At yesterday’s Berlin performance of Beethoven’s ninth symphony the audience, both within the Philharmonie and on live stream, became aware of a disturbance in the second violin section. A player fainted in the back row and was removed.
The orchestra has since assured viewers on Twitter and other media that the stricken musician is on the way to recovery. We have withheld her identity.
Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger observed the events in the hall:
A few minutes into the ethereal slow movement I saw a bloke approaching the stage and beginning to clamber up. What on earth could he be protesting about with Beethoven 9 on this night of all nights? Then I noticed a violinist slumped lifeless in her chair. Together the bloke and the other violinist on the back desk managed to reach her before she fell.
The orchestra played on. If Rattle noticed, he gave no sign.
A few members of the audience then managed to get her off the stage and out. One or two members of the audience got up and rushed out – presumably doctors. The other violinist placed her violin carefully on her chair and returned to the music. No-one in the orchestra batted an eyelid.
A few minutes our hero returned and resumed his seat. Within a minute he was on his feet again. A member of the audience behind him had gone down. Once again he carried the dead weight out of the hall – this one face down. Once again people in the audience – the Berlin crowd is obviously well-qualified, medically – rushed out.
A few minutes later our hero was back in his seat. Later a second member of the audience went down – too far away for the hero to act.
At the end of the performance Rattle headed straight to the back desk of the second violins to comfort the shocked colleague.