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18 Musicians, or stay at home and listen to the CD?

18 Musicians, or stay at home and listen to the CD?

Something came through my letter box yesterday, something that really I shouldn’t let pass me by and something I would have done on a regular basis and taken for granted my ability to do so. When I was a student studying composition going to concerts would be a regular occurrence and very much a necessity to help keep the grey matter ticking over with ideas. My writing has very much been influenced by minimalism, in particular the American composer Steve Reich, I wouldn’t say that minimalism has been my only influence Vaughn-Williams, Bartok, Satie, Frank Zappa and Shostakovich have all had an impact on my music. This is quite a dilemma for me, a concert featuring the piece “18 Musicians” is truly a treat for the ears and it would be a fantastic experience to see it played live, the tickets are even very reasonable priced, perfectly within the financial grasp of dolescum like me. So what’s the problem? My tics are the problem, I will settle down after a while but sweary outbursts, random insults and unwarranted clapping is not the done thing at Birmingham Symphony Hall. I have visions of my self being frog-marched through the atrium and ejected from the building, not to mention the scowls that I would get from my fellow concert-goers. Had the programme been a fairly conventional programme containing an overture, a concerto then a symphony I might be able to try and blend in and my tics would be masked by the louder passages of music and of course an opportunity to clap between the pieces (not between movements). My clapping tic has received unwarranted attention in the past, I was at a conference about the social care reforms that the Labour government wanted to implement and clapped intermittently throughout Andy Burnham’s (MP) speech to which at the end he thanked me for the applause. Applauding him was the last thing on my mind. By to my dilemma this programme contains just 2 pieces, Thomas Ades’ “In Seven Days” which is 30 minutes long and Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians” 56 minutes of minimal bliss where the occasional clap or obscenity would stick out like a sore thumb. As you’ve probably guessed I’d love to go, my partner is also considering coming, but he reacts badly to my tics and rather than physically intervene (which works) he would rather nag at me to stop, which I find upsetting. To go, or not to go? That is the question.

4 Replies

I think I would ask the question, 'Do I REALLY want to go' and also 'If I don't go this time, will I ever get another chance to?'. Ok we've got TS, but that shouldn't stop us doing things we enjoy. Like me, because I LOVE going to the theatre. I tend to go to larger productions though where the orchestra are so loud no one can hear me! I NEVER go to small concerts... The last time I did that, the play was crap and I kept shouting 'Dead dogs on sale at Tesco!' Needless to say I upped and left that one! I missed the 25th anniversary screening of Les Miserables and ended up HUGELY regretting it (until they repeated it a couple of months on!) but had they not repeated it, I would have been devastated.

I say, follow your heart, not your tics! (alerting the venue beforehand can help as can carrying an alert card)


We're going, that's final!


Good! Now, I might start going again. You've inspired me


I love Steve Reich and particularly the 18 musicians one

He first performed it at Carnegie Hall in the early 60s and most people ran out screaming because it was driving them mad (all the arty-farties found out they weren't as cool as they thought). When asked afterwards that only about a hundred or so had stayed til the end and the hall was almost empty riech said he was extremely pleased because at least a hundred peolle liked it and he was glad all the others had buggered off

I used to go to the Chichester Festival Hall where the BBC Concert Orchestra are based but, for some odd reason, at classical concerts you can't even cough during a the actual performance

Bloody ridiculous!!!

If I can find someone to go with me I might brave it again sometime in the near furure

My aswer to your dilemma would be to never let your TS stop you doing anything - which it obviuosly doesn't

However, you know what'll happen if you do go. If you can hack the response then go with somebody who really doesn't give a s***