After a piece ends there is silence. This silence is pregnant with what sonorities came before. It washes over the audience as time is taken to reflect on what was just heard.
But only for a few seconds.
Then applause sets in. There is a reason why it is analogous to thunder. What silence was established seconds ago is shaken to the foundations. The inner contemplation is distracted and disrupted. Even after the applause dies away, the silence that proceeds is not the same. In some way it has been blemished.
Music is made of sound and silence. One of the greatest silences of all is after a piece. It is like the moment of pause after a significant point in a religious ceremony. Nobody applauds after receiving a sacrament. Instead it is a moment for quiet reflection on the gravity of what transpired.
Could the refrain of applause help move music in this direction? To some kind of holy event rather than simple entertainment?