While many movie goers hate people that use cellphones in theaters, I see this being much more of a truth with horror movie fans. The darkness of the theater isn’t just to make the movie easier to see, it’s an extension of the film and grants us the opportunity to let us believe that something “evil” might be lurking behind us. Also, the sound in a horror movie is integral to providing scares. So when a ringtone goes off, to say that we’re sucked out of the movie is an understatement. It’s one of the biggest pet peeves I have and usually why I go to the theaters at 2pm. That way I can avoid large crowds and potential cellphone users.
The same thing can be said when one attends a symphony. Every subtle nuance of the orchestra is incredibly important to the overall piece and any distraction can ruin the experience. The Wall Street Journal reports that such was the case at the Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall when an attendant’s cellphone began chirping that incredibly annoying ‘Marimba‘ ringtone during a performance of Gustav Mahler‘s 9th Symphony. If it rang once, then okay, turn it off and you’re a bit of a dick, but whatever. But no, this cellphone kept ringing for minutes. Finally, NY Philharmonic conductor Alan Gilbert stopped the entire performance and told the man to turn it off. Even the audience got in on it with jeers and applause. After the cellphone was finally silenced, Gilbert apologized to the audience, gave the orchestra a previous cue, and finished the piece.
Having been to several such concerts, the idea that this man didn’t silence his cellphone before the piece begun is mind boggling. It’s the simplest of tasks and this guy couldn’t do it? Sorry pal, you have no right to be at such an event.
Below is the first of six parts if you want to give it a listen. I highly recommend it as there are moments of absolute beauty but also some very sinister, dark passages.