BEIRUT: About a minute from the end of Richard Strauss’ tone poem “Don Juan,” the music reaches a climax, then comes to an abrupt and dramatic halt. It is clearly not the end of the piece – it doesn’t sound remotely like an ending – yet, as the members of the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra watched their maestro this Friday evening, waiting for him to yank them back in, a solitary member of the audience started applauding.

It only lasted a second, until he realized no one else was joining in. Some who attend the LPO’s concerts are more enthusiastic about the experience than they are schooled in the conventions of classical music consumption.