I wonder if some people have lost the art of listening. I’m not against enthusiasm, but let it out after the piece has properly finished, please. Applauding too soon, such as when a singer has finished but the orchestra still has to complete the phrase, ruins the final effect. Too impatient? It’s like scoffing dessert directly after the mains, or tooting at someone should they dare take longer than half a second when the traffic lights turn green. With music, the brain needs a little time to absorb, bask and reflect. There is something to be said for the power of silence. Then, after a suitable interval, by all means let it rip.

Sacred Cow

There are some works where applauding too soon would be sacrilege. The ending of Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites is so shattering, it’s hard to summon the ability to leave one’s seat afterwards, let alone applaud. I vividly remember a performance of Britten’s Death in Veniceat the Sydney Opera House in 1989 with the late Robert Gard as...