The following item appeared several days ago in Leah Garchik’s column in the San Francisco Chronicle:
"The third movement of Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony has such a razzle-dazzle ending that the San Francisco Symphony audience Thursday cheered at its ending, a definite no-no because there was another movement (much quieter) to come. Afterward, an audience member approached one of the musicians, praised the concert and asked what the encore had been, an inquiry that caused big giggles among the musicians."
Well, I don’t have strong feelings on the clapping-between-movements controversy. I oppose anything that disrupts the music or the mood for everyone else, but I’m not really convinced that clapping during a pause between symphony movements does that, at least as compared to clapping between each song in a recital set or being the first to scream bravo before a song has finished. It’s the last sentence of the item that contains the irritant: the very fact that this audience member was not already immersed in concert-going etiquette, familiar (or over-familiar) with every single note of Tchaikovsky's Sixth, and had not been looking at the list of movements in the program during the performance, indicates to me that she (I’ll just use “she” for convenience; I have no idea of the gender here) was, of all things, actually listening to the music. Gee, she might even be one of those “new audience members” arts groups are allegedly so desperate to reach. So she, having no doubt paid a fair amount for her ticket, instead of rushing out immediately like most symphony-goers took the trouble to compliment the musicians and ask about the music, which obviously had touched her. For this she gets the snotty "big giggle" treatment by the in-the-know sophisticates. I hope at least they had the decency to give that member of their paying public a courteous and straightforward answer to her face before they alerted the media. Well, being a swell fiddle player doesn’t guarantee either sensitivity or sense.