Audiences and Silence

THROUGH Misha Dichter's recent Kennedy Center recital and concert, the audience was unusually quiet - a Dichter audience. As the pianist explains, `` I love audiences that listen wth great attention. ... I love to create in a slow movement a silence that causes one to be able to hear hearts beating.'' ``I'm also negatively influenced when there is the ever-present slow unwrapping of a candy. ...

Only once in my life did I stop, in the middle of a solo Brahms work, because someone was slowly unwrapping a candy, and I couldn't bear it any more. ... It's like fingernails on a chalkboard to hear that Cellophane sound. I stopped, and I asked as politely as I could, although I was white-hot by then, `Will the person slowly unwrapping that candy please stop that immediately?' And then I played from a few measures back....

If I feel that there's total silence, implying total concentration from an audience, I think the tendency is to linger even more on the beauty of the piece. If I feel any bit of what seems to be cumulative squirming ... that sometimes is enough for me to consciously or unconsciously perhaps move it a bit, because I think I've lost some people here. I don't know if that's a good or bad reaction, but it's just part of me.

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