Tuesday (3/30) on her Washington Post blog Classical Beat, Anne Midgette writes, “I’ve been thinking a lot lately about encores. Sometimes, they can be the most fun part of the concert—vocal recitalists are particularly adept at finding bonbons to offer after the main program is over. … There’s a tradition, though, that critics don’t review encores—indeed, often enough, that they leave the auditorium before them.” One reason for this “is the idea that an encore is a gift from the performer to the audience, and therefore shouldn’t be judged in the same way that a concert is. … But the encore has another function, as well. Departing from the printed program, it gets listeners to sit up and take notice, speculating on what’s to come, trying to figure out what they’ve heard. In a way, it puts the audience into a more active role. … There may even be a kind of intimacy created when the performer, after having maintained silence through the evening (assuming this is a really traditional recital with no talking), breaks through the fourth wall to speak to the audience and tell them what they’re about to hear.”

Posted March 31, 2010