A bleak conclusion emerges from tonight’s anti-Israel attack on a concert in the heart of London.
We now know that it is possible for two dozen well-organised agitators to wreck a cultural event at will. There is nothing that can be done to prevent them. Nor does it make any sense to engage with them in any meaningful way.
They have convinced themselves that the state of Israel is the acme of evil, responsible for the worst atrocities on earth and deserving of condemnation by enlightened people everywhere – even at the expense of freedom of art and expression.
There is no point in trying to reason with such a position. It is as full of holes as any of the 9/11 conspiracy theories.
The idea that Israel is solely responsible for the wretched situation on the West Bank and Gaza Strip ignores the repeated offers by Israeli governments to evacuate most of both territories and half of Jerusalem in exchange for a peace agreement. The Palestinian leaderships and those who elect them have refused to engage in meaningful steps towards a two-state solution.
To condemn Israel for the situation is to condemn the Palestinians – indeed, to condemn them to a continuation of their undeserved fate. That is all the protestors have achieved.
But, as I say, there’s no point talking to them. There is, simply, nobody at home.
I attach a link to a piece I wrote 17 months ago in the Sunday telegraph after the first guerrilla attack on a London concert by Israel musicians. I have very little to add to it after tonight’s assault on freedom of the arts.
Tonight’s BBC Prom concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was disturbed by a handful of protesters shouting pro-Palestinian slogans.
Some of the disrupters were removed and the concert was allowed to proceed, but the BBC stopped the live performance ‘because of disruption in the Royal Albert Hall’.
An attempt was made to resume the broadcast after the interval, but other protesters popped up and once again records were played instead.
The audience in the hall, I hear, reacted strongly against the disruption.
The Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, who was at the concert, tweeted: Demonstrators seem to have turned entire audience pro Israel
Columnist Deborah Orr tweeted: I’m pro-Palestinian myself. But interrupting a concert? It’s just a good night out for people who like making self-righteous trouble.
Louise Mensch MP added: How pathetic. Totally wrong of BBC to cut broadcast. Disgraceful.
The BBC has refrained from making any comment on air, or reporting the incident so far on its website. One imagines there was some policy in place to deal with anticipated trouble, but I can’t see any coherence in the response.
The incident is almost identical to the organised attack on a recital by the Jerusalem Quartet at the Wigmore Hall by a tiny group of hardcore agitators. it may well be that some of the same individuals are involved tonight.
The BBC has said it will broadcast a recording of part of the concert next Wednesday.
The main man says he ‘has a problem’ with stage directors who go out looking for ‘scandal’. He seems to be aiming at Sebastian Baumgarten’s Tannhäuser in Bayreuth and Christof Loys Frau ohne Schatten in Salzburg.
Full interview and picture in News.at
The Japanese acoustician Yasuhiso Toyota advanced an interesting theory at his new hall in Helsinki, saying that the visual aspect is more important than generally recognised in determining whether we think a hall sounds good, or not.
He calls this perception psychoacoustics, and he may well be right. Lots of people think London’s Royal Festival Hall and NewYork’s Alice Tully sound better than they really do because the setting is so imposing. Shut you eyes, and the grit comes through.
I shall write more later and elsewhere about Helsinki’s acoustic transformation.
photo: Helsingin Sanomat
The new concert hall was inaugurated last night and the world has been rushing to book it.
The Finnish capital, replete with great musicians, has been inhibited by the lack of a decent concert hall. Now, on the strength of Yasuhisa Toyota’s fabled acoustics – he’s the man behind LA’s Disney Hall – the world’s great orchestras are flooding in, most for the first time.
I have it on good authority that the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics will be here within a year – Berlin with Simon Rattle and Vienna, unusually, playing Sibelius, with Lorin Maazel – followed by New York and more.
Many here suspect that Vienna, with its sonic stability, will test the hall best.