Applause

I’ve just bought the Runnicles/BBCSO Tristan und Isolde. I played the Liebestod and was surprised and annoyed at the burst of applause and cheers at the end. I know it’s a recording of a live-in-front-of-an-audience concert, but I feel that keeping the applause at the end is not appropriate for a CD – especially at the end of thie work. In the concert hall one has an emotional involvement with and response to the performance, and would (probably) join in with the applause; at home the atmosphere isn’t the same, and I certainly wouldn’t be joining in with the applause.

I think that this is a purchase that will be returned to the shop.

I can’t stand applause on CDs. I’m all for capturing the atmosphere of a live performance in a recording, but there’s an enormous difference between being in the middle of an applauding audience and listening to a distant recording of it coming out of loudspeakers. Personally I would prefer there to be a longer silence before applause begins in live performances too.

The truth is that live recordings unless very special (Nilsson’s 1966 Bayreuth Isolde or Karajan’s Mahler 9) don’t bear repeated listening. It’s not fashionable to state this, but I don’t want that cough on bar 132 or whatever returning at the precise moment at every playing.

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