Hold Your Applause!

2010 Royal Philharmonic Society Lecture - Alex Ross

Given on Monday 8 March 2010 at the Wigmore Hall, London

Inventing and Reinventing the Classical Concert

“In the eighteenth century listeners often burst into applause while the music was playing, much as patrons in jazz clubs do today. The practice seems to have died out in the course of the nineteenth century, although audiences almost always applauded after movements of large-scale works. Then, in the early years of the twentieth century, the idea took root that one should remain resolutely silent throughout a multi-movement piece. By imposing such a code, we may inadvertently be confining the enormous and diverse expressive energies that are contained within the classics of the repertory. The work itself should dictate our behaviour, not some hard-and-fast code of etiquette.”

Alex Ross

writes about classical music for The New Yorker, from the Metropolitan Opera to the downtown avant-garde. His first book The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, for which he was awarded the RPS Music Award for Creative Communication in May 2009, made an unprecedented impact on both sides of the Atlantic.

The RPS Lecture

offers a platform for eminent thinkers and cultural commentators to examine aspects of the future of music. Recent speakers have included the neuroscientist Susan Greenfield, composer Steve Reich and opera director Graham Vick.

The RPS Lecture is generously supported by Peter Bull

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