Barenboim’s tantrum is censored on TV

Barenboim’s tantrum is censored on TV


norman lebrecht

August 15, 2021

The  Arte broadcast of Daniel Barenboim’s Salzburg concert in which an innocent horn player caught the force of the conductor’s hair-trigger temper – was cut short to eliminate the embarrassing scene.

That’s live TV for you.

You can watch the truncated applause here.

The Times report of the incident, filed from Berlin, relied for detail on comments posted on

See here.



  • Alan says:

    Appears to have come…..

    This is now the paper of record. ‘Appears to have come’

    I wasn’t there that night but I was the following. He played Brahms 2 very well and was very graceful and complimentary to conductor and orchestra.

    Maybe the Times can print that.

  • Chicagorat says:

    After having watched Muti’s tantra for a year or so, Maestro Baremboim sees himself left behind. Only, Muti is simply light years ahead and Baremboim will never catch-up.

    On July 30th, right before crashing his own b-day cake, the Italian Stallion showed up at the Quirinale (the White House of Italy) to give a G20 concert with his Cherubini sweat shop. In his speech (as a Muti’s concert must include a rambling speech) he greeted and thanked the Italian President Mattarella and the Italian Minister of Cultural Affairs Francheschini who were attending. He deliberately ignored Prime Minister Mario Draghi who was also attending the concert next to the President, both during and after the speech. Several Italian news sites (not the slavish Valerio Cappelli @ il Corriere) reported on this dreadful behavior.

    Why did he do that: because Draghi refused to be bullied by Muti into lifting Covid restrictions, after Muti “demanded” so (again using Cappelli @ Il Corriere; in his hallucinations Muti thinks Draghi must obey him, or be punished if he doesn’t).

    It has to be reported that Franceschini (Muti’s enabler in the Italian government) paid Euro 175.000 of EU taxpayer money to bring Muti at the Quirinale so that he could insult the Prime Minister.

    Unfortunately for Muti, Mario Draghi is not a man who can be bullied by anyone, least of all by a pompous and unethical creep. Unlike Franceschini and Alexander, who leverage EU taxpayer and CSO donors resources to finance Muti’s sweat shop and entertainment, respectively.

    • 18mebrumaire says:

      Not a fan then?

    • Lothario Hunter says:

      … and what a sweet entertainement it is! typical of 18-degree N latitude, not 42!

      Fit for Muti, and he deserves nothing less and perhaps … some donors are happy to pay even if the IRS might one day ask questions?

    • Marfisa says:

      Not everything is about Muti. Time to call Rodent Control on ChicagoRat.

    • soldatino says:

      Muti hates this Corona because it gives a bad name to the other Corona that he loves

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      Thank you. That needed to be said. This from a man who conducts slick, ‘Italian sports car’ Bruckner and pushes aside the symphonies of Mahler – in Chicago, of all places! People of Chicago, wake up and plan ahead.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Stop fetishizing orchestral conductors and this won’t happen anymore.

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      Maestro Muti has nothing to do with this. Refering to Trump, or to (ugh) Hitler, next?

    • Bernard Jacobson says:

      During all the years I’ve known Riccardo Muti, where has the irascible boor dreamed up on this site by some of its commenters been hiding? I’ve attended probably more than a hundred of Muti’s concerts, worked closely with him for seven years as a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s administrative staff, observed dozens of rehearsals, and witnessed a great many offstage encounters during intermissions and before and after concerts, and I have yet to encounter one example of his behaving with anything but the most impeccable sensitivity, generosity, and tact. Perhaps the one episode that came closest to the nature of a tantrum was, after a concert, a politely worded reminder to audience members who were dashing to the exits without applauding to catch their transport home (what we used to call a “walking ovation”) that the dedication and hard work the players had brought to the performance deserved a moment of their recognition and response.

      And I’m sorry if this is going to sound sentimental, but the kind of conductor often conjured up in the long-running vendetta pursued in these virtual columns is hardly a man for whom, when he announced his impending resignation from the music director post at a rehearsal, many of the players’ eyes, as I can attest from my own observation, could be seen to be full of tears. One distinguished principal player told me, “When he leaves, I’ll be resigning the next season – there’s no way I could play for another music director, because Muti has given me my dignity.” And the violinist in question did indeed retire at the next opportunity.

    • Fabrizio Scotto di Santolo says:

      You have clearly a personal issue with this man. We just listened to his Missa Solemnis in Salzurg. Your words don’t seem to be rational and fact based. His music making speaks for him. I hope you will not sit in the orchestra when he will play the Missa in Chicago. Your anger would not allow you to understand. By the way, I was present at the Baremboim incident. I agree it was much smaller than what the Times reported and I also agree that the second concerto played under Shani was excellent. Lucky those who were present.

    • steve says:

      someone’s butt-hurt lmfao

  • Kira Levy says:

    I don’t see how, as in an earlier SD post, the horn was obscured by the harp.

  • Paul Dawson says:

    I have a feeling we might have a storm in a teacup here. Googling suggests that only The Times and SD have covered the story.

    Paywall means I can’t read what The Times wrote, but the headline suggests it did not take into account the eminently credible (and highly recommended) alternative account given by Ghost of Karajans Past on SD’s orginal version of the story.

  • Euphonium Al says:

    Too bad the incident was omitted from the televised performance. The allegedly bullying maestro’s behavior should be shown for all to see so they can render their own judgments. Whatever happened, I look forward to the era of the totalitarian celebrity conductor ending up on the ash heap of history. Barenboim is nearly 80. The next generation of maestros knows they can’t get away with this stuff, so largely they don’t try.

  • Gerard says:

    I hope someone can explain what really evidence whatsoever…only the joyless face of Barenboim. Not something you want to watch on your screen i’m afraid.

  • Mark Mortimer says:

    I’ve always been a great admirer of DB- his protean talents as a conductor & pianist are unsurpassed. I’m therefore alarmed by numerous recent reports of irascible conduct with his fellow musicians. As befits arguably the most consummate classical performer of our times- he should set high standards as a role model for an increasingly endangered art. So ‘Danny Boy’- behave yourself.

    • Jenni says:

      > his protean talents as a conductor &
      > pianist are unsurpassed.

      No they’re not.

      He’s an average who has conned people into believing he is Something Special.

  • CJ says:

    Still, Daniel Barenboim is one of the greatest musicians on earth, his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is a nice initiative and we should be grateful for what he has done for music.

  • JohnG says:

    Only tangentially connected, but this story reminds me of that exquisitely awkward little video of an elderly Karl Bohm visibly tutting at the horns of the Vienna Philharmonic during a live Beethoven 7. I don’t know why DB might have wanted to say something in recrimination to a horn player immediately after a concert, if indeed he did, but I suppose Bohm at least can be excused in the heat of the moment! (In the players’ defence the tempo is pretty glacial, almost inviting split notes.)

    • Rafael Enrique Irizarry says:

      JohnG: with all due respect. Dr. Böhm’s disgusted smirk as the first horn cracks a famously dangerous passage (find a similarly awkward -same pitch- and also dreaded moment in Schumann’s piano concerto, Mvt. III) was completely out of order. If Professor Roland Berger was playing that concert, I have no doubt he had a “meeting” with Dr. Böhm right afterwards which history does not record. Members of the Royal Philharmonic horns -under Menuhin- broadly smiled and barely contained laughter IN CONCERT (they were on tour in Puerto Rico) as their section leader scraped the notoriously dangerous high note in Mvt. IV of Dvořák’s “New World.” In none of those instances did tempo have any bearing. In the early 80s I heard a radio broadcast of the VPO with the same Beethoven: it was catastrophic for the horns at end of Mvt. I, and the thing was played at a “standard” tempo. (There was a recording of the VPO in Strauss’ “Till Eulenspiegel” -under André Previn- where the horns… Well, you only wonder how it was allowed to be released in the first place.)

      How many unfortunate souls have experienced the bitter trauma of missing that one high note in Mvt. I of Shostakovich’s 5th? Now, that one can really be adversely influenced by a poor tempo choice; some renowned players split the passage with an assistant to help secure the note. [“Lord, have mercy on my solo…”]

      • Bone says:

        I was at a rehearsal Shostakovich 5 and heard the principal horn fail a few times on the high passage. The orchestra put out a CD and – viola! – amazingly flawless performance.
        And I do love the Bohm video – as a brass player, I revel in the misery of other folks sometimes.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      There are lots of stories about Karl Böhm being less than polite towards other musicians. It can also be seen in rehearsal footage. I haven’t seen the one you list, but I know of at least two others, both with the Vienna Philharmonic. Not that his observations were wrong, but his manners definitely were.

  • What would be funny is to show the start of the tantrum, then cut to some commercials, come back for some more tantrum, cut to more commercials…

  • Peter B says:

    None related whatsoever with this post, but it seems Mariusz Kwiecień earned around 65,000 PLN (around 15,000 EURO) per MONTH for being or NOT being the Artistic Director of the Opera Wrocławska… (and this in a pandemic)…. a big scandal and a fraud investigation is on its way in Poland:,35771,27387839,efekt-kontroli-w-operze-wroclawskiej-mistrzowskie-gospodarowanie.html?fbclid=IwAR3F6vdHMPeZQDtqumiUk3bsG_wUMBwM8IDOx1rtRbkyVxJNcyXgBMtZolo&disableRedirects=true

  • Jackson says:

    Why all this hatred for Riccardo Muti? Not only is he a great conductor but he is being condemned on a superficial view of the man. One point greatly in his favour from my point of view is his love of animals and hatred of cruelty to them.

  • Mark (London) says:

    Where is it in the link?

  • Rob says:

    What are they dressed up for? Doesn’t make the music sound any better.

    Masks on, masks off, masks off and on and back off, what a farce.

  • Gary Freer says:

    Let’s rid ourselves of this ‘Maestro’ nonsense. It just encourages the likes of Barenboim.

  • Annabelle Weidenfeld says:

    Most “live” concerts on ARTE and Medici-TV are edited before transmission to save valuable time so we are not sitting through intervals and stage sets-ups as we would be if present in the hall. By all highly credible accounts from eye-witnesses, Barenboim simply went to the harpist to make sure she received her applause as his signal from the rostrum was misread. Any producer would edit it out as a waste of time and this can hardly be called “censorship” but in the interest of this storm in a tea cup it is a shame that we cannot have proof of how ridiculous this whole allegation is with its reports of “tirade” and “trigger-temper”. We have not had corroboration from anyone close enough to have heard a word!

  • G says:

    Unless its a sexual misconduct, we do not care
    (This is sarcasm-explanation for the stupid)