Where to curse the orchestra

The following is an account of the conductor Hans von Bülow:

Bülow’s close relationship with his Berlin audience was not achieved without some stress and strain along the way.  At a Philharmonic concert in January 1892, a half-dozen latecomers, who had been held up at the cloakroom during the intermission, made a noisy entrance in the middle of the third movement of Beethoven’s Symphony no. 2, in D major.  The chairs scraped on the floor of the old Philharmonie with as great a decibel level as the roller skaters who had once occupied the building.  At the end of the movement, Bülow made a very long pause, turned and glared at the offending listeners, who happened to be sitting near the front, and cried out, “Unmusical public!” striking the empty music desk before him with such force that the ensuring crack resounded throughout the Philharmonie like a pistol shot.  Bülow, too, could create decibels to the discomfiture of the public if he wanted to.  His outburst was greeted with some grumbles and protests from the audience.  Bülow then commenced the finale.  At the end of the concert the applause was mixed with some hissing.  Bülow returned to the podium, bowed sardonically, and thanked the audience for its participation in the performance.  The tension evaporated, as it usually did, at this sign of ready wit. 

Cited in Walker, Alan (2009) Hans von Bülow: A Life and Times. USA: Oxford University Press, p. 391.