Missing Silence

The last few years I’ve been attending a few Classical concerts again in addition to my usual fare of experimental/noise shows. At a concert last Sunday the small, but enthusiastic, audience clapped after every movement of the two pieces on the program (Mozart and Dvorak) instead of waiting until the very end of each piece to applaud. At first I didn’t mind. The musicians all smiled at us, and at each other, subtly rolling their eyes, and must have wondered “will this happen after the next movement too?” It did. But I soon I realized that I missed the silences that are usually present. To listen to the sound of a space, a room, the air, and the outside noises, as framed by the concert experience (4’33”), is lovely. I was denied this “music” because of the applause. I was not upset, it was just interesting to notice how my feeling about the applause changed from amusement to longing. This was a small part of a wonderful concert!

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