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Shanghai Symphony Orchestraa ruined experience


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#1 Arak

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 07:07 PM

The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra gave a concert here tonight. They played a program that involved not only the usual European classics (William Tell Overture, Polovstian Dances, Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23), but more recent music by Chinese composers as well (Wang's Night of the Torch Festival, Zhu's Symphony No. 10, and Tan's A Love Before Time from the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). And as a special encore, J. P. Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever. The music was absolutely wonderful; the audience just went wild for the pianist, Tian Jiang, and for the entire ensemble, really.

Unfortunately, my experience was somewhat marred. There was a woman sitting behind me who, during that familiar movement in William Tell, began to laugh. Now, I understand that people enjoy good music. I also enjoy good music. But your enjoyment should not manifest itself in such a way as to disturb the people around you, as she was doing to me. I inclined my head slightly back and shushed her, and continued listening to the music thinking that was the end of it. As soon as the piece was finished, this woman leaned forward, glaring at me, and said very sternly, "Don't you ever shush me again." She informed me that she was not talking, but laughing, and laughing did not merit shushing, and that I had just ruined her evening by spoiling her fun. I apologized for offending her, and explained that I found it disturbing. She then proceeded to lecture me on how she had paid for a ticket just the same as everyone else and was entitled to enjoy the music however she saw fit, and how dare I have a problem with it. As soon as intermission came, I asked to be moved and finished watching the performance from the balcony next to this very sweet couple who weren't even upset that I sat in one of their seats (they came back late). So at least it was pleasant from intermission on.

#2 Mel Johnson

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 03:42 AM

Arak, it used to be a handy saying that "an intellectual is someone who can hear the "William Tell Overture" without thinking of the Lone Ranger." The Lone Ranger was a Western radio, and later early television program. The sound track was laced with quotations from light classical music, usually excerpted from recordings by the Boston Pops Orchestra. The WTO contains not just one but three sections which were heavily used in the series and in silent movies and early cartoon shorts: The Storm at Night, Dawn, and The Rising of the Cantons. Your seatmate may have been experiencing the shock of recognition, and the laughter being a way of dealing with it. "Laugh it off." :D


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