They say music can appease the wild beast, but did you know that classical music can bring out beastly screams? (Scott Seaton via Youtube)
Estimated reading time: 2-3 minutes
THE CONCERT HALL – It is said that music can appease the wild beast, but did you know that classical music can bring out beastly cries?
Music Director Scott Seaton knows better than anyone that classical music is more than just sweets and lullabies that soothe the mind to encourage calm and sleep. Classical music is also thrill, chills and goosebumps.
The composers of such music may want you to jump and scream in the movies with timpani and shrill strings – and a movie theater is an acceptable place for that reaction. But most classical concerts have strict rules and decorum to follow.
Silence is the respectable way, which means no unwrapping cough drops and no talking with your neighbor. Even if you are extremely moved by the music, there is absolutely no applause until the piece is over and the conductor gives up.
Seaton was conducting the North State Symphony in Redding, Calif., when that rule of silence was broken. While conductors, musicians and patrons may be offended by such disruption, this disruption had a different reaction.
In the video, the specific piece that led to the disruption is a soft, slightly tense passage in Igor Stranvinsky’s “The Firebird.” Unfortunately, for a musically rocked person in the audience, the next part is quite the opposite and the orchestra explodes almost at full volume.
And that’s when the cry of surprise rings through the air.
It’s not clear if the person was drowsy, inattentive, or easily spooked, but it’s clear that Seaton loves hearing someone startled by a scream during the performance. He smiled immediately as the audience giggled in reaction. He even looks back with a wry smile to let the audience know he shares their joy.
Perhaps the next classic misstep we’ll see is a mosh pit in Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture as real cannon fire closes the play.