Applause! Applause!

As we often do on Saturday evenings, last night Shirley and I went to a free concert. As usual, the music was great. Perhaps because of my own minor infirmity, I paid more attention to the audience and the applause than I usually do.
Most members of the audience use an X X X X X applause pattern. But seated near us was someone who used an Xxx Xxx Xxx Xxx Xxx pattern and next to her was someone who used an X  X  X  X pattern. I was using an x   x   x   x pattern. I have a small, self-inflicted, sore on my left hand and boy did it ever hurt when I tired to applaud.
Then there was some confusion as to when to applaud. Three of the pieces were three movement sonatas. There was no problem with them. We all applauded at the end of the third movement. But there were also what violinist Jonathan Wright and pianist Stephan Moss clearly thought of as sets. The first such set, for piano only, was listed on the program as follows:
      Intermezzo, Op. 119, No1                                               Brahms
      Allegretto, Op. 45, No. 5                                          Carl Neilsen
The program had provided Brahms’ full name and dates with reference the first piece on the program, no need to repeat them here. The audience treated this as a set and withheld much deserved applause until the end of the Neilsen piece.
But later in the program, we found:
      Chanson de Matin, Op. 10 No. 1                            Edward Elgar
      Mazurka, Op. 10. No. 1                                                       Elgar
Well for most of the audience, this looked like two separate pieces and most of us applauded after Chanson de Matin. Shirley joined the crowd with her X X X X . . . and I with my x   x   x   x . . . others used Xxx Xxx Xxx Xxx Xxx and X  X  X  X. Wright and Moss seemed confused. Clearly, they didn’t expect applause at this point. Without really bowing, Wright politely acknowledged the audience. Moss simply waited impassively for the unruliness to subside. In retrospect, I think that most of us read the mostly blank line containing Elgar’s dates as a division in the program where applause was appropriate.
Those details aside, the evening was wonderful. How often does one get to hear the accomplished musical work of a biologist and an IT specialist? If they are half as good at their day jobs as they were in concert last night, Pomona College has more than one reason to be proud of them. Of the wonderful music they made for our enjoyment, Shirley and I enjoyed Elgar’s Mazurka most of all.