I was trying to explain the international rules of concert duration succinctly today. Here’s what I came up with.
1- American audiences generally come to concerts for the social occasion, and often dread the music that comes with it, so they prefer we keep the musical portion of concerts short. Rule of thumb for the performer: No matter how beautifully you play, you mustn’t play to long or the audience will not have time for a good gossip at the reception.
2- British audiences generally come to the concerts for the music and often dread the socializing that comes with it, so they prefer we keep the musical portion of concerts as long as possible, regardless of whether everything is adequately rehearsed. Rule of thumb for the performer: Keep going until everyone has a good reason to skip the reception, no matter how badly you play.