Friday, January 13, 2012
Can You Hear Him Now?
January 12, 2012
“A symphony must be like the world,” advised Gustav Mahler, who composed nine symphonies across a brilliant career. “It must contain everything.”
Little could Mahler, a century gone from the modern world, have anticipated the horrific intrusion of an incessant cellphone ring near the end of his ethereal 90-minute masterpiece, the Ninth. The instrument rang untended across excruciating minutes Tuesday night at Lincoln Center from the pocket of a front-row listener, sending the audience, the New York Philharmonic players and the conductor Alan Gilbert into shock and dismay.
As the ringing (one connoisseur said it was the iPhone’s marimba signal) vied with the Adagio climax of bittersweet quietude, Mr. Gilbert had had enough. He stopped the orchestra and turned, one witness said, and sternly asked the offender: “Are you finished?” The rage in the hall was general, according to bloggers who were there. “Kick him out!” came a shout from one music lover. “A thousand dollar fine!” demanded another.