Is The Art Or Applause Dying?

Rupert Christiansen observes that audiences seem less enthusiastic with their applause these days. “Why should this be? As a culture, we are much less repressed than we used to be. Nobody any longer fights back the tears manfully – in fact, you can hardly switch the radio on without hearing some disaster victim collapsing into gut-churning sobs. We are repeatedly exposed to the sounds and images of extreme drama, both actual and fictional. This may mean that the excitement that live music stimulates is less intense and surprising – we hear it, after all, every day, reproduced with a fidelity that wasn’t possible in the pre-FM, pre-digital era. The passivity of television and a certain fed-on-a-plate laziness about our consumption of art also contribute to the fall in the clapometer.”