List of classical music with an unruly audience response

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There have been many notable instances of unruly behavior at classical music concerts, often at the premiere of a new work or production:

  • 1830 (August 25, Brussels): Daniel Auber, La muette de Portici. Audience members at a performance in Brussels left before the end of the opera to join pre-planned riots that were already taking place across the city, marking the beginning of the Belgian Revolution.[1]
  • 1868 (March 5, Milan): Arrigo Boito, Mefistofele. The audience came predisposed to drown out Boito's claquers and succeeded in making the music inaudible with their hisses and boos.[3][4][5]
  • 1913 (March 31, Vienna): Alban Berg, Altenberg Lieder. As part of a front in Vienna's ongoing style wars, the audience booed and catcalled loudly, and some punches were thrown. The event came to be known as the Skandalkonzert.[6]
  • 1913 (May 29, Paris): Igor Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring. Dueling factions tried to drown each other out during the ballet's premiere, unwittingly launching generations of exaggerations of what actually happened in the hall that night.[7][8]
  • 1913 (March 9, Rome): Francesco Balilla Pratella, Musica Futurista. At the second performance of the work, the audience booed, threw garbage at the orchestra, and some fighting occurred.[10][11]
  • 1917 (May 18, Paris): Erik Satie, Parade. One faction of the audience booed, hissed, and was generally unruly, but they were eventually silenced by an enthusiastic ovation.[12][13]
  • 1923 (March 4, New York): Edgard Varèse, Hyperprism. The audience laughed throughout and hissed at the conclusion, which prompted Varèse to repeat the work in hopes of a more serious response.[14]
  • 1924 (June 15, Paris): Erik Satie, Mercure. The police were called to the premiere due to unruly behavior that sprung from the Parisian cultural infighting of the time.[15]
  • 1926 (June 19, Paris): George Antheil, Ballet Mécanique. The premiere performance received a large ovation despite some unruly behavior in the audience, including an outburst by Ezra Pound, but there were some fistfights in the street after the concert.[16]
  • 1973 (January 18, New York): Steve Reich, Four Organs. At a Carnegie Hall performance of the work, the conservative audience tried yelling and sarcastically applauding to hasten the end of the piece, which received both boos and cheers during the ovation.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Slatin, Sonia. "Opera and Revolution: La Muette de Portici and the Belgian Revolution of 1830 Revisited", Journal of Musicological Research 3 (1979), 53–54
  2. ^ Wasselin, Christian, "Benvenuto Cellini" on the Hector Berlioz website for a more detailed inside story of the opera
  3. ^ Halperson, Maurice. "The Romance of Music, 56", Musical America, September 8, 1917.
  4. ^ Nicolaisen, Jay. "The First 'Mefistofele'." 19th-Century Music, Vol. 1, No. 3 (Mar., 1978), pp. 221-222.
  5. ^ Kennedy, Michael; Kennedy, Joyce; Rutherford-Johnson, Tim, ed. (2013). "Boito, Arrigo". The Oxford Dictionary of Music. Oxford University Press. p. 99. ISBN 978-0-19-957854-2. 
  6. ^ Barker, Andrew (1997). "Battles of the Mind: Berg and the Cultural Politics of 'Vienna 1900'", The Cambridge Companion to Berg, p. 24. Pople, Anthony, ed. ISBN 0-521-56489-1.
  7. ^ Bullard, Truman (1971). The first performance of Igor Stravinsky's Sacre du printemps. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Ann Arbor University (microfilm copy). OCLC 937514. 
  8. ^ Pieter C. van den Toorn, "Stravinsky and The Rite of Spring", Chapter 1: Point of Order
  9. ^ Steinberg, Michael. "Program Notes", San Francisco Symphony.
  10. ^ Payton, Rodney J. "The Music of Futurism: Concerts and Polemics", Musical Quarterly, (1976) LXII (1): 33.
  11. ^ Music of the Twentieth-century Avant-garde: A Biocritical Sourcebook. Greenwood Publishing Group. 2002. 
  12. ^ Peterkin, Norman. "Erik Satie's 'Parade'", The Musical Times, Vol. 60, No. 918 (Aug. 1, 1919), 426.
  13. ^ "Springtime in Paris: Erik Satie". Music.minnesota.publicradio.org. 2000-03-01. Retrieved 2014-01-14. 
  14. ^ "Taxi Toots Sound Sweet After Music By Composers Guild: Many Hisses Greet Conclusion of 'Hyperprism'; Dissenters Told to Leave and Piece Is Played Over Again", New York Tribune, March 5, 1923.
  15. ^ Orledge, "Erik Satie's Ballet Mercure (1924)".
  16. ^ Key, Susan, Larry Rothe, and Thomas M. Tilson. American Mavericks. San Francisco, Calif: San Francisco Symphony, 2001.
  17. ^ Vinton, John (January 1964). "The Case of the Miraculous Mandarin" (PDF). The Musical Quarterly L (1): 13. doi:10.1093/mq/L.1.1. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  18. ^ Mattis, Olivia. "Varèse's Multimedia Conception of Déserts", The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 76, No. 4 (Winter, 1992), p. 557.
  19. ^ Boyden, Matthew, and Nick Kimberly. The Rough Guide to Opera, Rough Guides, 2002, p. 550.
  20. ^ "Luigi Nono". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  21. ^ Ernst Schnabel, "Zum Untergang einer Uraufführung" and "Postscriptum nach dreiunddreissig Tagen", in Hans Werner Henze and Ernst Schnabel, Das Floss der Medusa: Text zum Oratorium, 47–61 & 65–79 (Munich: Piper-Verlag, 1969);
    Andrew Porter, "Henze: The Raft of the Frigate 'Medusa' – Oratorio" [record review of DGG 139428-9], Gramophone 47, no. 563 (April 1970): 1625;
    Anon. "Affären/Henze: Sie bleibt", Der Spiegel 22, no. 51 (16 December 1968): 152. (German)
  22. ^ Schonberg, Harold. "Music: A Concert Fuss: Piece by Reich Draws a Vocal Reaction," The New York Times, January 20, 1973.