needs to be an "either or" choice. Nothing should replace the traditional concert venue, but I believe these informal jazz venues offer those unfamiliar with classical music the opportunity to hear it without getting gussied up and without worrying about its arcane rules of etiquette.

It's not THE solution to the problem of dwindling numbers of classical music fans. It's simply another opportunity to reach out.


Edited by Old Man (05/21/13 07:08 PM)

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#2086522 - 05/21/13 11:52 PM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: jjo]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1311
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
I'm curious to the reaction here to this vignette. Last week I went to a performance of the Mozart Requiem here in Toronto, in a church, given by the
120-voice Toronto Choral Society with a small pick-up orchestra. Not a great choir, but not bad. Tickets were $25, and the church was fairly full, so maybe 400 people attended.

Before the Requiem, the conductor said from the podium: "I'm often asked by new concertgoers when one should applaud at one of our choral concerts. My advice is to applaud whenever you wish."

And so, 400 dutiful concertgoers proceeded to clap after every movement of this haunting sacred Latin mass for the dead that Mozart wrote at the close of his life.

Well, maybe 398 dutiful concertgoers did that. My partner and I just looked at each other dumbfounded, and withheld our applause until after the closing Agnus dei. Not to thumb our nose at our seatmates, or at a very capable conductor, but simply to be respectful to our own sense of classical music concert etiquette.

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#2086524 - 05/21/13 11:54 PM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: Peter K. Mose]
Polyphonist Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7418
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
My partner and I just looked at each other dumbfounded, and withheld our applause until after the closing Agnus dei. Not to thumb our nose at our seatmates, or at a very capable conductor, but simply to be respectful to our own sense of classical music concert etiquette.

Good for you! smile
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#2086533 - 05/22/13 12:31 AM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: Old Man]
Ferdinand Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/23/07
Posts: 935
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Old Man
Originally Posted By: tomasino

Believe me, I'm as concerned about the loss of the classical audience base as anyone, but I'm not persuaded that somehow introducing the behavior of a different audience for a different music addresses the issue. I think we need look elsewhere for a solution.

The jazz aficionados I know are serious people, and when they've asked me "what's with the no-applause thing after each movement?," I've been able to explain to them how those silences work for me, using language very similar to that that I used in my post up-thread: "The silences between movements can be very rewarding, as the music sometimes continues to exist in the air, so to speak, and a good artist and an attentive audience can sometimes really milk this silence, and get one movement to morph into the next in a very expressive and satisfying manner." They've been appreciative, and were able to understand the silences as a kind of audience/performer interaction, which is not the same, but akin to their own experience in jazz clubs.

To me, this kind of straight forward explanation seems a better approach than attempting to change the manner in which classical audiences appreciate music.

Tomasino

I agree with you that most classical music lovers (including myself) prefer to hear the music, all of the music -- and yes, the lingering silences as well. But as I said earlier, I don't think it needs to be an "either or" choice. Nothing should replace the traditional concert venue, but I believe these informal jazz venues offer those unfamiliar with classical music the opportunity to hear it without getting gussied up and without worrying about its arcane rules of etiquette.

It's not THE solution to the problem of dwindling numbers of classical music fans. It's simply another opportunity to reach out.

What you write here is reasonable. I take exception only to "arcane rules." I don't see what's so mysterious. It boils down to:
While the music is in progress, sit still, don't talk, and leave your phone inside your purse.
Seems fairly simple and self-evident.

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#2086699 - 05/22/13 10:16 AM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: Old Man]
wower Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 242
Loc: Calgary
Originally Posted By: Old Man
It's not THE solution to the problem of dwindling numbers of classical music fans. It's simply another opportunity to reach out.


+1. I'm not asking for anyone to change!
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#2086778 - 05/22/13 12:33 PM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: Ferdinand]
bennevis Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4739
As to the knotty question of applauding between movements, some - probably most - musicians don't mind at all, unless there's an attacca into the next (like after the slow movement of Rach 3 grin, or between any of the movements in Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto), or if it would break the spell following an intense slow movement (e.g. after the Adagietto in Mahler's 5th). Though applauding between the movements of a Requiem is probably not to be encouraged.....

But after the first movement of a symphony or concerto (especially if there's a brilliant cadenza), conductors and soloists tend not to mind, and may even appreciate it, as one can read from some musicians' blogs.

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#2086788 - 05/22/13 12:48 PM Re: Can classical audiences act like jazz audiences? [Re: bennevis]
RealPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 2309
Loc: NYC
Re this discussion, I can't resist posting about an early concert by the Kronos Quartet where they had just finished a long, quiet, mesmerizing Morton Feldman quartet. The audience was basking in awed silence, when the quartet rushed back onstage and, for an encore, began shredding their version of Hendrix's "Purple Haze." Talk about a buzz kill.

And they were rightly excoriated by at least one critic in his review.
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www.josephkubera.com

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