The Well-Tempered Music Guy

Simple thoughts by a simple listener on classical music

Friday, January 27, 2006

Angry Sparrows in Avery Fischer

Reading Bernard Holland's review in the New York Times, I was reminded of a rather unpleasant episode during the concert of Mozart's great masses. I forgot to mention this in my original post.

As Holland writes:

"The Mass was briefly accompanied by a twitter in Fisher Hall's rafters, sounding roughly like a flock of angry sparrows. Lincoln Center attributed it to a hearing aid, although how feedback from so small a source could have swooped back and forth and at such a volume strains my limited understanding of electronics."

There is no way that was a hearing aid. Unfortunately, I've heard hearing aid feedback during a concert, and it sounds nothing like that. On the other hand, it sounded exactly like many emergency alarms that sound when an emergency door is opened. I assumed at the time that someone had ducked out of the performance and used an emergency exit close to one of the entrances to the hall. It also, as Holland notes, seemed way too loud to come from a hearing aid. If it hadn't occurred during the grand Qui Tollis section of the C minor mass and instead during, say, Et incarnatus, it would have stopped the performance, I'm sure of it.

At any rate, it's time to toss that hall out back into some mothballs, or better yet shoot it and take it out of its misery.

As an aside, when a hearing aid does go off, I'm most upset not at the pour old soul with the faded aural senses, but at the people sitting next to him who don't immediately do something about it. If next time you're at a concert, something like that is happening next to you, for heaven's sake, give the person a solid poke.


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