Mahler

Jozsefs Lendvai and Lendvay with Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra at the Proms. Image: BBC/Chris Christodoulos

The Budapest Festival Orchestra makes other orchestras look routine and oafish

1 September 2018 9:00 am

Looney Tunes was always at its best when soundtracked by a Hungarian gypsy dance. (Watch ‘Pigs in a Polka’ if…

The indispensable recorded legacy of Rafael Kubelik

14 July 2018 9:00 am

Rafael Kubelik is watching Wimbledon when I enter his suite at the Savoy. ‘Tennis fan?’ I ask, slightly surprised. He…

Cold and confusing: Garsington's Die Zauberflöte reviewed

9 June 2018 9:00 am

The picnic hamper’s open, the bubbly is chilled, and country house opera is starting to eat itself. When you arrive…

A Gerald Barry première really ought to be national news

17 March 2018 9:00 am

Blue Gadoo is one of those cats whose face looks like it’s been bashed flat with a wok. He lives…

Embarrassing – but electrifying: Bernstein 100 reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

‘There is something enviable about the utter lack of inhibition with which Leonard Bernstein carries on,’ wrote the critic of…

Partying like it’s 1899: two lieder recitals reviewed

4 November 2017 9:00 am

If a symphony is, as Mahler famously put it, ‘like the world’, then songs and lieder are like seeing that…

Was Richard Strauss the greatest film composer that never was?

21 October 2017 9:00 am

An opera without singers, a Strauss orchestra of just 16, and an early music ensemble playing Mahler: welcome to the…

Painted more shades of grey than a Farrow & Ball catalogue: The Judas Passion reviewed

7 October 2017 9:00 am

‘Can the ultimate betrayal ever be forgiven?’ screams the publicity for The Judas Passion, transforming a Biblical drama into a…

Bewilderingly dull: the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the Proms reviewed

16 September 2017 9:00 am

‘We’re going to live for ever!’ declares Robert Powell as Gustav Mahler at the end of Ken Russell’s 1974 biopic.…

Bruckner’s Ninth is one of the greatest musical works – and also the most baffling

9 September 2017 9:00 am

The two Proms concerts given on consecutive evenings by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra were well planned: a short opening work,…

Power of two: Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim play a duet at this year’s Lucerne Festival

Chailly’s Mendelssohn alone was worth going to Lucerne for

26 August 2017 9:00 am

This year’s Lucerne Festival is given its identity by having as its theme ‘Identity’. Since the word doesn’t mean anything,…

Mahler said his time would come – the question now, for me, is when it will go

8 July 2017 9:00 am

When I began listening to music seriously, in about 1950, I had read about Mahler but wasn’t able to hear…

Why does sport work so well on radio?

21 January 2017 9:00 am

The purest form of radio is probably sports commentating, creating pictures in the mind purely through language so that by…

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

‘Street in Auvers-sur-Oise’ by Vincent van Gogh

Why we love unfinished art

30 April 2016 9:00 am

An unfinished painting can provide a startling glimpse of the artist at work. But the common tendency to prefer it to a finished work is being taken to extremes, says Philip Hensher

Orchestral conductors would be much better if they tried performing Renaissance music

5 September 2015 9:00 am

To be honest, my friendship with Michael Tilson Thomas hasn’t gone quite as I had hoped. It started in February…

Sylvie Guillem, in savage-child tunic and a Mowgli wig, says farewell to her fans

Is that Sylvie Guillem? Or R2-D2? Guillem's farewell dance at Sadler’s Wells reviewed

6 June 2015 9:00 am

There’s been a clutch of middle-aged danseuses taking leave of life in one way or another recently. We’ve seen the…

Birmingham Royal Ballet review: A Father Ted Carmina Burana

4 April 2015 9:00 am

We ballet-goers may be the most self-deceiving audiences in theatre. Put a ‘new work’ in front of us and half…

Even a perfect opera such as Don Giovanni improves with a good red

4 April 2015 9:00 am

End of season is always bittersweet, the melting snows a bit like autumn leaves. But the days are longer and…

Mahler’s Fifth is the perfect soundtrack to a tooth extraction

7 March 2015 9:00 am

Frantic chewing of sugar-coated nicotine gum had caused my left lower molar to go irretrievably rotten, and the dentist finally…

How Claudio Abbado bridged old and new

1 February 2014 9:00 am

Not long ago the great conductors of classical music were general practitioners. They expected to give satisfactory interpretations of music…

Goodbye, Claudio Abbado. You helped us glimpse eternity

25 January 2014 9:00 am

Fellini’s credo ‘the visionary is the only true realist’ could also be applied to the life of Claudio Abbado, who…

A world-class orchestra in the heart of São Paulo’s Crackland

7 September 2013 9:00 am

Damian Thompson visits Brazil to hear Marin Alsop whip São Paulo’s orchestra into shape