Wednesday, June 08, 2011

"This is not music!" Viola heckler raises hell

UPDATE: There's much more going around now about this story & you can see Mr Zaslav's explanation of his protest, as well as some thoughtful commentary, at conductor Kenneth Woods' blog, here: http://kennethwoods.net/blog1/2011/06/08/avoiding-amplification/. The reason for the 'heckling'  was in fact one of my own favourite bugbears: the amplification level. In Mr Zaslav's position, I'd have done exactly the same. Excessive noise absolutely is painful and can cause us permanent damage - and we value our hearing. I refuse to go into a situation where the decibels are beyond tolerable; it hurts & it's not worth the potential consequences.



If you don't like the music, how far will you go to say so? This astonishing story from the blog Music vs Theater by Brian M. Rosen (which I found thanks to a tweet from Toby Deller) is kind of extreme. 

Is there a point at which les bourgeois grow sick of avant-garde composers wanting to ├ępater them and decide to jolly well say so? After all, shocking the middle classes out of their supposed smug complacency has been one of the key driving forces of new art for around a century. In response, maybe just not buying tickets is no longer enough...

It turns out that the heckler wasn't even a smug bourgeois, but a respected musician, viola player and former member of a seriously wonderful string quartet. See what happened here: http://blog.musicvstheater.com/2011/06/06/violagate-mini-riot-erupts-during-piece-for-viola-and-electronics/

Still, I'm not sure the poor old performer need really have smashed his own viola in response.