Putting the sex back in symphony

Putting the sex back in symphony


norman lebrecht

May 21, 2023

Bouncing off the celebrated recent orgasm at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Maureen Dowd in the New York Times finds multiple causes for arousal in the world’s concert halls and their attendant media.

Among other hot flushes, she brings a pledge from Dudamel to ‘keep that wild, wild animal Gustavo,’ and a plea from Yannick: ‘Love every note. Love more your eighth notes. Please love this harmony more.’

Read the Dowd op-ed here.


  • Paracelsus says:

    The august Wall Street Journal is not missing out on this orgasmic trend: the derelict and undersexed David Mermelstein, in his recent piece on Muti, goes wild and uses the words “even sexy” to describe the conductor’s charm. When Mermelstein calls Muti sexy, that’s your flag that something kinky is going down.

    Now Muti is more derelict than Mermelstein, but not as undersexed based on what we hear even in Philly from old friends in Chicago and Italy. So it is understandable that the WSJ “critic” looks up to him as a reason for hoping that even dinosaurs can enjoy a sexual Renaissance.

    Whether Muti can be orgasmic … I have my serious doubts, again based on reliable, disappointed sources.

    • John Kelly says:

      Well, he is over 80……………..

    • steve says:

      and you’ve clearly not read the piece…mermelstein describes the SOUND of the orchestra as “potently expressed with a humanizing, even sexy, charm”…do you need to go back to elementary school to learn reading comprehension?

      • NY subscriber says:

        The sound of the CSO is the opposite of sexy. Frigid as ice, I would call it, especially with Muti conducting. I heard them in Carnegie Hall in multiple occasions.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Is this good advertising for classical music? It seems to be somewhat misleading, as the music can be perceived in many different ways. Worth thinking, for example in fiction, of “A Clockwork Orange” – classical music inspiring a very very horrorshow.

  • Bone says:


  • Reality Sux says:

    If Maureen Dowd is right – IF – No-one will be disappointed by this newfangled popularity of classical music than the musicians themselves, perennially looking for the negative in everything and especially their own profession, as a sign of uncompromising intellectual sophistication.

    Because you know, it’s all branding PR YNS fingernails Gelb Met sucks the past was sooooooooooo much better oh the days of Gitlis Ida Handel Tennstedt Karajan Levine blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah ad infinitum

  • MER says:

    Dmitri Tiomkin was hired by David O. Selznick to write music for Duel in the Sun in 1946, including eleven different themes, all rather ordinary except for a specifically requested orgasm theme Tiomkin found daunting. “Try!”, Selznick urged. “I want a really good shtupp.”

    George Harrison once asked if you get as horny with computer music as you do playing rock and roll.


  • Karden says:

    FWIW, that person at the LA Phil who was supposedly having an orgasm apparently was actually dozing off and startled after waking up.