Wednesday, 6 August 2008

A matter of presentation

I'd meant to comment on  this before, but forgot. Just to show I am capable of giving praise where it's due, I am very grateful to the R3 presenters this year for allowing us to appreciate a sensible amount of the audience applause before they interrupt after a piece has finished.

There have been innumerable episodes in the last couple of seasons where they have started talking almost before the conductor had lowered his arm, which is as infuriating listening at home as it is to hear some members of the audience's premature applause in the hall.

And, just as important, they are again paying attention to the conductor's and R3 producer's cue lights, so so far this year I haven't heard some idiot still finishing a (usually unimportant) sentence as the performance begins. Someone has finally realised there is enough ambient sound from the auditorium for us to recognise that the broadcast hasn't broken down. If we listeners can cope with four minutes of John Cage's silence, we can manage 10 or 20 seconds of Albert Hall's.

But I still have a gripe. Why should we be told, for instance, Caroline Widmann's 'emerald green dress' complemented 'her red hair'? The Albert Hall doesn't have a catwalk during the Proms season, at least not so far; and even though radio has no colours, do we need to know that? Since I have worked for a fashion magazine in my time (though not, obviously, as a concert reviewer) would you —or maybe the BBC would— like me to do a few fashion/couturier pieces in this blog while I'm at it?

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