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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Brahms Knuckles

Second Symphony punch-up at Orchestra Hall.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
New horizons in music appreciation.
Frame capture from Super Punch-Out! Image © Nintendo.
A fight broke out on Thursday night at a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert.

According to an article by Stefano Esposito in the Chicago Sun-Times, a performance of Brahms' Second Symphony was accompanied by the sound of two patrons fighting in one of the box seats at Orchestra Hall.

Music director Riccardo Muti was conducting the Adagio of the Brahms work, when the very slow, quiet passage that ends the movement was accompanied by fisticuffs.

Chicago Police reports indicate that an unidentified 30-something concert-goer attacked a 67-year old man in the high-end seats. According to department sources, (as reported by the Sun-Times) the fight started as an argument over seating arrangements in the box.

The victim had a cut on his forehead. His attacker fled the scene before police arrived.

Mr. Esposito's article quotes Steve Robinson, general manager of Chicago radio station 98.7 WFMT: "We heard a rather loud thump. It wasn't so loud that everyone jumped up and ran for the exits."

Conductor Riccardo Muti was visibly irritated by the noise, but kept conducting the work. He took a brief pause, and after receiving a signal that all was well, launched into the third movement of the symphony.

“Mind you, he never stopped conducting,” Robinson told the Sun-Times. “He very gracefully, without missing a beat--literally--he brought [the second movement] to a very quiet and subdued close, while still looking over his left shoulder.”

The rest of the concert continued without incident.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats