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Classical Notes

More on Applause

Posted at 7:28 PM on February 15, 2007 by Rex Levang

Andrew Druckenbrod weighs in on the Great Applause Debate, in a piece that's received some attention in the classical blogosphere.

You can find some kind of precedent for just about any kind of applause behavior -- reverent, silent, frantic, negative, you name it.

One that would have been interesting to hear is a story that I read somewhere about Wagner. As he himself told it, his "Entrance of the Guests" was being played in Paris, and as the music unfolded, at the end of a certain surprising phrase, the audience applauded: apparently they liked the contour of the music and clapped, just as we might at a particularly witty line in a play. You don't get that too much anymore.

Of course with Wagner, you never know. It may never have happened. But at least he expected his readers to think that it could have happened.