Friday, May 11, 2012

Half Time Hiccough

End of the week, but the start of a busy weekend. Accompanied the Ambassador to a concert by the Scottish Ensemble this evening at Beijing Concert Hall. They're a strings-only group of 14 musicians and (apart fron the double bass and two cellos) play standing, which gives them a nice, casual style. Interesting programme of Grieg, Tavener, Tchaikovsky and (best of all) Shostakovich's Chamber Symphony, enthusiastically received by - somewhat to my surprise - a full house. But a badly behaved full house nonetheless: constant fidgeting, coughing, talking, children going to the toilet midway through pieces, the constant clunk of an annoying photographer right in front of us, the rustling of sweet wrappers and at one stage someone having what sounded like a fit. But the Scottish Ensemble scored an own goal too. At interval time, their artistic director Jonathan Morton said a few words in English while the rest of the musicians left the stage for what we thought would be a normal, say, 15 minute break, but at the end of his speech it became clear that it was only for 5 mins. It was then translated, but too late, half the audience had gone. The musicians came back, started up again, and the audience filtered back in during Tavener's Tears of the Angels. So, a draw. 

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