Mahler

Opera North’s Rite of Spring shows the advantages of confining the music to the pit

2 March 2019 9:00 am

It was Stravinsky himself who suggested that, in order to preserve its difficulty, the opening bassoon solo of The Rite…

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

The Budapest Festival Orchestra make all other orchestra 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…

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…

Does Gerald Barry hate music?

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…

Richard Strauss (image: Getty)

Salon Strauss

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…

Vice and virtue

5 October 2017 2:00 pm

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

The sound of no hands clapping

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.…

Bowled over by Bruckner

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

Mistaken identity

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,…

Gustav Mahler

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…

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

Why we love unfinished art

30 April 2016 9:00 am

The unfinished is, of course, something which tells us about the history of a work of art’s creation. A work…

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

São Paulo has a concert hall that London’s orchestras would kill for. It was originally a railway station, a mighty…