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I might not be late for my own funeral but I nearly was for Mozart’s. I’d bought tickets for the concert a few weeks ago as a birthday treat. I never thought I would get the opportunity to see the Prague Opera and Czech Republic Philharmonic Orchestra performing together, at least here in Granville. Also Mozart’s Requiem is one of my favourite choral pieces, so the concert was made for me.

I’d looked at the tickets when I bought them and registered in the back of my mind that the concert was early evening, but never gave them a second look. So today, after a lazy afternoon I was horrified to find the concert was at 4pm! I had five minutes to get to the local church where it was being held. To my chagrin I arrived just as the conductor was being applauded onto the stage. I need not have worried. People kept arriving, greeting each other, leaving and generally walking around the church throughout the concert. One couple arrived about three movements before the end and left before the movement had finished! It wouldn’t have been quite so bad had not the automatic lighting kicked in each time the door opened.

It was also the only concert I have attended where the conductor had to signal to the audience to stop them applauding after the end of every movement. Even so it took three or four attempts to shut them up before they got the message. The only saving grace was that, unlike the adults, the children in the audience were completely well-behaved.

That being said, it was a breathtaking performance. Despite the distracting audience, the lack of space (this meant the soloists had to stand in front of the conductor which resulted in them leading the orchestra on a couple of occasions) and the odd acoustics (the conductor had some trouble keeping the orchestra from drowning out the choir) this was a sterling performance prompting a well-deserved standing ovation from the full house.

I tried not to let the distractions detract from my enjoyment of the music but it was impossible to become completely immersed, with the constant interruptions to my concentration. I found it interesting that it was my anticipation of the interruptions that made them more distracting.

It got me thinking. The book I am reading at the moment has so many sub plots that I find I have lost sight of where the main story is going. So much so, it is hard to tell who is the main character any more. Characters keep appearing like the latecomer at the concert, making a noise, then leaving again. And it’s not their comings and goings that distract me from the plot, it’s the anticipation of what they may do next.