Your Eyes Leakin’, You Ain’t Speakin’
Is crying allowed at classical concerts? Not grieving-relative wailing, obviously, but a few tears rolling down the cheek, and maybe a sharp, low intake of breath? A couple weeks ago I went to a concert by my homies the Daedalus Quartet and realized I was worried about whether I would cry while they played Beethoven’s Op. 127. (The music that makes me cry sometimes when I play it at home: late Beethoven, the Bach D minor Chaconne, late Schubert piano sonatas…that’s about it. I’m not counting music that chokes me up; the waterworks must actually start up.)
Crying at a classical concert, in which the musicians presumably strive to move you, should be a little different than regular crying in public. But for some reason the thought of crying at a classical concert makes me feel even more cringingly vulnerable than just crying in a park. At least when you cry in a park, people speculate on the reason, and maybe make up something respectable. But if I were to cry at a classical concert, everyone would know why. There’s something really embarrassing there, at least for me, a male socialized according to the normal pattern. And in considering the Daedalus concert, I realized that I’ve occasionally avoided otherwise interesting concerts because I was worried about whether I’d be able to maintain a dry-faced state as an audience member.
In the event, Op. 127 didn’t jar loose any saltwater, although I had a couple sharp intakes of breath, and a weird spine-melting feeling when the Daedalus made a fleet, icy, glassine sound during the always-odd coda to the finale — I had to make an effort to sit up. (That would have been tough to explain to my seat-neighbors!) But what do you think — is crying like coughing, or more acceptable? What if you saw your neighbor’s ocular precipitation — would you say anything, or just let it flow? (Please, please, please say the latter.) And (if you’re a little more comfortable with the whole idea than I am) what music sometimes puts something in your eyes?
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