By Steve“Ode to Joy” Spells Doom for Woman Murdered at “Messiah”
Cell Phone Chime Causes “Oratorio Rage” in Fellow Concertgoer
FORT LAUDERDALE , FL – A woman strangled at Thursday night’s performance of Handel’s “Messiah” was the victim of a rare but increasing phenomenon known as “Oratorio Rage,” according to a classical music scholar.
Jocelyn Beaumont, 47, of Lauderhill , died shortly after being choked by fellow concertgoer Stanley Decanter. According to witnesses, Decanter apparently flew into an uncontrollable rage when Beaumont’s cell phone rang during a particularly affecting moment of the famed Christmas oratorio. At least one bystander reported that the ringtone was playing Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” at the time of the attack.
(Left) Composer Georg Frederich Handel, whose Messiah was the source of consternation Thursday night when a concertgoer couldn't keep a handel [sic] on his emotions.
Decanter, 53, of Sunrise, was free on $10,000 bail following his arrest Thursday.
Florida Atlantic University professor and classical musicologist Dr. Leopold Batonne said such events could be expected to increase in the future.
“A number of circumstances combined to produce Mr. Decanter’s ‘Oratorio Rage,’ Batonne said. “If initial accounts are accurate, the cell phone rang during the ‘Pastoral Symphony’ portion of ‘Messiah.’ This is one of the most peaceful, spiritual moments of the entire oratorio, and would be an unconscionable interruption for the classical aficionado.
“Then, there was Ms. Beaumont’s unfortunate ringtone selection. In the first place, the Classical dynamism of Beethoven clashes badly with the Baroque sensibilities of Handel. Add to that Beethoven’s reputation as a composer who speaks to, let us say, the more ‘casual’ classical music fan. It takes real discernment to appreciate, say, Palestrina or Berlioz, but any fool off the street can identify ‘Ode to Joy.’ For a man of Mr. Decanter’s taste – I’m told he’s a season ticket subscriber to the Fort Lauderdale Philharmonic – that ringtone was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. Or the woman’s neck, in this case.”
Batonne’s final statement sounded an ominous warning. “The true classical music lover looks at the cannon as a sacred trust, to be protected from desecration at any cost. As the sense of ownership grows and ferments, we can expect more and more incidents of this kind to occur - clashes with people who think Andre Rieu or Andrea Bocelli epitomize 'classical' music. Frankly, if my enjoyment of Mendelssohn’s ‘Elijah’ was interrupted by someone’s cell phone blurting out the ‘William Tell Overture,’ I don’t know what I’d do myself.”
Beaumont has so far refused all comment, other than to shout, “No jury in the world will convict me!” as he was led away in handcuffs.