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Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
prout #2772208 10/13/18 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by prout
Many public schools do not allow peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Could they get any more exclusive?


Quite obviously because of peanut allergies. Which can result in death, for example if kids swap sandwiches. A far cry from people wanting to ban things because it offends them.

Originally Posted by prout

Remember Roger, You can choose to not go to the concert. It might make you, and the rest of the audience happier.


Oh you're a real charmer aren't you.

Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
Zaphod #2772229 10/13/18 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Zaphod
[quote=prout] Quite obviously because of peanut allergies. Which can result in death, for example if kids swap sandwiches. A far cry from people wanting to ban things because it offends them.
.

I don't appreciate having my physical reaction to perfumes being reduced to my merely finding them "offensive". They really do make me sick. I won't go into all the symptoms, but besides the cough, there is also the instant headache and vertigo. It would be a simple thing to post a sign that encourages moderation and raises awareness. Scent allergies and respiratory problems are quite common.



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Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
prout #2772310 10/14/18 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Roger Ransom
I would say that Mr. Schiff is in the wrong line of work if he is so intolerant of possibly hundreds of imperfect people who no doubt are paying him very well. Maybe he should stick to recording sessions where he can control a few technicians. This is the kind of arrogant attitude that turns people off from classical music.
He should be ashamed of himself, ridiculous.

You weren't there. I was. The cough was crass.

Originally Posted by Nikolas
Are we really talking about a cough? Something which is a bodily issue, that sometimes cannot be contained? Are we assuming that the person in the first row, could or could not? Did he place his hands in his mouth to contain the sound? Did he try to contain the cough? Or was he, just, completely indifferent to the ending that Schiff wanted?

Precisely. It was a voluntary cough, not involuntary, not the slightest effort to contain it, totally indifferent to the transcendent ending.

Originally Posted by prout
If I had been that person who coughed, I would have been very upset with myself and understanding of Schiff’s reaction.

Exactly. I would have been mortified, and felt entirely deserving of Schiff's censure.

Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
David-G #2772311 10/14/18 06:53 AM
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Perhaps I can add a little anecdote which bears on this discussion. A few years ago I attended a lovely lunchtime concert at St Luke's - a fortepiano recital played by Ronald Brautigam of music composed in London in the 1790s, by Cramer, Clementi, Field and Haydn. For those that don't know it, St Luke's is an eighteenth century church which was bombed in the War and restored as a beautiful modern rehearsal space. The concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. I arrived early and chose the perfect seat - in the front row towards the right. Because that is where the piano sounds best, the radio microphone was placed similarly and was only a few feet from me.

During the previous week I had had a cold; it had turned to a cough, which I was nearly over. I thought I should be able to last the hour without coughing, and took all the medication which might help, just to be on the safe side. All was well for the first twenty five minutes. Then I was aware of a little tickle at the back of my throat, which soon became an overwhelming urge to cough. But I could hardly do so, sitting just feet from the radio microphones. So with enormous effort I contained it and just did not cough. After two or three minutes' inward struggle the urge passed away and I could enjoy the rest of the concert in peace.


Last edited by David-G; 10/14/18 06:56 AM.
Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
Roger Ransom #2772316 10/14/18 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Roger Ransom
So now we should be required to use certain kinds of soap, deodorant etc to attend a concert. Will classical concerts get any more exclusive?
I think the issue we are discussing has morphed into a larger concept - that of consideration of others rather than consideration of self. Our societies around the world seem to be moving toward a conservative - everyone for him/her self attitude - I can pollute if I want to. - I can play my music outdoors at earsplitting volume in my neighbourhood if I want to. - and so on.

Back to topic at hand though - I know there things we as humans do that are beyond our control, but we can at least recognize that what we do may not be percieved by others as welcome, and we should should accept censure.

Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
gooddog #2772341 10/14/18 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by David-G

You weren't there. I was. The cough was crass.


See you failed to mention this in your initial post, and I think we've all been thinking of an involuntary cough.

Is there by any chance a clip of it?

Originally Posted by gooddog

I don't appreciate having my physical reaction to perfumes being reduced to my merely finding them "offensive". They really do make me sick. I won't go into all the symptoms, but besides the cough, there is also the instant headache and vertigo. It would be a simple thing to post a sign that encourages moderation and raises awareness. Scent allergies and respiratory problems are quite common.


I meant "offensive" in the sense that you mean it, it wasn't an attempt at belittlement. The point I was raising was that we can't just ban things because one person is affected by them, otherwise we would live in an incredibly authoritarian society. However, on the other hand, if a reasonably large proportion of people are upset by something, then you have a case for banning it. Such as smoking in public etc. - you can't not ban anything either otherwise you end up with the opposite problem as prout has highlighted in the post above. Both models would be no fun for anyone.

So I guess it depends - what proportion of people are allergic to fragrances? You may have a strong case for all I know.

With both of these, the cough and the fragrance issue, the devil is in the detail.

Just as an aside, a quick Google search will reveal that Schiff has a thing about his audiences coughing, and a history of getting annoyed at it. Rightly so or not? I guess one would have had to be there to judge.

Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
Zaphod #2772388 10/14/18 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Zaphod
Originally Posted by David-G

You weren't there. I was. The cough was crass.


See you failed to mention this in your initial post, and I think we've all been thinking of an involuntary cough.

Is there by any chance a clip of it?

You are right, with hindsight I can see that I could have been clearer. My feeling was that the person had been waiting until the end of the concert to clear his throat. And he decided that the silence had been long enough, so went right ahead, wrecking the communal silence for everybody else.

Originally Posted by Zaphod
Just as an aside, a quick Google search will reveal that Schiff has a thing about his audiences coughing, and a history of getting annoyed at it. Rightly so or not? I guess one would have had to be there to judge.

The Wigmore audience is usually exemplary. This incident was exceptional. In this concert there was quite a barrage of coughs between movements, and Schiff turned not a hair. There were a few involuntary coughs during the music, but all were quiet and suppressed to some extent. Again this is as one would expect, and there was no indication of annoyance from the artist. But this one at the end was glaring. The mood was ruined for me - and I expect, for many in the audience. I cursed inwardly, and was then glad that our pianist was making his feelings known outwardly.

Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
David-G #2772393 10/14/18 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by David-G
My feeling was that the person had been waiting until the end of the concert to clear his throat. And he decided that the silence had been long enough, so went right ahead, wrecking the communal silence for everybody else.
Or he was holding in a cough and simply couldn't hold it in any longer. I don't see how one can be sure in a situation like this.

Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
David-G #2772394 10/14/18 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by David-G
My feeling was that the person had been waiting until the end of the concert to clear his throat. And he decided that the silence had been long enough, so went right ahead, wrecking the communal silence for everybody else.
Or he was holding in a cough and simply couldn't hold it in any longer. I have personally been in that situation. I don't see how one can be sure in a situation like this.

Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
pianoloverus #2772479 10/14/18 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by David-G
My feeling was that the person had been waiting until the end of the concert to clear his throat. And he decided that the silence had been long enough, so went right ahead, wrecking the communal silence for everybody else.
Or he was holding in a cough and simply couldn't hold it in any longer. I have personally been in that situation. I don't see how one can be sure in a situation like this.

We shall just have to agree to disagree. Of course one can't be sure. But I know what I heard.

Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
David-G #2772521 10/14/18 09:03 PM
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Although I wasn't there, it sounds rather like a possibility could have been that the bloke thought "Ok, it's over, I can cough now" and misjudged the situation, literally misjudged it musically. The silence was part of the music, but he didn't realise.

Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
David-G #2772523 10/14/18 09:12 PM
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At least it wasn't snoring - a common problem at many opera performances. Nothing like watching Kundry sing in Parsifal, accompanied by a sonority of someone sawing wood - at the Met, no less! shocked


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Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
David-G #2772536 10/14/18 09:53 PM
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After decades of concert attendance, I am convinced there is such a creature as a "narcissistic cougher". This is a person who, in their everyday life, may be quite used to being the center of attention, and they quite like it. It may be unconscious, but at some level they just can't bear it that the person on stage is getting all the attention, and they cough to have the attention diverted to them for a moment or two.

It wouldn't surprise me if Schiff, after a long career, has had innumerable experiences of having this type of person in his audience, and maybe he's just reached the point where he likes to tweak them a bit when a good opportunity arises.

Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
prout #2772549 10/14/18 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by prout


Quote
As far as the perfume thing is concerned, I'm not sure where I stand on that. It raises the question, what is a heavy scent? For example if I had a shower with some scented soap? Or is it actually that some scents contain chemicals that some people are allergic to? Not being a particular scent-wearer, I wouldn't know.
Why should anyone use scented soaps, deodorants and shampoos and such-like products. They are all available now in unscented versions and do the same job. The scent has no function. This is not 17th C France where bathing was costly, not available to most people, and where there was a widespread belief that immersion in warm water was bad for you.


For some people, soaps with scent have a function with some similarity to the function of music - it's a matter of esthetic appreciation. I'm thinking quite a lot of people must think that way, since the range of scented soaps is vast. Many such soaps, perhaps most, don't really have much of a scent that lingers on the skin in any noticeable way. The idea is to make bathing pleasant, I think. It's not necessarily about leaving a strong scent after the bath (which might interfere with other scents the person might want to apply later), although there are some that actually are designed to do that.

On a related tangent - years ago Stephen Hough had an active blog at a Brit newspaper site, and I was somewhat surprised to learn from his entries there that he was very much into the world of perfumes and scents, and loved to talk about them. Thinking more about it, I don't know why that would be surprising to me, but it was.

Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
David-G #2772622 10/15/18 05:39 AM
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Personally, if I had to side with either, I would side with the performer.

I am a motor racing fan. I have gone to motor race events and set up expensive recording equipement simply to record the sound of the cars. I can guarantee that some cretin will notice it and have to come close and start coughing, sneezing, shouting, even making stupid loud abstract noises... whatever, just to ruin the recording.

It really is extraordinary how others need to exert their ego, even over people they have never met, and when it is quite un-necessary.

Good for Schiff. Long may he behave exactly how he wishes.

Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
wr #2772673 10/15/18 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by wr
After decades of concert attendance, I am convinced there is such a creature as a "narcissistic cougher". This is a person who, in their everyday life, may be quite used to being the center of attention, and they quite like it. It may be unconscious, but at some level they just can't bear it that the person on stage is getting all the attention, and they cough to have the attention diverted to them for a moment or two.

It wouldn't surprise me if Schiff, after a long career, has had innumerable experiences of having this type of person in his audience, and maybe he's just reached the point where he likes to tweak them a bit when a good opportunity arises.
If the cough was deliberate (on some level), then Schiff gave the cougher exactly what he was after: attention and acknowledgement not just from Schiff, but from the entire audience.

Schiff was the adult in the room. He should have taken the high road and ignored the cougher.


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Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
Stubbie #2772678 10/15/18 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Stubbie

Schiff was the adult in the room. He should have taken the high road and ignored the cougher.

Yes!

Well obviously I wasn’t at the performance but I find it hard to believe that a concert goer would cough deliberately at the conclusion of the program. Coughs can be impossible to stifle. I found myself climbing over peoples’ legs and could not get out of the concert hall fast enough because I had to cough so badly. Unfortunately, I had to watch the remainder of the concert on a screen from the lobby.

I heard Schiff in recital last year. I don’t remember what he performed but I was put off by his self-reverential attitude. When I looked through my upcoming concert tickets, lo and behold, I bought a ticket to see him again. This time he will be conducting the orchestra from the keyboard to perform Beethoven’s 4th. I will make sure I am properly armed with plenty of cough drops.



Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
PianogrlNW #2772767 10/15/18 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
his self-reverential attitude.


Yup. That just about sums him up.

Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
David-G #2772795 10/15/18 05:16 PM
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An extraordinary amount of anti-Schiff sentiment in this thread. Having spent five hours in two exceptionally fine concerts watching him play Bach and Schubert in recent weeks, and having sat (or stood!) at the front where I could see him closely, it is clear to me that what he reveres is not himself but the music he plays and the composers who wrote it.

Re: A cougher put in his place - an extraordinary vignette
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Originally Posted by prout
I suffer from terminal flatulence. Is it OK if I sit in the front row of a chamber recital?


Long long ago when I was in high school, we had a violin soloist playing a concert. She came to a rest after an ascending line, and someone continued that line, in tune even. She made a facial expression I still remember, but somehow, nobody cracked up..... ;-)


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