Bach and the art of noise

To the Goldberg Variations this morning played by up and coming young harpsichordist Matthew Halls (above) as part of the ever stimulating Norfolk and Norwich Festival. That most magical of all musical journies managed to survive separate interruptions from a mobile phone and a serial cougher. Matthew Hall proved why he is a professional musician and I am not. He cooly played through the ringing of the mobile phone. If it had been me at the keyboard I would either have asked the offender to leave, or left myself.

I witnessed one of the more imaginative responses to intrusive coughing at a concert conducted by Bernard Haitink at the Festival Hall in the 1970s. A serial cougher decided to accompany the posthorn solo in the third movement of Mahler's monumental Third Symphony. Maestro Haitink continued to beat time with his baton while using his left hand to extract a white handkerchief from his pocket and hold it high over his head.

Talking of phones read about an unexpected Steve Reich premiere
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