Damian Thompson

Damian Thompson is an associate editor of The Spectator

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A surprising number of great composers were fond of the bottle – but can you hear it?

10 December 2016 9:00 am

‘Brahms and Liszt’ is a lovely bit of rhyming slang, but it doesn’t have the ring of authenticity. Can you…

Sir Neville Cardus, (centre), an authority on both music and cricket, talking to musician Yehudi Menuhin (left) and former cricketer Sir Len Hutton (Photo: Getty)

I always thought the North and classical music didn’t mix

12 November 2016 9:00 am

Years ago, when I met a famous concert pianist, I was surprised when he greeted me in a northern accent.…

Charles Own performing at the London Piano Festival, Kings Place. Photo: Amy T. Zielinski/Redferns

Life’s too short for ‘well-crafted’ pieces by musical mediocrities – and Handel

15 October 2016 9:00 am

There’s a folder in my computer’s external hard drive in which you’ll find 24 complete recordings of the Bach Cello…

Alone in the Dark

Addiction and the 'recovery' gurus who profit from it

20 August 2016 9:00 am

Perhaps because so many of them are former drunks and junkies, ‘addiction experts’ are touchy people. Often they don’t like…

(Photo: Getty)

Islamic fundamentalists have a special loathing for Christianity

30 July 2016 9:00 am

Islamic fundamentalists have a special loathing for Christianity

Igor Stravinsky’s body being carried through Venice to the Basilica of San Zanipolo, where, by papal dispensation, a Russian Orthodox service was held

Southbank’s ‘Belief and Beyond Belief’ series is beyond parody

23 July 2016 9:00 am

A forthcoming ‘festival’ at the Southbank Centre exposes the secular mindset of Britain’s arts establishment, says Damian Thompson

Interview

‘We definitely do not live in an avant-garde era’: Pierre-Laurent Aimard interview

11 June 2016 9:00 am

A decade ago, the French pianist and poly-math Pierre-Laurent Aimard announced that he was ‘very bored to live in a…

British composer Havergal Brian (Photo: Getty)

Our neglect of this great working-class British composer is a disgrace

14 May 2016 9:00 am

One of the greatest choral symphonies of the 20th century, entitled Das Siegeslied (Psalm of Victory), has been heard only…

Scientology founder L. Ronald Hubbard (Photo: Getty)

At last – Going Clear is over here

23 April 2016 9:00 am

At last! It has taken over two years, but a British publisher has summoned up the nerve to bring out…

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The beginning of the end for Pope Francis

16 April 2016 9:00 am

What the Pope didn’t just say about divorce

Sandokan (Roberto Farías) in ‘The Club’, a masterpiece of ambiguity

A film that dares to suggest that paedophile priests may be capable of holiness

26 March 2016 9:00 am

Damian Thompson admires a Chilean film about paedophile priests which, unlike Spotlight, dares to explore social and psychological complexities

Hands of God: Japanese conductor Masaaki Suzuki

Does the great Bach conductor Masaaki Suzuki think his audience will burn in hell?

12 March 2016 9:00 am

Damian Thompson talks to the great Bach conductor — and strict Calvinist — Masaaki Suzuki

Pipe Organ

Why is the organ such hard work?

13 February 2016 9:00 am

My old Oxford college, Mansfield, isn’t a famous establishment, though its current principal, ‘Baroness Helena Kennedy’, as she incorrectly styles…

Diamond Jubilee - Service Of Thanksgiving

What’s so dangerous about this book about the Church of England?

6 February 2016 9:00 am

The decline of the Church of England has been one of the most astonishing trends in modern Britain. The pews…

Argentinian pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim (Photo: Getty)

Was Barenboim happy hiding inside a provincial orchestra from Venezuela?

23 January 2016 9:00 am

Daniel Barenboim back at the Festival Hall! Cue The Grand March of the Musical Luvvies Across Hungerford Bridge, a bustling…

Johannes Brahms, 1877 (Photo: Getty)

Late Brahms is wonderfully crafted - which is why it's so dull

21 November 2015 9:00 am

Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet begins, writes his biographer Jan Swafford, with ‘a gentle, dying-away roulade that raises a veil of autumnal…

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Pope vs church - the anatomy of a Catholic civil war

7 November 2015 9:00 am

Francis’s haphazard reforms risk sparking a Catholic civil war

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Why I’m glad my piano teacher spent more time chatting than teaching

17 October 2015 8:00 am

At the entrance to Marylebone railway station is an old piano that anyone can play. Unfortunately, whoever had this sweet…

Pope Francis gives his weekly general audience at St Peter's square on October 7, 2015 at the Vatican.  AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE        (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

This year, Catholic conservatives are ready for Pope Francis

10 October 2015 9:00 am

Where will Francis's Synod on the Family take the Church?

Gregory Peck

Right on the button

26 September 2015 9:00 am

When Brooks Brothers changed the style of their trademark button-down shirts, Damian Thompson was bereft. Then he discovered Mercer and Sons

Clara Schumann

There's a good reason why there are no great female composers

19 September 2015 8:00 am

Last week a 17-year-old girl forced the Edexcel exam board to change its A-level music syllabus to include the work…

Russian virtuoso pianist Jascha Spivakovsky, 1920 (Photo: Getty)

Jascha Spivakovsky: the great lost pianist we can finally hear

22 August 2015 9:00 am

William Kapell was an American concert pianist with the looks of a male model and the fingers of a wizard.…

After coming forth in the Tchaikovsky competition, Lucas Debargue is the only competitor anyone is talking about

The real winner in the Tchaikovsky competition is the man who came last

18 July 2015 9:00 am

Lucas Debargue, a 24-year-old French pianist, came fourth in the finale of the Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow on 30 June,…

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is greeted by Pope Francis during the Ordinary Public Consistory at St. Peter's Basilica in February (Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty)

Benedict XVI leaves Rome to deliver a coded message to his supporters

11 July 2015 9:00 am

Quietly, discreetly, the Pope Emeritus is offering a different vision to that of Pope Francis

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Is this the greatest piano work of the 21st century?

20 June 2015 9:00 am

The award of a knighthood to the composer James MacMillan will have ruined last weekend for lots of unsavoury people:…