Monday, December 31, 2007

I know that one, though...

Well, I've been extraordinarily quiet these last few weeks. This is mostly due to working hard, being in the United Kingdom and the fact that Facebook's Scrabulous seems to have taken over my life... But as the minutes tick away before the start of 2008, I thought I'd better post something of interest just to have something in my December column. So here is a snippet I found this afternoon:

The following article is from the January 2008 edition of BBC Music Magazine. It's a shame this isn't a more widely read publication in, say, Finland, a country with, in my experience, some of the most congested and bronchial concert audiences in the civilised world. The idea of the great Sir Simon Rattle (pictured in a wonderful caricature by the Belgian sketch artist Jan Op De Beeck, which lends extra credence to a joke Magnus Lindberg told me a few years ago and which almost certainly deserves a post all of its own) instructing a Carnegie Hall audience in how to cough correctly (ie. discreetly) is one I shall treasure. Enjoy!

(P.S. New Year's Resolution #1: Post more actively in 2008!)

Splutter Ye Not
So, what's the best way to cough? Instruction on this very subject has been given mid-symphony by Sir Simon Rattle, who finally lost his patience with a persistent hacker in New York. Conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in Mahler's Ninth Symphony at Carnegie Hall, Rattle broke off after the first movement to address the audience. 'This piece starts with silence and returns to silence,' he said. 'The audience can help to create the piece by remaining silent.' The silver-headed maestro then proceeded to whip out a handkerchief from his pocket and show how best to muffle the sound, should anyone continue to find the urge to clear their throat simply too much to resist. The audience, we understand, behaved impeccably thereafter.