Damian Thompson

Damian Thompson is an associate editor of The Spectator

Composer Amy Beach. Photo: Bridgeman Images

The forgotten masterpieces of Amy Beach

25 May 2019 9:00 am

At the Wigmore Hall last Friday, the Takacs String Quartet and Garrick Ohlsson played a piano quintet that was once…

Andras Schiff Credit: Robert Ghement/EPA/Shutterstock

Anderszewski went at Beethoven’s Diabellis with a nail gun

18 May 2019 9:00 am

Are Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations really ‘the greatest of all piano works’, as Alfred Brendel claims? It’s hardly what you would…

25 years off the booze has taught me three simple things

11 May 2019 9:00 am

Have you noticed how nearly everyone in the media has won an award? Is there even such a thing as…

An exposé of high-ranking gays in the Catholic Church bears the fingerprints of the Pope’s closest advisors

23 February 2019 9:00 am

The publication of In the Closet of the Vatican by the French gay polemicist Frédéric Martel has been meticulously timed…

Badge of excellence

Happy Birthday, Blue Peter

20 October 2018 9:00 am

Every Monday and Thursday afternoon when I was growing up, a drum roll would sound throughout suburban Britain. ‘Damian? Blue…

‘Catholic music is often excruciating – I call it “Joan Baez meets Hildegard of Bingen in a 1970s cocktail lounge.”’ Baez: Pierre Andrieu /AFP/Getty Images Bach: Rischgitz/Getty Images

J.S. Bach v. Joan Baez

15 September 2018 9:00 am

I was at a funeral the other day at which the music was so inspiring that I struggled to feel…

What has Pope Francis covered up?

8 September 2018 9:00 am

The Catholic Church is confronting a series of interconnected scandals so shameful that its very survival is threatened. Pope Francis…

Classical music is awash with virtue-signalling

7 July 2018 9:00 am

All my life I’ve wanted to compose music, and now I’ve done it. I’ve written a sonata for solo flute…

Pope Francis raises the white flag

2 June 2018 9:00 am

Just before Ireland voted overwhelmingly to end the country’s constitutional ban on abortion, Catholics in the fishing village of Clogherhead…

Mozart died too late rather than too early. Discuss.

14 April 2018 9:00 am

Glenn Gould used to say that Mozart died too late rather than too early. The remark was intended to get…

Remembering one of the best – and bitchiest – pianists who ever lived

3 March 2018 9:00 am

I’m unlucky with Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata. Twice in the past year I’ve bolted for the exit as soon the pianist…

Momentum isn’t hard left. It’s a theatrical cult

27 January 2018 9:00 am

Hard left, my arse. Sorry to be vulgar, but surely that’s how Jim Royle, couch-potato patriarch of that glorious sitcom…

Prodigiously gifted but spiky: Nico Muhly

Composer Nico Muhly on drugs, cults and James MacMillan

25 November 2017 9:00 am

There’s a scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie in which Tippi Hedren is emptying a safe while a cleaning lady silently…

(image: istock)

Cult classic

21 October 2017 9:00 am

In Dan Brown’s new thriller, Origin, we are introduced to the Catholic church’s sinister far-right rival — a paranoid worldwide…

Make mine a double

14 October 2017 9:00 am

If two concert pianists are performing a work written for two grand pianos, there are two ways you can position…

Losing our religion

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Sir James MacMillan’s European Requiem, performed at the Proms on Sunday, isn’t about Brexit. The composer had to make this…

Beethoven: Missa solemnis

29 July 2017 9:00 am

When you first encounter it, Beethoven’s Missa solemnis can sound like the Ninth Symphony with more singing but no tunes.…

Evgeny Kissin in 1993

Kissin in action

17 June 2017 9:00 am

Is Evgeny Kissin, born in Moscow in 1971, the most famous concert pianist in the world? Probably not, if you…

The finest Wotan around: Latvian bass-baritone Egils Silins

Period drama

27 May 2017 9:00 am

Harpsichordists are supposed to make love, not war: Sir Thomas Beecham famously compared the sound they make to ‘two skeletons…

Mission impossible?

29 April 2017 9:00 am

Just before Peter Donohoe played the last of Alexander Scriabin’s ten piano sonatas at the Guildhall’s Milton Court on Sunday,…

Time to retire: pianist Maurizio Pollini at the Royal Festival Hall in March 2016

All’s well that ends well

25 March 2017 9:00 am

There’s a moment in the finale of Beethoven’s Appassionata sonata when the frenzied piano writing turns unexpectedly jolly. The late…

The plot against the Pope

11 March 2017 9:00 am

On the first Saturday in February, the people of Rome awoke to find the city covered in peculiar posters depicting…

The plot against the Pope

9 March 2017 3:00 pm

On the first Saturday in February, the people of Rome awoke to find the city covered in peculiar posters depicting…

Safe and sound

21 January 2017 9:00 am

This week the Southbank Centre began its ‘Belief and Beyond Belief’ festival — a series of concerts and talks claiming…

Safe and sound

19 January 2017 3:00 pm

This week the Southbank Centre began its ‘Belief and Beyond Belief’ festival — a series of concerts and talks claiming…