I have just been looking at a few other sites and read an entry from Drew McManus regarding the distraction of a dog barking at a music festival. It reminded me of a tour Hill/Wiltschinsky did in the Philippines a few years ago. There was not only a barking dog outside but due to the nature of the venue it was able to come in and wander about the stage at will! Whilst this is obviously a distraction for musician and audience alike I feel that dealing with any form of audible or visual disturbance is a skill the musician must learn.
I have been to some concerts where the artist has asked people to stop moving around or only cough in between pieces. Whilst this usually gets a ripple of laughter, I do feel there is often a slightly uncomfortable feeling amongst the audience from that point.
This has sparked many conversations over the years with Robin, and his general view is that audiences have paid good money to come and be entertained, not shouted at. A reassuring smile to the parents of a wriggling child, or a joke along the lines of 'even the local wildlife seem to be enjoying the music', get a much warmer response from any audience.
The ability for musicians to deal with these intrusions is an art in itself, and one I feel they improve with over time, but that all artists should be aware of this responsibility.
Robin has managed to achieve this to such a level that at a duo concert, whilst in the middle of a piece, a newspaper photographer came right up to the stage saying, 'keep playing lads, it looks more natural.' The duo didn't miss a note...
'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman