An old saying has it that the superior person discusses ideas, the average person discusses things, and the inferior person talks about people. The latter aberration has infected our public discourse for some time, but I never expected it to extend to a symphonic concert.

The concert in question was Sunday’s matinee of  the Portland Symphony Orchestra at Merrill Auditorium, during which violist Laurie Kennedy’s performance of Ernest Bloch’s “Suite Hebraique” was preceded by a movie of her thoughts about music, the viola and the Portland Symphony.

Pleasant enough, if vapid, the segment had absolutely no place in a concert of classical music, and indeed may have prejudiced the relatively sparse audience against Kennedy, principal violist of the PSO.

She gave a creditable, if low-key, reading of Bloch’s ethnic viola concerto, with only a few missed notes, but the experience was spoiled by the previous injection of personality. Please, please, don’t do this again. It is amateurish and unbefitting of a first-class symphony orchestra.

The Bloch was preceded by an interesting version of Samuel Barber’s “Essay No. 1, Op. 12, which revealed the intense passion simmering behind this composer’s normally buttoned-down work.