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Classical Notes

Standing and Clapping

Posted at 1:05 PM on March 14, 2007 by Rex Levang

Audience members were on their feet last Friday at Orchestra Hall, but not for the usual reason.

One of the pieces on the Minnesota Orchestra's New York-themed program was a section of John Cage's "Living Room Music" -- a percussion piece played on ordinary objects one might find in a living room: a table, a newspaper, and so on. To set the scene, four well-upholstered armchairs were set up on a corner of the Orchestra Hall stage. Unfortunately that corner was invisible to some of the people sitting in the side boxes -- but by dint of standing up, they were able to get a full view. (It was a Casual Classics concert, after all.)

The Cage was followed by Steve Reich's "Clapping Music," which is indeed scored simply for clapping hands. The clapping that followed, from the audience, felt more enthusiastic than some of the obligatory Standing O's I've experienced.