The Great British Spill Awards!

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the glorious land of green fields, quaint little towns dappled in the evening sunlight, and chocolate-box cottages full of cottage industry making innovative jams and the like, that is post-Brexit Britain. Make Britain Great Again? Quite unnecessary; we’ve always been Great, one just has to wipe away some of the accumulated grime that’s been blown in from foreign places to see it. But making the Spill Awards Great Again, when so many of you good people have shown a dangerous tendency in the past to side with the Enemies of the People – that’s a plan we can all get behind! So, as the fog machines get to work in the Channel and the tea urn chunters in the corner, pull up a folding wooden chair and don’t get too comfortable. Continue reading

Spill Awards!

I’m never sure whether to call this the Spill Awards 2016, since they all relate to last year, or 2017 ‘cos that’s the year we’re now in. Either way, the votes have been counted and I’ve got my act together, and I’m delighted to announce that the award ceremony will be going out live this coming Friday, from 20:00 GMT – apologies to anyone for whom this will be massively inconvenient, but twas ever thus. All welcome. Dress: traditional and yet forward-looking. Cash bar.



I know that I’ve bored some of you with my Mahler obsession in the past but this time’s slightly different.

I discovered Mahler in about 1964/65 as a result of buying a Bernstein Columbia box set which included the symphonies 2, 6 and 9; I absolutely fell in love with the 2nd symphony. To the degree that I recall saying [to myself of course] that I’d travel anywhere in the US to hear it performed live. I never actually did travel but in the intervening years I’ve heard it live twice, in LA and in SF.

About at that same period a NY businessman, a very wealthy businessman, Gilbert Kaplan, also discovered Mahler’s second symphony. He became so obsessed with this single piece of music that he travelled the world to hear it performed by all of the top conductors. In 1982, after a series of rehearsals, Mr. Kaplan hired the American Symphony Orchestra to present Mahler’s Second Symphony under his baton at the Lincoln Center. The music critic of the Village Voice gave the performance a rave review,  he declared the interpretation “one of the five or six most profoundly realized Mahler Seconds” in the previous 25 years. Even those attendees not schooled in music seemed to recognize that they had witnessed something remarkable. That’s about when I became aware of Gilbert Kaplan.

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