“Falling asleep at a concert—among the cultured classes, there are few faux pas ghastlier than this,” writes J. Bryan Lowder in Monday’s (12/7) Slate. “And yet, even with the risk of devastating social opprobrium looming over the mezzanine, the symphony haunter sees it—or more often, hears it—as surely as the orchestra tunes to the oboe’s A.… Resisting the call of sleep in the concert hall is a rule of live performance one learns early, perhaps even before the prohibition on applause between movements. Close your eyes to better feel the music if you must—but don’t you dare fall asleep. Here’s a confusing thing though: Swipe through the categories of your favorite curated music streaming service or browse the compilations section of your favorite album store, and you’re sure to find some variation on the category ‘music to help you fall asleep.… When one searches for sleepy-time music, what one is most likely to encounter is a sampling of the classical repertoire, usually solo or chamber instrumental music (or low-key orchestral movements) and likely from the Romantic period.… Art is meant to be engaged with, a certain common sense goes, and you cannot properly engage if you are drooling on your pillow.”

Posted December 11, 2015