Ovo, Hold Your Applause

I don’t know how I missed this silly little piece. It’s from way back on May 11, by Christopher Hyde of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Telegram.

Curious Phenomenon, the standing ovation

If this were a piece of music on a concert and it had just finished, I would be sitting, staring at the performers in bewilderment, frozen, no thoughts of clapping, let alone standing and clapping, or standing and clapping and shouting, “Bravo!”

To give you a better idea of what I mean, I’ll you give my Cliff’s Notes on the article:


Empiricus’s Cliff’s Notes to Curious Phenomenon by Christopher Hyde

A regular concert-goer wrote to [Christopher] the other day inquiring about the increasing frequency of "standing ovations" at Portland Symphony Orchestra concerts. They do seem to be more prevalent nowadays and often have nothing to do with the merits of the music.

Conjecture. Conjecture. Pseudo-fact. Conjecture.

Maybe the orchestra is getting better all the time. (True.)

Conjecture. Something about sold-out concerts and the parking situation. Back to the “regular concert-goer.” A definition of “claque.” Then...

I was hoping that the Latin root of the word ovation might be the same as that for egg (ova), hence the theatrical phrase "laid an egg," but it was not to be. "Ovation" comes from the Latin verb [Empiricus: it’s ovo, in case anyone was wondering] meaning "to triumph."

Conjecture about the nature of standing ovations. The last rose of summer. Conjecture. Pseudo-fact. Rotten oranges. We’re too nice. Pseudo-fact. Pseudo-fact. Conjecture.

And yes, it’s okay to applaud religious music, even in church.

Rhetorical question.


There you go—my Cliff’s Notes. Before I go, however, I’ll leave you with my favorite thread.

I don't know what's behind the increase in jumping to one's feet like King George II at the "Hallelujah Chorus."

And later...

I wonder if King George clapped after the "Hallelujah Chorus?"

My guess is that he just jumped to his feet. Everyone else sat silent, staring at their beloved leader enduring another “episode.”


Brian said...

Just think, if Hyde's etymological digging had turned up what he'd hoped it would, we could be talking about standing ovulations right now. Pity...

Empiricus said...

That would make sense of the whole King Goerge II jumping to his feet but not clapping thing.