So the SJSU writer who reported on last week’s concert writes this:

Gwendolyn Mok, the coordinator of keyboard studies at SJSU, performed three pieces on the piano, accompanied by the symphony under the direction of George Cleve.

We played Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G. It is one piece. Three movements.

I blogged earlier about the applause issue. But … really! … did the audience honestly think these were three separate works? Say it ain’t so, Joe! I’m guessing … hoping … dreaming (?) that it was only that one writer.

I realize that a staff writer from the SJSU Spartan Daily might not know about classical music and movements off the top of his or her head (I don’t know if Kyle Hansen is male or female), but c’mon, a little research? Or just read the darn program. PLEASE.

If one reports on something might one do a bit of study? I think so. Maybe I’m wrong …? I don’t expect every audience member to do homework, but I would expect a writer to do so. If only not to humiliate himself or herself.

I won’t even bother with the glaring typo easily found in the article. Especially since every time I point out a typo I have one in my own writing!

Yes, SJSU is my alma mater. Yes, I’m embarrassed. Sigh.

Okay, okay … this is what give us classical folks a bad name I guess; we expect people to know things or at least study up before writing about what we do. But is that asking too much? Am I being too picky?

Oh probably. Double sigh.


  1. I have also been puzzled, over the years, on just what’s so dang troubling, to some audiences, about multi-movement compositions. I mean, don’t we all read multi-chapter novels? Have any of these people heard of multi-act dramas? Have they noticed that no movie is ever constructed on a single scene? (Hitchcock’s “Rope”, excepted).

    I suppose the applause angst is a little different — we do, after all applaud at the end of an act, and after a “show stopper” number in musical theater. But we still can easily understand how Acts I and II are part of the same drama.

    But I can’t buy the notion amongst the “death of music” cadre that better applause rules will improve our culture. Spontaneity is good, but I see the occasional blog contributor who seems (to me,at least) to be suggesting we need to TEACH audiences to be spontaneous. I can hardly think of a more effective way to stifle a healthy musical environment!

  2. And as long as we’re nitpicking, can I also point out that Sandra and Lori are former OSJ artists? 

  3. Patricia Mitchell

    I think it’s just that a lot of listeners are uneducated about “our” music. Certainly a good number of people don’t connect the movements to chapters idea.

    My husband teaches and intro to music class and, believe me, a lot of students don’t know about multiple movements, nor do they have any clue about other concert “rules”. But they are open to learning, and they do attend (mandatory) concerts. I’m guessing most don’t decide what I do is their cup of tea, but I would think we probably get a few to return and, if nothing else, they’ve at least done more than a lot of folks out there!

    I don’t have a problem with applause between movements … sometimes it’s just something you can’t not do! But it’s understanding when it’s not appropriate … and taking a visual cue from the maestro is always the best way to figure that out.

  4. Patricia Mitchell

    Well, have you read the Spartan Daily? Sigh. My alma mater needs some help!