The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music poll: Should classical music concerts be shorter and have no intermission?

November 27, 2011

By Jacob Stockinger

It is an interesting question to ponder at a time when most observers say that most of us today have shortened attention spans – thanks to the Internet and TV; to new media. social media and texting; and to multi-tasking.

It is especially interesting to think about at a time when so many people are looking for appealing and untraditional ways to present classical music, including the use of non-traditional venues such as night clubs and coffee houses where a long program is simply not practical or desirable.

Could it be that the concert paradigm is shifting; that maybe more is really less and less is really more?

Is it possible that today’s audiences find that a long and well-planned concert — usually lasting 1-1/2 to 2 hours these days — is not so much a great deal as an ordeal?

Maybe as lot of us might be shy to admit that, deep-down, we would prefer going to shorter concerts, maybe even concerts short enough that you don’t even need an intermissions?

I have also considered shorter but more continuous program with two very short breaks rather than one long intermission, which often interrupts the mood, stops the momentum and tries one’s patience, especially after a busy day or week or having to go to work or somewhere early in the morning.

Could that mean programming more short works and fewer long or even epic works?

And could shorter programs mean lower ticket prices? Or the chance to attend more events?

These issues are all worth thinking about and came up in a recent thought-provoking blog I read and want to share:

What do you think about shorter concerts?

And what about eliminating or curtailing intermissions?

The Ear wants to hear.


Posted in Classical music

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