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Quartet recital drowned out at Vienna Konzerthaus by noisy neighbours

The Arditti Quartet were playing Luigi Nono’s Fragmente-Stille, an Diotima in the Mozart room of the Konzerthaus at the weekend when the blast of Herbert Grönemeyer’s prog rock in the adjacent hall made them give up the ghostly work and call off the concert.

Audience members were offered a free drink and their money back.

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  1. How could the management see this train coming and not pull the victim off the tracks before?

  2. I always remember playing Mahler VI many years ago in a concert at the end of a Youth outreach programme put on at Brighton Corn Exchange – the second hall at the Brighton Dome. It turned out that Natasha Beddingfield (Who on earth was she) was performing in the main Dome, and I can remember hearing her loudly through the quieter movements 2 & 3.

    I’m afraid it often happens. Unless it really is unbearable, (which appears to have been the case here in Vienna) the best response I have found is that suggested in ‘The Inner Game of Music’ which suggests ways for the performers and audience alike to accept the disturbances which mar all live music and to accept these as an integral part of any performance.

  3. Chris Walsh says:

    I really think the Arditti could have soldiered on – particularly as this is the Cage centenary year.

  4. They never made it to the Nono; we were kept waiting only for a short time to hear that it (and the second half) was cancelled after the quartet managed the first half without disturbance. Audience members who bought Einzelkarten at the Kassa won’t have received the email, but in addition to the refund the Konzerthaus is also generously offering two free tickets to one of the five contemporary events listed at the end of this blog post (

  5. I will never forget hearing Curlew River at the Aix-en-Provence Festival the evening that France won the football World Cup. The momentous victory happened about fifteen minutes before the opera’s conclusion but those minutes were inaudible to those of us in the outdoor theatre as bells pealed, auto horns honked, and people went screaming through the venue shouting ‘Vive le France.’ It was, I imagine rather like the liberation – in particular the peal of the great Cathedral bells. As a recording producer, these sorts of problems are frequent when working outside the relatively safe confines of facilities like Abbey Road and there is usually little help!

  6. Stephen Carpenter says:

    I was in the chorus for a Messiah performance in a stacked (one atop the other) double theatre complex. The municipal owners had booked not only the annual Messiah performance in the large (and resonant) hall on the main floor, but also a national weight-lifting tournament in the second (smaller) hall below. The finals co-incided with the Messiah. There was distant thunder throughout the Messiah at odd an inopportune moments as well as a slight shake to the floor of the stage every time the weights were dropped from a height of about 7′.
    One wonders at these occurrences.

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