Bruckner’s eighth symphony at the Proms on Friday night was a triumph. Definitely the most exciting symphonic experience I have had for years. Lorin Maazel conducted the Vienna Philharmonic, the orchestra that gave the work its original premier. The sound balance was perfect, with the brass not overpowering the rest of the orchestra as can happen with Bruckner. We had wonderful seats, 20 feet from the viola players, so it felt like we were right inside the orchestra. During the finale, I felt the hairs stand up on the back of my neck; now that’s something that doesn’t happen very often at concerts.
However, a new and ghastly phenomenon exhibited itself at this Prom – people fiddling with mobile ‘phones during the performance. This prompted a letter from me to the Daily Telegraph which they declined to publish, so I reproduce it here:
I have attended several truly memorable Promenade Concerts this year, but I have to report a very unwelcome new distraction. Added to the coughers, the fidgeters, and the shufflers of programmes, are the persons unable to stop fiddling with mobile ‘phones during the performances. What part of the announcement, ‘Please turn off all mobile ‘phones’ are they unable to comprehend? One of these menaces, with a garish colour screen, within one’s line of sight makes it impossible to enjoy the music. Action is needed to suppress this modern scourge.
I spoke to one woman about it during the interval. She had been flicking the screen of her mobile 'phone during the first half. She promised not to do it during the Bruckner, but I do find myself wondering what on earth people want to come to a concert for, if they then sit there fiddling with their ‘phones when they’re bored with the music.
Welcome to the Mirli Books blog written by Peter Maggs