Author Topic: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!  (Read 11590 times)

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Offline Cato

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Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« on: April 26, 2007, 04:57:24 AM »
The Wall Street Journal carried an article last week about the latest generation entering the workforce, the new 20-somethings who were - apparently, according to the article - ├╝ber-praised as children, and now as employees need constant pampering and pats on the head.

Anyway, a letter to the editor mentioned this "praise-culture" leeching into concert halls.  As a regular at the Memphis Symphony, he said that every soloist gets a standing ovation and at least one curtain-call, even when "they don't deserve it."  The conclusion of course was obvious: this trend cheapens the standing ovation when it is really earned.

To quote the line from the cartoon The Incredibles: "When everyone is super, nobody is."

I have noticed this as well: I am not a regular concert-goer by any means, but standing ovations seem to have gotten out of hand throughout the years.  Some years ago I heard a soloist of some fame struggle with her fiddle rather dreadfully with the Kalamazoo Symphony: the struggle earned her a standing ovation!   Last month I was taken to a tepid concert by the Vienna Boys' Choir in California (only a portion of them: 16 total), but the audience rose for a standing ovation at the end!  (As a card-carrying curmudgeon I stayed in my seat in both cases!)   ;D

So have any of you noticed this trend?  Especially those of you in larger cities.  Does the Podunk Philharmonic get a standing ovation at every concert?
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Offline MishaK

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2007, 05:41:17 AM »
People were giving me perplexed stares when I booed the conductor in New York recently.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2007, 05:49:07 AM »
In my experience standing ovations are rare in Germany. It almost never happens in Mannheim or Frankfurt no matter how famous the performer, no matter how good the performance. Even Chailly, conducting the Mahler Third with Petra Lang, didn't convince the Leipzigers to get off their butts although the applause was enthusiastic, heartfelt and lasted for five or six curtain calls. However, Thomas Quasthoff's Mahler, in Berlin, caused a few to rise; the Seventh in the second half of the program provoked a huge response from the audience which included a sizable portion standing...I think Barenboim and his band deserved that.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline MishaK

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2007, 05:59:19 AM »
However, Thomas Quasthoff's Mahler, in Berlin, caused a few to rise; the Seventh in the second half of the program provoked a huge response from the audience which included a sizable portion standing...I think Barenboim and his band deserved that.

He got that in Berlin almost every time I recall hearing him there with the CSO at the Festtage. After one especially memorable Bruckner 9th, the audience was still standing and clapping after the orchestra had largely left the stage. Barenboim finally came back to acknowledge one more round of applause which he shared with the remaining clarinetists and oboists who were still sitting there dismantling their instruments.

mahlertitan

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2007, 06:21:37 AM »
come on! I will give stand ovations to decent performances, it doesn't have to be "great".

karlhenning

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2007, 06:22:35 AM »
Exceeds low expectations.

Offline oyasumi

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2007, 06:29:38 AM »
Disney Hall people give standing ovations because we're just eager to get out of those cramped seats.

Maybe people are just grateful to get to hear great music performed, regardless of how good they thought the performance was.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2007, 06:42:04 AM »
For quite a number of coincertgoers here (and I'm only referring to mediocre concerts or recitals), a standing ovation would mean being caught en route to the exits, so, yes, in that respect it happens quite often.
Apart from that, and despite our audiences being quite warm and generous in their applause, I don't think standing ovations are too often (unless there's true merit or  - regardless of merit - a "star" to be appreciated).  At any rate, unless something truly exceptional has taken place, after the 2nd curtain call people tend to get up and get ready and anxious to leave. It could be mistaken for a standing ovation, because they're still clapping out of politeness when the musician re-appears.

Offline Cato

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2007, 08:49:49 AM »
For quite a number of concertgoers here (and I'm only referring to mediocre concerts or recitals), a standing ovation would mean being caught en route to the exits, so, yes, in that respect it happens quite often.


Where are you, Wanderer?  Although I suppose you could be anywhere!   :D

The Berlin Philharmonic received a standing ovation in Ann Arbor some years ago, when they were on tour, after playing Schoenberg's Pelleas und Melisande in a performance whose clarity made the piece sound like chamber music.

Yes, I stood up for that one!   0:)
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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Offline david johnson

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2007, 08:51:38 AM »
if you wish to stand and ovate, do it.  who gives a damn what anyone else does?

dj

Offline Cato

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2007, 08:56:31 AM »
if you wish to stand and ovate, do it.  who gives a damn what anyone else does?

dj

You can also sit and ovulate or sedentate or whatever!    :o
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

mahlertitan

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2007, 09:21:08 AM »
jump on the bandwagon, if other stand and ovate, then should you.

Wendell_E

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2007, 10:35:50 AM »
jump on the bandwagon, if other stand and ovate, then should you.

And if everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you do that too?   ;D

It does seem to be becoming the rule, rather than the exception.  I don't stand unless it's I think a truly exceptional performance.  The rest of the audience be damned!  >:D It doesn't bother me, except that they block my view of the artists.

Offline Bunny

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2007, 11:10:44 AM »
People were giving me perplexed stares when I booed the conductor in New York recently.

Which conductor?

Offline Solitary Wanderer

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2007, 11:24:33 AM »
In 3 years of attending classical music concerts [approx. 12 concerts per year] there has only been one standing ovation; Mahlers #2 in March.

Thats here in Auckland, New Zealand.
'I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.' ~ Emily Bronte

karlhenning

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2007, 11:26:11 AM »
In 3 years of attending classical music concerts [approx. 12 concerts per year] there has only been one standing ovation; Mahlers #2 in March.

Oh, that must have been a matter of people being eager to detach their corporeal selves from the seats, sure!  8)

Offline MishaK

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2007, 11:45:17 AM »
Which conductor?

Piers Maxim who conducted the La Monnaie production of Zauberfl├Âte at the BAM. The guy doesn't seem to understand that singers and wind players occasionally need to breathe. Conducted everything straight through without ever letting anyone come up for a breath. Actually, "conducted" is the wrong term. His technique would be better characterized as "rowing imaginary boats" for I never saw his left arm move independently of the right save to turn the page. Ensemble coordination was a mess. I was not surprised to hear that in one of the earlier performances one scene had to be stopped and restarted since it had completely fallen apart. Really too bad. If the musical direction had matched Kentridge's staging in quality, it would have made my trip to NY worthwhile. Life is too short to put up with dilettantes like Maxim.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2007, 01:08:55 PM by O Mensch »

DavidW

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2007, 01:04:38 PM »
The problem is that defining what is worth a standing ovation is subjective.  Since it varies from person to person so should the act.  The problem is that once it gets started, other people join in just to feel part of the crowd even if they didn't feel it was worth it.  Standing ovations is a form of social pressure.

I think that applause is really for the audience, it's so that we feel that we in someway participated with the evening.  I doubt that musicians judge the worth of their performance by the applause they receive at the end.  I guess then I don't see this as news or important.


Offline Wanderer

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2007, 01:16:21 PM »
Where are you, Wanderer?  Although I suppose you could be anywhere!   :D

Athens, Greece.

Offline Cato

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Re: Standing Ovations In America: Everybody Gets One!
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2007, 02:08:36 PM »
The problem is that defining what is worth a standing ovation is subjective.  Since it varies from person to person so should the act.  The problem is that once it gets started, other people join in just to feel part of the crowd even if they didn't feel it was worth it.  Standing ovations are a form of social pressure.

I think that applause is really for the audience, it's so that we feel that we in someway participated with the evening.  I doubt that musicians judge the worth of their performance by the applause they receive at the end.  I guess then I don't see this as news or important.



Peer pressure is surely the name of the game most of the time!  Few people dare to be seen as "unmutual" and so some of the unwilling will wryly stand up and go along with the gag.

On your last comment: certainly if a standing ovation remained a rarity, I am positive that most musicians would indeed place that in the scales of judgment.  You can imagine a stereotypical temperamental soloist being dissatisfied in his/her performance, yet the audience was enraptured and stands up immediately in adulation.  Would that counterbalance the harsher personal judgment?  Or would the audience be seen as philistines who did not know any better?
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)