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June 16, 2007

A populist moment

by Greg Sandow

At a performance of Beethoven's Ninth by the Milwaukee Symphony, the bass soloist switched from German into English to acknowledge something in the outside world. At the end of his recitative in the last movement, he sang:

...sondern lasst uns angenehmere anstimmen, und freuden -- HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

The audience burst out in what sounded (I heard this on a recording) like wildly happy applause. What do we think of this?

I have to admit I thought it was cheesy. But it did break down the walls that separate most orchestra concerts from the rest of the walls -- something that wouldn't be worth noting, if it didn't so rarely happen.

Posted by gsandow at June 16, 2007 9:44 AM


I was there, and the audience was indeed very happy. It was a cool moment, and it did bring audience and performers together in a way that I've seldom experienced at a non-pops concert.

Posted by: Robert at June 16, 2007 10:07 AM

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