Two months ago i was thrilled. I discovered that Alfred Brendel was coming to Greece, in Athens, for one of his recitals (btw the announced that he will be retired after his scheduled performances in 2008).
I went with my friend Dimitris and bought our tickets and then waited for the big day. Alfred Brendel was scheduled to play Haydn, Schubert, Mozart and Beethoven. The detailed program follows (played in that order):
- Haydn: Piano sonata in c minor, Hob. XVI:20
- Beethoven: Piano sonata No. 31
- Schubert: Improptu 1 & 3
- Mozart: Piano sonata K457
At last the time had arrived, i went to Athens Concert Hall, sat patiently at the designated seat and waited to enjoy the recital.
The first 10 seconds was extremely wonderfull, then the audience decided to transform the piano recital to a piano concerto, and the orchestra (orchestra of coughing i’d say) was the audience and their coughs. When Mr. Brendel ended playing the first sonata, he actually noted that “there is a constant noise from the audience”. He continued to perform (he seemed irritated), but no-one seemed to bother, since the coughing continued.
After the break, the audience creativity really reached the sky. I heard people sneezing, modile phones, doors closing, personal items dropping, people chatting, and some others just playing with their bags producing a variety of noises. One lady (very old) fell asleep during the performance and she dropped her walking stick.
The disrespect for Mr. Brendel continued and after the end of performance. When the recital ended, and the audience applauded (in excitement, maybe because Mr. Brendel passed the test of patience, performing in front of uncivilized baboons), some of them left the hall. The problem with that was that the performer was still thanking the audience. This situation continued (people left all the time) for a few times, and since the applaud continued, Mr. Brendel played a bonus piano piece. Then the recital ended.
I really have to congratulate Mr. Brendel for his performance and patience and i must really say a very HUGE “SORRY” for the disrespect that the audience showed him (when he commented the noise fact, i was really ashamed). His performance was divine, and i cannot imagine what he really could offer, if he played in more friendly environment.