The rightness or wrongness of clapping between movements is a debate that will never go away, it seems. Andrew Druckenbrod picked it up on the pro-applause side this weekend from Pittsburgh, followed by the predictable dismissal from A.C. Douglas. (Druckenbrod interviewed Pittsburgh Symphony violinist Stephanie Tretick, by the way, who's the sister-in-law of my collegiate trumpet teacher-turned-ChopSaver-impresario Dan Gosling.)
The audience applauded last Thursday after the first movement of Elgar's Violin Concerto. Gil Shaham smiled, the applause didn't last forever, and the concert progressed. Heck, even I applauded then, because I wanted to, and received no glares. (Andrew Patner took appropriate notice of the applause in his Sun-Times review, too.)
What bothers me about mid-performance applause is when it's conspicuously absent after a thrilling aria. What happened to the lusty days of yore when you couldn't hear the orchestral conclusion for the oceanic swell of clapping and "Bravas"? Waiting for the orchestra to wrap it up before clapping seems excessively polite for the most populist of classical music's genres.