Posted by: yoko | June 7, 2005


On last night’s program for the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia was a world premiere of a piece by Michael Hersch, Variations on a Theme by Hugo Wolf. The piece is rather dissonant throughout, and partway through the piece, between variations, a sharp, high-pitched siren blew. The orchestra and audience were motionless until a recorded voice announced that the fire siren for the building had been activated, and that we had to exit the concert hall immediately.

As we were filing out of the hall, many people were heard to remark, “I thought that siren was part of the piece!” “That was the best part of the music!”

After several minutes and several iterations of the alarm, the firetrucks came– apparently, it was a false alarm, possibly activated by last night’s storm. We all returned to our seats, and the orchestra started Hersch’s piece from the beginning.

At the end of the piece, several people booed. I disagreed with their assessment– I thought it was engaging to listen to the variations and to try to piece together the theme, which was unconventionally placed as the “last” variation.

Happy birthday to Geminica, my favorite siren. ;)



  1. that’s awesome! too bad the sirens weren’t actually part of it. perhaps there would have been less booing.

    hope you can make it to the next flickr meet…we had a great time!

  2. Hilarious. I can’t believe people actually booed. What a passionate public!

  3. wow. booing. that’s ruder than i would have expected from a chamber orchestra audience.

  4. boo to the booers!

  5. wow, I don’t know if I’d ever have the guts to boo at a performance, unless it was outright offensive in some way. I would’ve felt so embarrassed.

  6. teehee!
    thanks Yoko!

  7. Wow. Seems to hark back to the days when people were actually vehement about the arts. Almost cool, though sad for the orchestra.


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