Symphony, Interrupted

« previous episode | next episode »

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This week’s Showdown features three works whose performances were recently disrupted by audience members.

Last week, Brahms Second Symphony was accompanied by a fistfight during a Chicago Symphony Orchestra performance. A cell phone alarm chimed in during a New York Philharmonic performance of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony in January. And in November 2011, an audience member shouted, “Terrible! Too slow!” and stormed out during a performance of Bruckner's Fourth Symphony by the London Philharmonic.

Despite the vocal support for Bruckner in the comments section, it was Mahler that earned more of your votes. We played at noon a New York Philharmonic performance of Mahler's Ninth Symphony – this time completely uninterrupted.


Comments [26]

David from Bloomfield, NJ

A friend once told me a very funny joke originally told by Peter Schickele. Vaguely remembered and probably not correct:
Two musician friends, Abe and Murray, were driving from Boston to New York City. As they approached New York, Abe said, "Do you have any idea where we are? I think we're lost." "No," said Murray. "I have a feeling we're on the Bruckner." "And, how do you know this?" asked Abe. "Because this road is long, boring and goes absolutely nowhere," said Murray.

Mar. 14 2012 10:52 PM

I voted for the Brahms, although I hope to hear all of the works on WQXR soon. I did read the link about what happened in London during the playing of the Bruckner Fourth and I'm quite amazed. I recommend anyone who wants to have a jaw-dropping moment, should click on the link and read it.

Mar. 14 2012 12:00 PM
Jeffrey Weissel from NJ

I agree with the comments pointing out that Bruckner's symphonies are seldom played on WQXR. Two probable reasons: 1) His symphonies are very long (yet Mahler's equally lengthy works get airtime), and 2) his music is currently not popular. Here are some observations from memory (please correct me if I'm wrong): Bruckner started off as a church organist in rural Austria. He was very unsophisticated, naive, but intensely religious. Bruckner's symphonies are towering musical edifices that reflect his spirituality. His works were severely criticized by the musical pundits in the Vienna of the day, who believed that Brahms symbolized the "correct" Germanic tradition in symphonic writing. Wanting his works to be liked, Bruckner made many revisions and allowed others to revise his symphonies. So today, we have problems in recognizing which versions are "true" to Bruckner's intentions.

I went through a Bruckner period when I was younger, and have many recordingss of his symphonies. I still occasionally play symphonies 3 though 9, my favorite being 8. The coda of the magnificent adagio of the 8th is one of the most eye-wateringly beautiful 2 - 3 minutes of music I know. So, let's hear Bruckner's 4th at noon, it is his most popular symphonies, and as others have pointed out, rarely played on WQXR.

Mar. 14 2012 11:46 AM
Ephraim Hammett Jones from Orange, NJ

I love both the Brahms second and Mahler ninth. I vote for the Brahms, but it looks like the Bruckner is winning. Oh well, I've had several cups of coffee so I'm prepared.

Mar. 14 2012 11:35 AM
HYH from Westchester County

My goodness! I love all 3 of these symphonies, I really do -- all so juicy and delicious and passionate and emotional, but am choosing the Bruckner as I've put it in for a listener request several times without success. I love these 3 juicy concert stories as well. Who says the classical music world is boring. I am so much more intrigued by this kind of stuff than kanye and taylor or beyonce and jay z or the reality 'stars' non-talent success. Wooo Hoooo!

Mar. 14 2012 11:28 AM
Jane from nyc 10023

I love qxr!! Unfortunately, I'll be away from the radio at noon today so won't get to hear either of these wonderful choices. I'll always vote for Mahler tho and I did. Thank you for being here.

Mar. 14 2012 11:19 AM
david douek from NY

* watch a war break out during the transmission, lol, (hope not!)

Mar. 14 2012 11:19 AM

Strikes me as something worth thinking about.

Mar. 14 2012 11:16 AM
Aimar Labaki from São Paulo, Brazil

Mahler, always.

Mar. 14 2012 11:12 AM
howard smythe from Brooklyn NY

First, I'm a supporter of WQXR. I vote for Bruckner. Outside of a few concert perfomances broadcast on WQXR, Bruckner is NEVER played on your station. Seems like you've been boycotting Bruckner sicen you'vr become a public supported station.

Mar. 14 2012 11:11 AM
mike from bronx

more nielsen, more bruckner

Mar. 14 2012 11:11 AM
Fan from Long Island, NY

The Bruckner, please, but hit the fast forward button every few minutes in honor of the guy who walked out.

Mar. 14 2012 11:08 AM
Dick from Pomona, NY

Although I am not a great fan of Brahms, I find his second symphony quite beautiful. I actually listened to Bruckner's fourth (A cd that i have, the Vienna with Abbado and did not enjoy it at all. So bring on Brahms

Mar. 14 2012 11:04 AM
Jackie Enloe from Manhattan

I love Brahms and admire the way he helped the Schumanns, so I want to help him by voting for him!

Mar. 14 2012 11:03 AM
j. roma

Please - no Bruckner. I do not want to fall asleep in the middle of my day. As a long-time concert music listener and performer, I have never understood the lure of his music to some listeners. Mahler or Brahms will be much- preferred at Noon!

Mar. 14 2012 11:01 AM
Fred from Staten Island NY

Like other listners I'd like to hear the Bruckner since it's rarely played.

Mar. 14 2012 10:59 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

My vote is for Bruckner; thank you for FINALLY giving us the opportunity to hear one of his symphonies during the afternoon hours! It is very unfortunate that his extraordinarily beautiful music has been so neglected and not given much attention on WQXR. Hopefully, that will change and you will begin to play his music more often. If the Symphony #4 doesn't win in the Showdown today, perhaps you can play it on another weekday afternoon in the near future. Thanks again!

Mar. 14 2012 10:56 AM

I rarely hear Bruckner and when I have, I've never connected with him.
So I'd like to try again.

Mar. 14 2012 10:55 AM
RP from Manhattan

I would crawl for Bruckner. Before WQXR moved a couple of years ago, you used to have Mahler and Bruckner on, as I recall, every Tuesday night. Since then, I have heard Bruckner only once on WQXR and that was from a concert of the NY Philharmonics... not by a conductor I want to hear it played. And the 1st Symphony is practically all one hears of Mahler lately. I absolutely adore the Brahms "Ein Deutsches Requiem" but please, please, please do play the other 2 wonderful composer's pieces in full more often. They are sadly missed.

Thank you so much.

Mar. 14 2012 10:29 AM
LBell from Iowa

Tough call...I was about to land firmly on the side of Bruckner but now that I think about it, I'd have to know more about the person who shouted out. He (I believe it was a he) didn't sound like your typical overstimulated teenager. Had he performed and/or conducted the piece himself? Did/does he have a beef with the conductor?

I kid, I kid... :) but I must confess there have been times when I'VE certainly wanted to shout out because the orchestra didn't handle my beloved works the way I (long-time listener and amateur musician) felt they should be handled.

The cell phone battle has been lost for a while now, so with all of this, I'm going to vote for Brahms, because I would NEVER EVER get into a fistfight during a performance in the performance matter how much I disliked the performance!

Mar. 14 2012 10:28 AM
Madeline C. from New York City

Mahler is my most favorite composer, and I do not feel WQXR plays enough of Mahler to satisfy me. I've asked repeated times for certain symphonies but still haven't heard them. So, with this chance of hearing his 9th,I'd really love to know my requests are heard (sometimes)
I did listen to the 2nd a few weeks ago, with the Berlin Philarmonic and was so pleased thatyou did this, live! More please. Madeline C

Mar. 14 2012 09:25 AM
Tim Brown from Washington, DC

Bruckner gets even less air time than Mahler, so I vote for the Bruckner Symphony #4 today. Thank you WQXR for playing more Mahler lately, now please do the same for Bruckner!

Mar. 14 2012 07:56 AM
Tim Brown from Washington, DC

Bruckner gets so little air play these days that I will vote for his Symphony #4. Thank you WQXR for playing more Mahler lately. Now please do the same for Bruckner!

Mar. 14 2012 07:53 AM
Bernie from UWS

Yes, Mahler please! I wasn't at the infamous marimba ringtone concert but wish I'd heard the Phil do this in January. I know Brahms is the obvious choice for some but let's hear something you don't get on QXR so often!

Mar. 14 2012 07:42 AM
ramln from new york

bruckner's always good- the slower the better! brahms also lovely. as for mahler, the flavor of the era, you can keep that...

Mar. 14 2012 07:40 AM
Anna della Sala

I've missed the Mahler in performance at the NYPHIL and LAPHIL, si i welcome the chance to hear it today.

Mar. 14 2012 06:28 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.