Watch horns, woodwinds play concert in masks

Watch horns, woodwinds play concert in masks


norman lebrecht

April 27, 2020

This was the the Czech Philharmonic’s benefit concert this weekend, played in front of an empty Rudolfinum and in accordance with Government health guidance.

Maybe all conductors should wear masks from now on.



  • John Borstlap says:

    With a hole in the mask, it becomes pointless.

  • Ron Swanson says:

    They missed a trick by not playing the theme from Zorro

  • MacroV says:

    It was a nice show. But you’d think you could have a small audience, too – with appropriate social distancing

  • ainslie says:

    Or straitjackets.

  • Charles Clark-Maxwell says:

    A promising start for live music

  • Dimitri Vassilakis says:

    How useless , ridiculous and humiliating for the poor musicians who are ready to accept these inhuman conditions in order to keep their job and continue their passion

    • Julien says:

      Is it more inhuman to stay at home or to make music together ? I would have been volunteer to play in such a concert. Not to save my job, not for my future, but for the present. I cried when I saw this concert, because I found it very touching and a tremendous message of hope. Congratulations to this musicians. Better to live than to complain. Yes, life for classical music world will be very difficult. But we need acts of humanity like this. Ask this musicians if they feel humiliated. I want to be the next one.

    • MacroV says:

      It was a benefit concert; none of them were forced to do anything.

  • Who thought a mask with a hole would be effective? My suggestion a few days ago of a giant drop cloth with eyeholes would have worked more plausibly.

    “Maybe all conductors should wear masks from now on.”

    Seriously. I had an orchestra conductor in college who buzzed while he conducted and would send out huge plumes on his most dramatic downbeats.

    I wondered where he got such a preposterous affectation until I had occasion to play under the guy who had been his mentor… he buzzed and sprayed, too!

    • Ilio says:

      Certain speech patterns can be worse at spreading droplets than a sneeze or cough can. Ask a speech therapist.

  • Anon says:

    It’s a solution, but it’s extreme. I for one would not be keen to attend a concerts with performers looking like this.

    I think there are less radical solutions frankly. Berlin has just announced their 1st live concert May 1. Strings only, smaller ensembles, socially distanced. I’ll be watching that as a precedent.

    One thing the Czech Phil did which is good is placing horns in the balcony. With an empty hall, social distancing by placing musicians in creative places in the hall is an excellent idea.

  • bratschegirl says:

    Is there specific information available about what masks in particular they are using? Sorry if I’ve overlooked it, but I’m not finding it anywhere.

  • S. Miller says:

    One of the admin on FBHP censured me for posting a pic of me practising with a mask 2-3 weeks before this posting.

  • Brian v says:

    should The roger waters piece be boycotted

  • Peter says:

    Looks more like a funeral to me 🙁

  • geoff says:

    But if the conductor wore a mask, who would know who it was behind the mask? A student from the music school making a few pence/ Or the real thing? Or maybe me for a lark!

  • S. Lewis says:

    You might surround them and otherwise fence them in with a plexiglass enclosure, covered with a perforated antiviral screen. From time to time during rests the second bassoonist could spray alcohol on the screen. (Grey Goose, Absolut, Stolichnaya, your choice) An additional benefit to this environment, is forcing them to all get along, play in tune, and limit admonishments and criticism of the bassoon section, thus saving all their venom for the conductor.