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Don’t look now: there’s only one kind of music on screen for the next two weeks

The most depressing news of the day comes in an agency story in the Independent placed by Sky Arts2, the channel no-one watches to the newspaper very few read.

James Hunt, the channel controller, announces two weeks of wall-to-wall Andre Rieu, nothing else on screen for a fortnight, 24/7. ‘Andre Rieu is one of the best-selling live acts in the world and one of the most successful violinists ever. We are thrilled to be working with the maestro on his very own channel,’ says Hunt.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned.


andre rieu

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  1. I had the impression they were pretty much doing that already.

    • Derek Castle says:

      Norman, all conjecture about people’s social lives and intelligence (or lack of it) aside, I think we are missing a main point here. Sky Arts 2 is selling us short. Apart from the Andre Rieu output until 1st March (repeats of Romantic Paradise in Tuscany and Songs from my Heart in Maastricht), we are getting endless repeats of the Tchaikovsky and Beethoven Cycles, Bernstein on Jazz, Waldbühne concerts, Dudamel in LA, Marlene Dietrich, etc. While repeats can be very useful, surely there are less ‘historic’ programmes Sky could dig up. The only positive thing that keeps me from cancelling my subscription are the opera productions, particularly recent ones (2011) from the Met.

  2. Derek Castle says:

    One word was missing – “one of the best-selling live CIRCUS acts….” And this is going to be wall-to-wall instead of the 10 hours a day of him (in endless repeats!) that we get already! God help us! I think I”ll cancel my Sky subscription.

  3. David Hutchings says:

    I fail to understand why people love this stuff so much. Can someone explain this to me? With Michael Nyman, Andrew Lloyd Webber & many others, I can understand why there may be some kind of mass appeal, despite it’s – in my eyes – lack of artistic merit. So what does Andre Rieu have that appeals so widely?

    • Mark Powell says:


    • KirstyBeckwith says:

      A fantastic orchestra behind him and delivers a fantastic show….also it’s quite calming and beautiful music..

    • He has the ability to help people love music, it is a pity if you and others like you moan, we are all made differently and have different tastes in music, Andre and JSO all have a great love of all styles of music. You don’t have to sit straight and not smile to appreciate music.

      • The shame of it is when one enc ourages others to like classical music theu are shouted down. We met a young man of 8 at the opera not so long ago, tha meagic flute, and his father said it was an an dre rieu concert that excited him to go. He plans to learn the vipolin sometime but his father has started him on the piano first. were that there more like this young man inspired by music. Andre Rieu is a terrific and talented musician who inspires others.

        • Timon Wapenaar says:

          I remember listening to “Starlight Express” and liking it when I was 10. When I was 10, mind…

    • Jo pollard says:

      If you have to ask you obviousley haven’t got it, He has emotion does what he does because he lives for the music, gives back and value for money, crosses all age group, all gender’s, no ban on young children from his concerts in short We all feel welcome when we go to his concerts like a huge family.
      What more could you possibly want and Oh yes he has sex appeal.

    • David how much time do you have? I will tell you why Andre Rieu appeals to so many.

  4. Lukas Fierz says:

    André Rieu is a very interesting phenomenon. I once spent two hours before the television screen watching and studying a whole concert.

    Seems to be a complete absence of anything that is music for me: No drive, no story, no rubato, no charm, no fantasy, no interesting sound. Just these disguised and smiling Barbies and their black-tailed cock. Seems that smiling is part of the show. Its told that whoever is not smiling is thrown out by the master.

    But then how many people subsist on McDonalds and similar horrors, how many people consume only tabloids. We have to accept that real music needs some brain and taste. And we have to accept that there is a market also for those without brain and taste. We have to be happy that somebody fulfills their need.

    • KirstyBeckwith says:

      Whenever andre and jso are on…I have it on..not to watch but just to listen…does it matter who plays the classical music as long as its played well..I find your comments quite insulting and cannot understand how you can determine that a band playing “bolero” to such amazing accuracy is not real music…We stood in awe watching them play it live at Christmas and as my husband is a drummer he could appreciate the mastery involved in playing that….and it was live as with all andre concerts you are able be at stage front 11 year ld now has good knowledge of classical music so it’s done he some real good within music at school….M

  5. indeed but that lack of brain and taste then becomes the norm, Norm…

    there must be some salacious sex abuse story lurking behind those grins and barbie dolls……please someone find one, and take him off our screens!

  6. Had Andrie Rieu ever recorded a violin concerto?

    • Does it really matter,he makes so many people happy I for one now attend other classical music events as well, he has opened a door that i otherwise might not have known was there i thank him for that and will still attend his concerts because he and the JSO make me feel uplifted.

  7. Kevin Rogers says:

    Good grief. It’s already practically wall-to-wall programming. It’s all so boring, and depressing.

  8. Peter - a different one from the other Peter says:

    What a phenomenon ! Somehow, I had managed never to hear or see Andre Rieu performing, until this article prompted me to look on youtube. Amazing. The Disney-like entry with all players waiving. The pantomime costumes. The fixed smiles, like an American evangelist. and the shots of an audience moved to tears by banal arrangements. Yes I would be too after a few minutes. One performance for violin, tin-whistle and bagpipes left me aghast.

    Bizarre it may be, but it seems to be tremendously popular, and makes lots of people happy. There’s now’t wrong with that.
    So, if the tV channel wants to run wall-to-wall Rieu, or Clayderman, or Katherine Jenkins, or Kenny G, or whatever… then that’s fine.

    As long as TVs have an off switch.

  9. Martin Locher says:

    Andre Rieu fills arenas just like pop stars do. At least he used to. If people want to spend their money on such a performance they shall be free to do so.

    It’s up to the real classical musicians and orchestras to come up with reasons why people shall spend money on them instead of wasting their money on the Biebers and Rieus.

    I see no reason why one shall spend CHF 65 for the cheapest Andre Rieu seat in Zurich’s Hallenstadion. For that money you can hear two Tonhalle Zurich concerts and attend an opera perfomance at Zurich too. But as Lukas Fierz mentioned above, this probably requires some brain and taste.

  10. richardcarlisle says:

    Rubinesque defines puffy curvature … rieuesque defines self-glorifying pomposity… his service as a language maker compensates for lack of musicality.

    Maybe a good designer could fashion a peacock tail to attach to his backside?

  11. Wow – there are some very superior people hammering away at their keyboards today.

    • Derek Castle says:

      Alison, if you subscribe to a channel calling itself ‘Sky Arts’, can’t you expect something more than this drivel, all day, every day?

  12. I’m not a fan of what Andre Rieu does, but I do find some of the criticism here rather misplaced. I doubt Andre Rieu would ever claim to belong to what we usually call “serious” classical music; rather he has found his own niche market, which happens to be rather successful financially, and to be honest it takes brilliant skills to be able to promote oneself to that degree and be that successful — and it’s certainly not easy. I’m sure Andre Rieu is quite aware of what he can and cannot do as a violinist, and might have simply decided to capitalize on his strengths, rather than perhaps spending a lifetime miserable in an orchestra or teaching at a school. I personally see nothing wrong with that. It takes a lot of skills to do what he does — perhaps not in a purely violinistic sense, but try setting up a business as successful as his and please come back share your impressions on this forum. I would not personally buy one of his CDs or DVDs, but feel that we in the classical music world are sometimes quick to dismiss the economic realities of our profession and too easily criticize those who may correspond to our ethereal expectations. If we want to have a debate about why people are less and less educatedm and therefore less and less inclined to appreciate quality, that would be indeed a worthwhile debate, but let’s not blame people for trying to do the most with whatever talent they have, and being indeed eally good at it: I’m pretty sure Andre Rieu would smile reading this forum — all the way to the bank. To expect him to turn into something he is not is to commit a blatant category mistake. Thankfully, there is a place for everyone in the world of music: a place for serious music, for entertaining music, and even sometimes for really bad music that is yet revered because a famous and intimidating name happens to be attached to it.

    • My compliments to you for your realistic, objective and clear-headed comment. As a long-time professional musician who can identify “good” from “bad” music, I too find it difficult to censure the phenomenal success of Rieu. As one of my mentors taught me early on: If you have to sell yourself to sell yourself, sell yourself!

    • Thank-you for putting the right perspective on things d1966. I play violin in a top symphony orchestra and I get ever so tired of the the Rieu bashing by music snobs. Rieu brings a lot of joy to a lot of people who might never set foot in a concert hall. And maybe some of them will eventually make the venture into deeper waters. My philosophy: If you don’t like it, don’t listen to it.

    • I think most of the comments here are the rantings of people jealous at someone’s success. I agree with the above statement of giving the guy a fair go. The reason he’s so successful is because he’s passionate about his music and because he’s offering classical music in a way nobody else can match and he’s a nice guy and he’s a happily married man. Not too many celebrities these days can boast off any of these qualities so stop being so stuck up and snobby and utilise your privilege of turning off your tv. I for one think he’s awesome and makes classical music easier to love and i don’t have pay tv.

  13. David Boxwell says:

    Here in the US, Maestro Rieu is the cash cow for incessant Public Broadcasting’s fund-raising breaks. PBS totebaggers can’t get enough of his indescribable charisma, musicianship, and star power!

  14. I’m no fan of Rieu, his sickly-sweet arrangements and his concerts but one does have to consider that all these gigs he undertakes do help to keep quite a few musicians employed throughout the year, that has to be a good thing, surely in these difficult times.

    Personally I’d probably go barking mad if I had to do more than one gig for him, but if it paid the bills…

  15. Stephen Fegely says:

    This type of entertainment is the worst example of kitch imaginable to human kind. Only contemporary church service, gives it competition.

  16. John Cheek says:

    Mr Fegely, That is deeply insulting to Contemporary Churches!

  17. Afraid I bought sky for sky arts so a just got rid of it as they also had some antiques show – how many of these are already on other stations – that I would rather not watch . Apple TV is great as can watch the BPO via iPad live in HD

  18. I got Sky TV just over a year ago, and at first I thought Sky Arts 2 was what I had been waiting for- loads of Classical Music, interesting features, and intelligent documentaries. Now, it seems that the channel is mostly repeat after repeat, and way too much of Andre Rieu, who really should have no place on what is supposed to be an arts channel. If there was a Circus or Cabaret channel, that would be the place. And now Sky have excelled themselves with a full two weeks of this overblown unmusical campery.

    I hardly watch Sky Arts 2 at all now anyway, so it won’t make much difference, but I shall avoid the channel like the plague for as long as this festival of kitsch continues.

  19. This guy certainly does enrage us by being popular! I say good luck to him. I can’t stand it myself but I am not going to act like some bigot who wants to deny other people pleasure. When are some of us going to learn that classical music is very much a minority taste and that this sort of thing is as highbrow as many people want to go. But if they enjoy it are we going to be like some highbrow Gestapo?

  20. KirstyBeckwith says:

    It is fun…it is entertaining … I took my daughter who is 11 years old at christmas to see andre rieu and it was so much fun and she loved it. The stage is all bright and beautiful and everyone is happy..wot the heck is wrong with that. My daughter immediately used her christmas money to buy a keyboard and has taken up lessons on the back of it. She knows now what a waltz is and bolero and also now knows a lot of the opera music, in fact is part of a chorus in the opera ‘carmen’ in a weeks time and she can’t wait to hear all the music….please someone tell me how andre rieu has done harm…he may not be the best violinist in the world..but I don’t think Robbie Williams is the best singer in the world…but they are both show men and entertain. I don’t go on sites damning rap music, rock music…leave each to their own and until you have been to one of his concerts then god knows how u can comment…..I have booked tickets for this years concert and my 16 year olds in asked if he could come….hopefully he will come away a little more educated about some of the greatest classical songs and music…..oh and can’t wait to watch sky arts!

  21. KirstyBeckwith says:

    Just to add another note…why does it have to be a fancy, sexual thing…there are people such as myself that go to see andre rieu for the music…it’s not like screaming teens going to see one direction for gods sake! Grow up ….. A watch to listen to him and jso orchestra not to swoon over him like some pathetic people are insinuating….bit more brain involved!!!!

  22. Anthony Chavez Mancisidor says:

    I’m from Peru, a country where classical music is not very well-known, as Mexico and other countries from Latin America… Most people from these countries hadn’t had the chance to listen to compositions from big artists as the mentioned before. However, one person, just one person found a way to get to us and touch the hearts of millions of people bringing with him, traditional and classical music… Common people may think ‘Oh, what a boring music, always the violin makes me sleep’, but once you watch the concert, you can feel as it you were part of this, seeing how people are happy with classical music, how they smile, cry, dance and more, just in one place, with one orchestra and soloists, directed by one person, Andre Rieu. This is the key for those people who don’t understand why he is so famous around the world, from New Zealand, to U.S.A., Brasil, South Africa, Germany and Japan too…

  23. William Safford says:

    I honestly don’t understand all this vitriol. Yes, his music is treacly and isn’t to my taste, but it’s competent. I wonder how close his performances sound to the original performances of, say, Strauss waltzes and such? We’ll never know, of course.

  24. Like it or not, it is extremely well done.
    Much like most pop of the early 2000′s… go back and listen to S-Club 7 hits. Banile, boring, wouldn’t-call-’em-music you will cry – but they are very well crafted, and the production values far far higher than many in the classical world.
    People like easy, accessible music in the same way they like chain restaurants, the same way that many musician “classical snobs” I can think of wouldn’t think twice about glugging cheap, nasty wine, completely against their better principles where music is concerned. Other folk prefer to spend time and money on learning about and appreciating finer wines, yet are happy with Andre Rieu. And why not? Each to his own.
    Clearly plenty of people like what Mr. Rieu is doing, and let’s let them be.
    If “we” like BBC Radio 3 playing wall-to-wall works from composer X on one of their marathons, why shouldn’t Rieu-lovers be afforded the same experience with their chosen listening material?

    Besides, if this is a channel which “no-one watches”, why bother mentioning this at all?

  25. Susan Horder says:

    Can all you miserable people please go and take a “Happy Pill ” or two. How fortunate is Andre that none of you is sitting in his audience, very fortunate indeed !!

  26. Jacky Kemp says:

    How sad all you people are to be so judgemental about people who love Andre Rieu, everybody is entitled to like who or what they like without being judged, he has made a lot of people happy around the world and that can only be good for this miserable world, there are a lot of things I do not like but I would not sit in judgement of people who do. Very very sad response there is always an off switch to the tv.

  27. if you dont like it dont watch it plenty of other channels to watch
    But for the sake of people that love Andre and his music Do shut up

  28. Elizabeth Ward says:

    I see the majority of the moaners are men, could it be the green-eyed monster……….. we have to put up with football golf darts and God knows what other men’s sports as well as your dirty films, but someone comes along with some good clean entertainment, and you don’t like it. Tough,,,,,,,,,,,,, Andre has a lot of fans who welcome sky’s decision,,,,,,,,,,,, if you don’t like it there is always a button that says “OFF”

    • Inge Cossette says:

      Elizabeth I agree with you, most people who insult here André Rieu, are men. Also those who think they have the monopoly on how to understand classical music. I love the music I love, not what some snobs tell me to, actually Rieu can play the violin, he has shown it on some solos. I know him since 1997 and I am still a fan. By the way he does not play classical music at all, he plays what we call in Germany “Semi classical music”, to which we count Johann Strauß, his brothers, Franz Léhár, Emmerich Cálmán, Emil Waldteufel and many more Viennese composers. He has indeed found his niche, before him was only dry classical music and teen music but nothing for people over 5O, by the way he is most likely so successful because he has sex appeal, which can only bewitch women and perhaps gays. Enjoy your Bruckner, Wagner, Stravinsky and others Lady GAGA and what ever all those pop singers or should I say screamers, are called, I stick to André Rieu, even if some think I have not a clue of classical music, believe me I do and I am not a fan.

      • There is no term in German which would translate to “semi classical music”. What would that be? “Halbklassik”?

        Anyway, I think what most people here (including Yours Truly) don’t like about Rieu isn’t that he plays “light” classics. I personally have no “problem” at all with that genre of music. Johann Strauss (he spelled his name with ss BTW although one sees the ß very often) was a genius and he was also acknowledged as such by contemporary “serious” composers such as Brahms – when asked for his autograph by Strauss’ stepdaughter, he wrote down the opening theme of the Donau waltz and signed “Alas – not by me”. Bruckner was also a fan and Strauss sent Bruckner a telegram after the premiere which said “I am deeply shaken, it was ones of the deepest impressions of my life”. It’s sad that you find Bruckner, Wagner, Stravinsky “dry” but it’s your loss only. There is no contradiction between “light” and “serious” classics – one can enjoy both.

        The problem with Rieu for people who also like “light” classics is simply that he and his band don’t do the music justice at all. Sure, he can play the violin OK and his musicians can play their stuff, too. But one of the most important aspect of that genre of music is the flexibility and nuancedness with which it should be played. And Rieu and his band have none of that at all. He reduces the pieces just to the surface melody and that he delivers without any feel for the nuance and inflections of the music. He turns what is delicate and light music into a gigantic fatty sausage. He grins all the time but his actual music making has no charme. Just compare how he bulldozes through any of the Strauss waltzes with how the Wiener Philharmoniker play the music – if you don’t hear the difference, that’s OK but you must know that for more sensitive listeners than you are, there isa huge difference there.

        • That should be “Strauss sent Bruckner a telegram after the premiere > of Bruckner’s 8th symphony <"

        • Inge Cossette says:

          Michael you must be a highly trained musician or you think you are, I am not, but I know what I like and nobody has to teach me that. Semi classical music you can translate in light classical. I like even some real classical music, but what made André Rieu so famous and liked, that is his charisma, that and that smile that you ridicule is specially loved by women, what you men do not get.
          Johann Strauß was Austrian and he spelled his name the German way as Austria is a German speaking country, but you can spell it like you want with ss and Sisi is also spelled with only one s not two, she wrote her own name like that. Excuse my English if it is for you perfectionist not good enough. If you think André Rieu is so bad, why on earth is he making millions and has so many fans, I believe that a few like you cannot spoil the fan people have.

          • Being German myself, I am well aware of the spelling options Strauss had for his name. But he spelled his name with -ss, not -ß. If you look up his article on Wikipedia, you can see a sample of his autograph there. But that only as an aside. Another little known fun fact about Strauss is that in the later part of his life, he actually became a German citizen because he wanted to marry for the third time (after his first wife had died and the second had left him), and that wasn’t possible under Austrian (Catholic) marriage law.

            Anyway, you don’t have to be a “highly trained musician” in order to appreciate the musical nuances I was talking about and which are mostly absent from Rieu’s performances. All you need to do is to listen a little more and pay less attention to his constant grinning. I do get that (shallow) women like that because I as a guy also like to see good-looking women smile. But I don’t judge their musical merits by whether they constantly smile or not or by how great their hair is.

            Of course you are entitled to like what you like and you don’t need to be taught what you like. But wouldn’t you like to expand your horizon a little? Maybe then you will find more to like and more to like in the music you like? Or is that what you like about Rieu – that what he does isn’t challenging you the least bit?

            If you are ready to dive into that kind of music a little deeper, beyond the mere surface level of Rieu’s performances, check out some of these clips, e.g. from Carlos Kleiber’s 1992 New Year’s Concert:


            And look! Carlos also smiles!!!

            Here is a vocal rendition of the same waltz from Karajan’s legendary New Year’s Concert:


            Now that is real artistry, and I am not saying that because Battle looked great in that red dress, but because of the way she sang.

            Or this wonderful rendition of the Donau:


            I hope you can see – or rather, hear – that there is much more to this music than the grinning and stomping Rieu does.

            Viel Spass (or Spaß)!

      • Well said Inge, André Rieu plays from his heart and his solos are perfectly played. The sound from his violin is pure and flawless. I detect a bit if envy from the male folk. André is currently the greatest live classical performer in the world and those who criticize should go and do their homework. André is making a difference in the world which is so full of hate and violence. He is making people happy and I love his music. I call it “RIEU MAGIC”~ Long live the King Of The Waltz!!!!!

        • richardcarlisle says:

          “… full of hate and violence…” and don’t leave out musical illiterati — smiling back at a gleeful plastic grin inspired by the sound of marching money… make that waltzing wampum.

          All pom-pom-toting promoters of pomp might just do themselves a favor by trying something real.

        • “The greatest live classical performer in the world”‘….really? How about Maxim Vengerov….Martha Argerich……Itzhak Perlman….Krystian Zimmerman…….Anne-Sophie Mutter….the list goes on.

          I think that you are the one who needs to go and do your homework.

        • Deirdre,

          By “greatest live classical performer,” do you mean his playing or the production of his show?

          As Mattsr suggested, since you like strings, have you ever seen Yo Yo Ma or Itzhak Perlman? Or Anne-Sophie Mutter play?

          I have great respect for Rieu’s showmanship and business sense.

          Judging from the comments, Andre Rieu must be the new Jackie Evancho on Slipped Disc!

  29. bratschegirl says:

    With respect to Elizabeth Ward’s comment above, I’m female (and straight) and a professional classical string player and I’m definitely not a fan. I find Rieu’s work bland and banal and annoying. I’ll freely admit first off that I would never voluntarily play or listen to Strauss waltzes, with the possible exception of seeing the Vienna Phil’s televised New Year’s Eve concert, but mostly that’s because given my instrument, playing more than one at a time is dreadfully physically uncomfortable and mind-numbingly dull. From the perspective of a listener who knows not of the water torture of those incessant “chuck-chucks,” they are indeed lovely and charming and delightful music.

    But Rieu doesn’t play the violin well, nor does he interpret the music with artistry. He puts on a very slickly packaged show and I give him tremendous credit for doing it extremely well. I just feel sad for those who limit their classical music exposure to performers like him, and Andrea Bocelli, and Jackie Evancho (I can hear the flame-throwers warming up even now). If you like the waltzes, you’d love the opera Die Fledermaus and the operettas of Franz Lehar and Jacques Offenbach. You’d also surely enjoy the symphonies and string quartets of Mozart, Schubert, and Haydn. By all means, go ahead and enjoy Rieu. He’s wonderfully entertaining. I just hope his fans will be encouraged to explore a little further and see how much more there is to classical music.

    • Kirsty beckwith says:

      I have the opera die fledermaus,maria callas, debussy on my iTunes along with a massive array of other classical music…I love listening to all classical…however I looked into going to the royal opera house in London and the price of tickets was extortionate, some nearly £200…. Where as I have purchased quite near front row seats for £90 for Andre,Which means I get to take my 11 and 16 year old and hsband to a night of classical and operatic music…if that wasn’t available then maybe my children would never hear the beauty of opera singers and musicians playing live!

  30. richardcarlisle says:

    Audience expansion will be profound when he adds rap routines to the mix…just hope current fans don’t jump ship…no one would like to see his kind of pomp fail even slightly.

    • Don’t like to worry you but according to his official website, he’s recording with jermaine Jackson at the moment. He’s already done some of Michael Jackson’s stuff (my niece loves his version of earth song because it has a kids’ choir with it). I predict some slaughtering of Motown classics.

      • richardcarlisle says:


        Andre will eventually start rapping … he can’t destroy that stuff and nothing could destroy him … the combination would be mutually tolerant, we’d have nothing to criticize, just join the party!

  31. Dear friends who so freely criticise André Rieu. Have ANY of you ever attended a live concert of the “King of the Waltz”! He brought the old classics back to life and young and old are listening to his music. He is currently the best live classical performer in the world and just go and see how many people from all over the world are attending his concerts! Do I detect a bit of envy here!!?? If any of you attend a live concert you too will be hooked and be a fan for life. We have attended ALL FOUR concerts in Maastricht in 2012 (that is in his hometown for those who don’t know) and it was magical!!! We already purchased tickets for all SIX concerts this year. Call us crazy, but we have taste and André Rieu is the best there is. Please do your homework and see how famous he is and how much he is loved. He does not play for the money but with his heart because he loves music and brings joy to the world. The UK is so fortunate to see much of this violin virtuoso and some of you do not appreciate how fortunate you really are. Just sit back and enjoy this magical performer with his 60+ orchestra. MAGICAL!!!!! Number 1 André Rieu fan~ South Africa

    • Martin Locher says:

      I think you could spend your money wiser, than seeing the same show 6 times, but thank you for keeping some musicians employed.

    • Timon Wapenaar says:

      Skattie, I heard this man on the radio when he came to SA. Some poor souls from Alberton or Boksburg phoned in and told him how they had actually gone so far as to purchase tickets to see him in Europe. They flew out specially. That’s eleven hours on a plane. On top of that, they forked out for seats in his Magical Special Castle for the Chosen. Then, in a very sweet, self-effacing East Rand way, they mentioned they hadn’t known he was coming to South Africa, and if they had…
      At this point, Andre used all of his superhuman interpersonal skills at the same time, and asked them “Why don’t you come see me here?”. The poor lady phoning in was practically speechless. I felt really sorry for her. Really, you could hear her struggling to find the words to explain, without letting the whole world know that they’d bankrupted themselves for the sake of a few measures of Dum-chuck-chuck and bright flashing lights, how they had in fact bankrupted themselves for all of the above.
      To finish off, he took out his fiddle and proceeded to embarrass himself, the radio station, all of his fans, and the entire Republic of South Africa. I know 16-year olds from Soweto who have more right in one fourth finger to that fiddle than Rieu has in his entire jelly-mould. It is my fervent hope that one day he is forced to surrender his instrument to just such a person. The incredible toffy-nosed lack of finesse he displayed in those five minutes of radio have, however, convinced me that he would be impervious to aversion therapy, and so I don’t suppose I’ll ever have the pleasure of seeing him strapped to a chair and forced to listen to Jullien’s only opera accompanied by electric shock. The man is the cheapest kind of charlatan, and if we had any artistic decency, we would hound him out of the profession forthwith.

      • Inge Cossette says:

        I just cannot believe somebody has so much hatred against a man who has only brought joy to the older generation. Eat your heart out he can afford a Stradivarius !!!! If you hate him, does not matter, he has plenty of fans who adore him, he does not need you!

        • Timon Wapenaar says:

          Hatred? Not a whit! It is obvious you have misread: the man is beyond aversion therapy, and while electroshock can be uncomfortable to the subject, it is by far the more humane option, and preferable to trepanning, which would be the only other course of action I could suggest. As for his instrument, it is well that he can afford it, since had it been donated to him the donation would have been a controversial one. It is a pity, however, that I have heard more convincing performances delivered on instruments of less than a 100th of its value. For shame!

          • Oh dear Timon,

            How little do you know! The violin was NOT donated to André Rieu, he actually bought this wonderful Stradivarius because he knows how to play it. You must be a fan, just look at how much of your precious time you are spending on discussing André Rieu. Aaaaahhh the lady on the radio could not immediately respond to André Rieu because she was in awe that André actually asked her a question! How many times were you invited as a special guest on a radio program? ~ “Music is my breath, my blood, my life~My everything”, André Rieu

          • Deirdre Kruger says:
            February 17, 2013 at 3:26 pm
            Oh dear Timon,

            “How little do you know! The violin was NOT donated to André Rieu, he actually bought this wonderful Stradivarius because he knows how to play it. You must be a fan, just look at how much of your precious time you are spending on discussing André Rieu. Aaaaahhh the lady on the radio could not immediately respond to André Rieu because she was in awe that André actually asked her a question! How many times were you invited as a special guest on a radio program? ~ “Music is my breath, my blood, my life~My everything”, André Rieu”

            Oh wow, what kitsch – “Music is my breath, my blood, my life~My everything”! I am frankly more than little disturbed by some of the reactions of some of the Rieu fans here because they aren’t just enormously naive but also because of the vehemence with which they react to criticism of their idol, their guru of mindless happiness and endless grinning. There is some real guru worship stuff going on here!

  32. richardcarlisle says:

    Andre, trade in your fiddle for the same instrument the Pied Piper used for a more blatant demonstration of how you’re stealing audiences from the realm of reality to the land of phony balony.

  33. Timon Wapenaar says:

    More and more it seems to me that the entire genre of post-Three Tenors “light classical” and “classical crossover” has been embraced by the corporate music machine since it is impervious to criticism: any reasoned attempt to deal with the subject in a manner less than flattering is to invite charges of snobbery and thoughtcrime. When did we lose sight of the fact that music is more than entertainment, more than a vehicle for sensual satisfaction and a means of providing employment to musicians? At what point did we become so craven that talented and otherwise intelligent people can honestly claim that listening to Strauss in some way makes it easier to listen to Bach? One might as well claim that eating quail’s eggs makes caviar more palatable. People who buy Andre Rieu DVDs do not spend money on recordings of Kremer or Vengerov: they spend money on more DVDs of Andre Rieu. Likewise concert tickets. As to the idea that it is a matter of taste, all I can say is that I am in full agreement with Schumann when he says that bad music should not just be ignored, it should be suppressed. For this, it is of course necessary to develop good taste! O tempore! O mores!

    • Much of it is impervious to criticism because it is not based on a set of musicianship standards. The only point of importance to listeners is being entertained. The only point of importance to the performers is selling CDs or tickets. The music and their skills are of little value, since, if they performed more difficult or meaningful fare, they would make less money.

      There is little difference between bubblegum pop and classical crossover. Both are candy. The one slight difference may be that bubblegum pop singers are usually young and inexperienced. Classical crossover singers are all ages.

      If some like candy, more power to them and to those who produce it, but let us not pretend it isn’t candy.

  34. This thread is one of the reasons why I enjoy reading “Slipped Disc” so much!

    • richardcarlisle says:

      Rosalind, no pretenses here, nobody making money…just pure refreshment as thoughts are aired.

      • To all you who criticize Andre Rieu – I help run a blog for Mr. Rieu and I have been appalled at the lack of thinking on most of the comments, mostly by male readers. The people who go to see Andre Rieu are not looking for pure classics; they are looking for fun and refreshment and happiness which this world is in short supply of. Here is one comment, one of many like it, which I see on the blog every day….
        “Andre you have renewed my life. At an all time low like yourself and permanent ill health I have just bought tickets for your UK concert on 23rd December which just happens to be my 65th birthday. It will be the best ever for everytime you play my world is an open vista of love happiness and thankfulness” signed by a UK resident. We get comments like this every single day which I would not have the space to list here. Instead of looking at your intellect (?) try looking at this with your heart. Remember if Andre Rieu would play every waltz or concerto he would not have enough time for every song. Now please everyone get a life and leave the nasty comments for someone who deserves them.

  35. Dear Tom Wapenaar and all non-André Rieu fans,

    If you believe that André Rieu cannot play the violin, please think again. Sir Anthony Hopkins, world famous actor, asked André Rieu of all violinists in the world to play his composition “And The Waltz Goes On”. He is a huge fan of André Rieu. I am talking about Sir Anthony Hopkins!! Who are you?! Sorry… I did not get your name… come again… ? André Rieu has class, fame, charisma and what it takes to become world famous. He is one of the best violinists, a composer, musician, conductor, showman, businessman… ha-ha he is so famous, everybody here is talking about him. Oh I wonder where did you hear about André Rieu, but just notice that he is a HOT topic of discussion. I bet your wives/girlfriends just love André Rieu and his music and that is why you are so mad at him. He plays a variety of music from the opera, operettas, movies, etc. and even composed numerous scores of music that is absolutely beautiful. Eat your heart out, André Rieu is well loved and adored all over the world and his fame is growing by the second… thanks to ALL of you who are discussing this wonderful and caring and magical musician. BRAVO ANDRÉ RIEU!!!!! Deirdré, lover of all classical music and great admirer of the present day ‘KING OF THE WALTZ~ ANDRÉ RIEU.

  36. Myra from Holland says:

    Hi everyone. First: nobody is forced to watched a tvchannel right? Most tv’s have an off button, and if it doesn’t, pull the plug out.
    And there is nothing wrong for not going to an educational museum and enjoy yourself in a rollercoasterthemepark every now and then right? And André Rieu is that themepark. Yes he has millions of fans, and yes, he is a huge commercial success. But that only means he is a good busisnessman. I know people in his orchestra, so i don’t make this up. I went to musicschool with some of them, and we stayed in touch. Yes, you get sacked when you don’t smile for at least 80% of the show, after 2 warnings. Every single musician and soloist is on camera the entire show, and it is in their contracts. And yes, it is true that a lot of his musicians play better than André. André uses the time on tour not for seeing the country bot for practising, and it is wellknown in his orchestra that the only reason he does so, is that otherwise, he can’t remember the melodies and makes mistakes. It’s ok to be not the best, his “charm” (sorry, it doesn’t work on me) works for him. Some say he doesn’t play for the money, if that was true, he would not ask so much for a seat, and certainly wouldn’t sell “vip-arrangements” for 500 euro a person (you get a picture and his autogram there…). I have no problem with that either, i like my job as well, but: it is my job, so i want money for it, like everybody else in this world.
    If you look at the tracklists of cd’s and dvd’s over the years, you will find lots and lots of the same songs over and over again. There is a reason why so many musicians do other things outside the orchestra as well: they need the challenge of doing something new. But it still sells, good marketingprogramm
    The problem i have with this man (and the reason i stopped going to his concerts and buying his cd’s years ago) is the fact that in several interviews on Dutch radio and tv, he admits that he simplifies the original arrangements a lot, because his audience isn’t intelligent enough to appreciate the original music. I think that is a huge insult of his audience. The “charming prince” with his “waving hair” (it has turned into a waving wig, he does get older you know) is looking down on his fans. The millions adoring him are in his own words: “not intelligent enough to appreciate the original music”. And i just can’t have any respect for a person, who speaks about his fans this way.

    • Inge Cossette says:

      I have never heard André talk about his audience like that, if he finds us not intelligent enough to appreciate the the music the way it is written, than he would be not any better than those guys who insult us the fans for having no taste or brain. Hope that is not true what you wrote, but if it is, I would like to hear it myself! He is in it for the money and why not??????? Besides do you know one artist who´s success did not go in his head??? It is human .

      • I think you are beginning to get it! Rieu says with his simplistic stomping sledgehammer arrangements that he thinks his audience doesn’t get the music he plays in its real richness, so he has to dumb it down for them. You don’t actually need to hear him say that – just listen to some of the stuff and then listen to some of the “real” stuff, as in the links I just posted.

      • Myra from Holland says:

        It was on Dutch radio a few weeks ago as well. The journalist asked: why do you change the original arrangements so much? His reply: because my audience doesn’t have the faintest idea of real classical music, so i have to make it more understandable for them.
        And as that is not the first time he says things like this about his audience, i lost my respect for him.
        Sometimes i do see a concert on tv, but since i know how he feels about his audience, and know what goes on backstage, i don’t enjoy them as much as i did in the past.
        I’m not jealous about his commercial success, i have a well payed job and i am happy with it. And i know lots of orchestraleaders that act different on stage and backstage, but he is the only one that talks about his fans this way. Most of them say, when we rehearse a new and difficult piece, “maybe the audience doesn’t know this piece, maybe some of them don’t appreciate it yet, but if only one feels it’s beauty we have won another soul”. And to be honest: I think that lots of his fans would really appreciate the real thing, i think most of them are very capable of seeing the beauty in it, and maybe a few aren’t capable of that, but they will love it because their idol plays it. So there is not really a need for him to do so, is there?

        • Myra – I’d be interested to know if it would be difficult for members of Andre Rieu’s orchestra to fund employment with other orchestras afterwards. Are they tainted by association? Does this explain why they stick with him?

          • Myra from Holland says:

            I don’t know why some of them stay there, I do know musicians who got fed up with doing the same trick over and over again and left, and i know it is forbidden to mention their names during rehearsals. I do know he pays very well, books the best hotels there are, and pay fully for childcare, where most bosses pay nothing more than is obliged by law (about 33% of the costs of childcare that is). So if you don’t mind playing the same thing over and over again, or you use your spare time to make your own music, or you just love to travel like a vip and see all the beautiful things the world has to offer, well, there is no need to go away from one of the best paying orchestra’s is there? Wouldn’t be my choice, in fact, i refused the job he offered me 3 years ago.

          • Myra from Holland says:

            O, and no, most orchestra’s here in Holland don’t care where you played before, you just apply, play something, and you get hired or not because of what you can.

        • Thanks for replying to all my questions. I have just one more on behalf of my brother ( I mentioned this all to him because I’ve found it all both funny and sad at the same time). He said my niece wrote a letter to her favourite couple in the orchestra (jet gelens and tom Maessen – spelling?!). She used her best joined up handwriting, but no reply! Do you know if they do reply? He said she had stopped checking the mail everyday, but still asks about it.

          • Myra from Holland says:

            Most of them don’t reply. It’s very rare if you write to someone and get an answer, and even rarer if that answer contains more than : ” thank you for your letter/mail, unfortunately we are/i am very busy so we/i don’t have time to reply to all the post. ”
            Sometimes (if you are lucky) you get an autogram. Reason: Rieu doesn’t like to be bothered by fans. You see that during the concerts in his hometown Maastricht: you never get to meet him (unless you have that 500Euro Vipcard). It’s a pity. I know my friends at the orchestra do reply, and some of them send autogrampictures with that reply, but you can understand i can’t mention their names. I shared some inside information, and if Rieu finds out they are in trouble, and i don’t want that for them. Some of the orchestra love the fans, and take time for them, and don’t care if there is an official meet&greet or not, they like to have a short chat and a picture, give autograms and all stuff. I’m very sorry for her. Maybe she does get a reply, sometimes they are very busy, and she’s probably not the only one writing them, but it can takes several weeks. If she is still young (sounds like it because she worked hard on nice writing) you could try ask it over his official website under “contact”. Mostly, you get a reply over there in less then 4 hours, if it is the desired answer i can’t promise… Give your cousin a hug ok?

    • Quote: “Yes, you get sacked when you don’t smile for at least 80% of the show, after 2 warnings.”

      Let’s hope no symphony orchestra managers are reading this blog, they might get ideas for their next contract negotiations.
      Also, how do you smile if you are playing a woodwind or brass instrument? Or maybe they are exempt?

  37. Wilbert young says:

    at least his fans are hilarious, take a look at this:

    Suzanne Berry And how lucky for all of you with Sky Arts !! Two weeks of André and his music!!
    Friday at 23:42 · 4

    Edwina Morgan OMG!! Some of these people just don’t know how pathetic they sound, they must live a miserable life especially when they are complaining about people who smile and enjoy what they do!
    Friday at 23:44 · 3

    Suzanne Berry Wasn’t it really shocking, yet interesting to see so many of them that think that way ME?
    Friday at 23:46 · 2

    Patricia Rigby sados
    Friday at 23:46 · 2

    Julia Smith Snobbery at its worst. No wonder Andre has no time for them. How far up their own butts they are! As far as I’m concerned, their opinion means diddly squat, and I will never give up listening to Andre and the JSO. Roll on Maastricht!!
    Friday at 23:51 · 5

    Susan Ham I read a few of the comments. Seems to me they are total philistines and just want to have their preferences aired. We can’t ALL love the same kind of music. I particularly disliked the reference to Andre being a circus act. Phooey!
    Friday at 23:52 · 5

    [redacted,90% too long]

    • Millions of us…a few of you how can we be all wrong

      • Myra from Holland says:

        Nobody says you are wrong. Millions like McDonald’s, a few like haute cuisine… doesn’t mean McDonald’s serve better food, or that McD is healthier does it? No wrong or right about taste in my opinion. If it makes you happy: go eat there. Just don’t compare a hamburger with tournedos ;)

      • So let’s all eat shit! Millions of flies eat shit. How can millions of flies be wrong?

        • Martin Locher says:

          Although I agree Rieu’s music is shit, I think comparing people who attend Rieu concerts with animals is taking it a step too far.

          And talking of shit: According to a certain video ( watch people watching it here: ) some people find joy in eating shit, so surely we can accept that people listen to shit music.

          Shit happens. Mabye I should have used some synonyms, but I’m lazy as shit.

          • What my comment means is not that “people are animals” or even that Rieu’s stuff is “shit” (which I actually think it is). What it meant is that only because a lot of people like something, that doesn’t make it great. Or do you think that McDonald’s is great, healthy food?

            Did I *really* have to explain that!?!

          • Martin Locher says:

            I saw a slight implication, but I have a very imaginative mind, so maybe it’s just me. Also some other comments – not by you – making me feel.that some people here see Rieu fans as a kinds of human scum which should be extinguished. In addition to that and most impotantly, I actually just tried to be funny.

            On a more serious note: McDonalds is successful, Rieu is successful. That’s great, especially for those who profit. Not so great for those who try to feed people healthy or entertain the crowd by actually playing music well.

            Saying that a question comes to my mind: Are there concert venues which offer food menus, which fit the concert program? I.e. Swedish food when music by a Swedish composer is played? I ask that because I have yet to set foot into any of my current or former local venue’s restaurants.

      • Derek Castle says:

        Millions of ‘baptized’ Catholics, millions of Americans who want to own a gun…… can they all be wrong? (Not to mention rather a lot of Germans in 1939)

  38. The more mindless the entertainment, the greater the number of its fans – this is the way it has always been and i see no reason for this equation to be changed, ever. This is true not only of music but of other arts as well, and no discussion, however heated or polite, can alter that fact. The listeners who are fortunate to have the ability to truly appreciate classical music will always know the real value of dumbed-down easy-listening stuff offered by the likes of AR. And those whose entertainment needs are satisfied by his shows will never understand the difference. The number of people who may learn to become true classical music aficionados as a result of seeing his “performances” is so miniscule, if such conversions exist at all, that it does not come close to justifying the violence that he perpetrates against the fine art of classical music.

  39. Oh my. What an interesting phenomenon this classical crossover fan worship is.

    I was partially joking about Rieu being the new Jackie Evancho here, but it’s true. The same types of comments. The same over the top responses. The same anger that some people may wish their performer well but don’t enjoy the music. They saved people’s lives with their music! They are the best EVER! They make us HAPPY!

    Insert any other classical crossover singer, I suspect, and you would see the same comments.

    Now, read the comments made about Justin Bieber and other bubblegum pop idols. They are shockingly very similar.

    Does ignorance of more complex music cause this sort of thing?

  40. I think the anger can be explained by the concept of cognitive dissonance. This is the idea that having to hold contradictory ideas about something is stressful and upsetting For example, someone might really like Andre rieu, but at the same time realise that he is ripping them off (by releasing albums of film music that are available.on other albums already or paying good money for a brand new UK tour that is in fact a retrospective of the previous 25 years and not new at all). One way to cope with this stress is to reject all negative information very strongly…

    If I sound a little angry, it’s because I spent rather a lot taking my 6 year old niece to the O2 arena recently. I was expecting a McDonalds/ theme park/ kitsch Christmas experience, but I thought I would embrace this for her sake. She did really enjoy herself, especially when we went to.the front and some of the orchestra waved at her (the stage is really low, which was good for her, but rubbish for everyone sitting in untiered seating). I however hated it. I really wasn’t expectng to be bored by such a lacklustre show. Rieu has obviously realised people will pay lots without him providing any kind of visual show. His delivery of patter was wooden, slow and bored, plus he was openly rude to the audience (after the blue Danube, he snapped ” you can sit down now!” Also, was surprised by him introducing his south African soprano as a black diamond, but then several bits of the DVDs I’ve watched while babysitting my niece have made me uncomfortable.

  41. Virginia Baker says:

    I ama classical music fan and studied classical music throughout my childhood. I went to my first Andre Rieu concert in 1997 and have been every year since. I also go to other concerts. Most of the people who were playing with him in 1997 are still playing with him. Some of them have been offered fabulous positions elsewhere and have elected to stay with Rieu. Some perform elsewhere when not touring with him. Andre himself has said that he is not a virtuoso and yes, some of his orchestra members do play better than he does. They do simplify and shorten some pieces, but not for the audience, it’s for the orchestra. Not because they can’t play the original, but because of rehearsal time. He got permission from the Ravel estate to shorten the Bolero for his presentation.. Do I have criticisms? I do. But it’s a nice evening with people whom I have seen for years both in the audience and on stage. Sometimes it is over the top. Sometimes it’s too “sweet.” Going every year I so complain that they need to play something different. But it’s fun. And no matter what the arrangement his people do know how to play. He doesn’t like people to call it a “show.” But yes, that’s what it is. With people flying through the air and the pyrotechnics, it is a show. He wants people to call it a concert. But it is a fun evening catching up with audience members. What’s wrong with that? Yes, there are fans who think he’s God but I think that happens with any successful person. There are fans who don’t realize that this is a really big business and that it is run as such. They personalize it. Decisions are made for business reasons not to please particular fans. Some of it now seems quite “canned.” Personally, I am disappointed that they didn’t put more time into more variety over the years but in the end it’s a fun evening. You like some of it and the rest is okay. Commenters seem to feel that it’s impossible to like both classical concerts and Rieu concerts. Well, I like both.

    • richardcarlisle says:


      You describe a social aspect to Rieu concerts where something akin to a wedding reception climate exists, a merit unrelated to musicality but an interesting reason to attend.

      • virginia baker says:

        You are correct. I don’t go only for music. I go for the experience’ music+.

        • richardcarlisle says:

          Aha– the remedy is obvious and my ticket order is in…

          I, and everyone on this thread can attend a Rieu concert and have a truly hilarious, festive, incomparably memorable, life-completing, not-to-be-missed — oh, who could describe it — WHATEVER…


          • But, as someone who has experienced this gilded turf, you don’t get that. At least, not on the night. I saw. If the smiling for 80% of the time rule is true, then there will be some new faces in his orchestra soon because they all looked bored and fed up. It was not entertaining. It was predictable and tired.

    • If his musicians really are that good – and I have no doubt they are as there are plenty of highly trained musicians around who can’t get a steady job in a decent orchestra as there are simply too many competing for those jobs – then it doesn’t make sense that he would have to shorten the pieces so they need fewer rehearsals. They wouldn’t. And he doesn’t just shorten the pieces. He totally dumbs them down. I actually just inflicted his “Bolero” on myself on Youtube – he totally destroys that piece. But hey, the audience did seem to like it! Good for them. I still think it’s terrible. Music can be so much more than this lowest common denominator crap. And I am not saying lofty, arty, esoteric. Great music can be simple, light, entertaining. But this is on the borderline of what I would even consider real music.

      • Bolero was a “highlight” of the concert I saw! Because it came with some nice visuals behind them that a sixthformer did on work experience with PowerPoint.

      • Also, I have no problem understanding why the musicians work for him. It’s a tough industry and Rieu seems to pay well. Do struggle to understand why some of them let their children be exploited by him too though.

    • Inge Cossette says:

      You said it all Virginia!

  42. Kirsty beckwith says:

    have never seen such a bunch of narrow minded egotistical people. I am an atheist…however I do not go round telling people they are stupid for believing in god….I just believe what I believe and if being religious makes someone happy then I am happy for them. I am however appalled at the attitude of grown adults here. I have sat back and tried to ignore and try not to fuel the fire..but when I see that someone that despises what andre is and stands for..but however goes on to a facebook page and likes the page only to gain comments and then to be a bully and to ridicule their comments..I can not stand back. So what if he shortens the music..So What! U don’t have to turn to arts Chanel on and watch …u dont have to pay to go to a concert..u don’t have to do anything u don’t want to son can’t make me like pitbull..but I don’t call him and idiot or worse..I just respect we have different tastes. I think this thread has got out out of hand and amoderator should be stepping in…I am soo glad I don’t have to mix with music snobs such as yourselves….like what u like let us like what we like….we r doing u no harm however from what I am reading you insolent bunch of people are doing some others harm…how dare you all say that we unintelligent for listening to andre..maybe for some it’s the first introduction to classical pieces and has opened a door to presume to know that all andre fans ae “thick macdonalds eaters”. Take a good look at all the comments here and ask yourself am I being rude and would I say this to a persons face..rather than just typing shit and hatred Onto a computer very bravely! Please can a moderator step in and remove all of these vemently made comments! It is a outrageous!

    • It is evident that Mr Rieu arouses strong feelings from adherents and disparagers. We ask commenters to keep their contributions within the bounds of common courtesy. Mr Rieu is a musician who performs an honest job. He does not claim to be anything he is not. Please respect his craft when passing comment. NL

      • Thanks to this thread, I’ve just looked up André Rieu on YouTube for the first time. What a [redacted]

    • Inge Cossette says:

      Kirsty you said it all, do not mind if they do not care for André Rieu, only that they think they had the right to insult the audience who loves what he does being brain less and have no understanding of music, that bothered me, but as Deirdre said, it was also fun to read that some people are so enthusiastic to get across how intelligent they think they are and that they have to give lessons to us stupid ones.

  43. Paul D. Sullivan, Boston US says:

    Oh my Norman!

    Seems you’ve opened another can of worms with this post! Views here, for the most part, seem as polarized as the current U.S. congress, and like a good politician, I shall say “no comment”.

  44. Dear friends?

    I had such fun reading all the comments and at times nearly laughed my head off. You have all been quite entertaining and that because of the man I adore, André Rieu. I love classical music and I also love listening to André Rieu and attending his concerts. I am so glad that I live in the same era as he~MAGICAL!!!!!! I love and adore André and his music, his orchestra and soloists.In short ~ I LOVE ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING ANDRÉ RIEU!! I will love you and leave you, I had fun.

    Deirdré Krüger signing off ~ happily married wife and mother of two sons (South Africa)

    *La vie est belle ~ Life is beautiful!!!! THANK YOU ANDRÉ RIEU, YOUR CONCERTS ARE MAGICAL!!!!

    • richardcarlisle says:

      Coulldn’t agree more Andre is a great magician, only one able to make music disappear with a full orchestra.

    • Deirdre’ ~ you go girl! thank you for your very noble response. I’m in total agreement with you. To those of you who disagree with us, can you please be civil?

    • Derek Castle says:

      Yes, Deirdre. Similarly, the vast majority of attendants at Barry Manilow and Liberace concerts, clairvoyants’ evenings and religious services (certainly in Europe) are/were women. Are they therefore more gullible, less sceptical? Are they looking for a saviour for their hearts and souls?

      • And most of the murderers, rapists and war mongerers are the same gender as you and I, Derek, so I don’t think we want to go down that route, do you?

        • Derek Castle says:

          Yes, Jack, but I don’t get your point. All I was trying to suggest was that women seem more prepared to listen to someone and be convinced by what they are saying. They’ll make that leap of faith.

          • Ok. I suppose that’s a positive spin on it as a leap of faith could be good or bad. I was concerned about going down the “let’s blame this whole mess on one gender” route, when I think we have more to answer to on that front. Personally, don’t understand Rieu’s popularity with anyone as he seems like a smarmy, second-hand car salesman with a bit of eurotrash thrown in.

          • Derek Castle says:

            Jack, slightly off the point, but I think there are several things ‘one gender’, i.e. men, can be blamed for. I can’t remember many women in Hitler’s and Stalin’s ‘cabinets’, just as there aren’t many men calling for gender equality in the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches. And we hypocritically complain about the medieval attitude towards women in Pakistan et al.!

  45. richardcarlisle says:

    OK, I invested some time watching the Bolero youtube by Andre –last year’s version– and I have to admit it was no worse than a high school orchestra that I haven’t recovered from after ten years… and this suggests a boon for high school orchestras that could announce performance schedules in THE STYLE OF ANDRE RIEU… high schools can use easily earned funds that all Andre lovers would gladly contribute knowing they’re about to be entertained in such a royal manner.

    Hoping this plan will assist in financing our high schools I would also suggest a way of precluding the oft-stated complaints of Rieu audience members that may dislike his performance after being led there by a faithful fan with a special hearing condition able to enhance what AR..generates.

    So, why not a hearing tolerance test before entry to one of the majestic AR performances… certainly a harmonized recording of appropriate sounds including fingernails on a blackboard with donkey braying background would serve perfectly to assure the kind of hearing sensibility appropriate for unbounded enjoyment of Andre’s concert and it wouldn’t be any more a violation of human rights than the height measurement scale used for screening young candidates for dangerous amusement rides.

    A bit over the top perhaps, but then how do you describe a capacity to enjoy the “music” from the wonderful Mr. Rieu… no need to be unpleasant, just expressing a state of wonder.

  46. For the most part, you seem to be a rather rude, egotisical lot. What happened to the civilized society we once lived in? Maybe those of you that don’t seem to have any manners as well as commen sense never had it all, therefore don’t know any better. Andre Rieu has done much for both rhe musical community as well as humanity in general. Turn your tv’s off if it is botheting you. I don’t watch what I don’t want one is forcing you too. Meanwhile you people need to get a grip and get on with your lives. Get out and do some work for charity…help someone out…it would do you a bit of good and you might find there is more to life than complaining of others.

    • richardcarlisle says:


      It is likely a first in all of cultural history that something the quality of Rieu’s performances has become this popular… it is a thing of wonder– not to complain– just to wonder… aren’t you the one complaining?

  47. Myra from Holland says:

    No need to get nasty at each other. Some like his music, some don’t. What happened to tolerance? And for one thing i admire Rieu, and that is his entrepreneurship. He knows how to get things done to make it a happy night for the audience. And if you just want to have fun, it is good. If you go to the concert for the original viennese music, than you don’t have a great night there, and you could better go to another orchestra. They don’t balance instruments on their chin, or throw balloons (well sometimes the viennese newyear’s concert has balloons, ok, bad example :-) ), but they play the music. It is just a matter of taste: what do you like, what do you want. I saw people leaving halfway a concert, saying he was killing the music, but at least they tried it. I was backstage after a concert, and heard musicians say: “well, that’s done again” with a look as if they had the worst night of their lives, and i also saw the opposite: people completely overwhelmed and crying for joy, and musicians who said afterwards: “did you see that old lady on the first row, how she glowed?” and they found reward in making people happy. For some it is just a job. André asked me once how i liked the concert, and ignores me ever since i gave him my honest reply: “the show was great, but i hated the way you played the music”. Yes, i still pick up my friends after rehearsal, or after a hometown concert, i’m not banned from his holy grounds, but he never asks me my opinion again. But it is all a matter of taste, books, music, arts, food, and it is all not worth fighting over, nobody harms me when they love tolstoj over a candlelightpocket, or french fries over some excuise high cuisine, or Mondriaan over Van Gogh, or Rieu over Yo-Yo Ma… it’s just not worth to start worldwar 3 over it,

    • Paul D. Sullivan, Boston US says:


      Thanks for decent comment without excessive puffery either way. I took my elderly mom to see Rieu about 11 years ago at Symphony Hall when he and is orchestra passed through for a night. She had such a wonderful time and I found it entertaining. Not the best playing or arrangements, but still I enjoyed it quite a bit. Rieu and his band provide an evening of enjoyable entertainment for diehard fans and those of us who long for a bit of the light classics that have all but disappeared from the concert stage, supplanted by endless repetitions of Beethoven, Mahler, Brahms, Schubert, etc.

      I have finally come to the realization that while I have heard all of Beethoven’s symphonies many, many times, along with the others mentioned above, I will never hear a Strauss waltz, a Suppe or Offenbach overture, Delibe’s ballet music, Herold, Paganini, Ketelby, Gliere, a Dvorak Slavonic dance, Rodrigo, Enescu, Sullivan, Lehar or any other of the many composers who’s once popular music seems to have been deemed not worth playing here in Boston by the BSO (at least not in the past 15 years) or any other orchestra major (or minor) in my area, and I think that’s very sad indeed :(

      • Derek Castle says:

        Paul, I agree entirely. We are lucky here in Birmingham, England, that the CBSO offers a very varied programme over the year. Lots of serious stuff (Mahler, Bruckner, all the Beethoven symphonies, Steve Reich is coming, Wagner operas in concert…..) but there is also the odd ‘light’ programme, April, John Wilson conducts short pieces by Walton, Coates, Sullivan, Elgar, Grainger, Farnon…..A concert called ‘Hollywood’s Leading Ladies’ with the excellent Kim Criswell singing hits from Judy Garland, Liza Minelli, Barbra Steisand, etc. Wasn’t there something called the ‘Boston Pops’ years ago?

        • Paul D. Sullivan, Boston US says:


          Your lucky indeed to have a varied selection. The POPs are still doing about 22 concerts in May and June, but it’s all Broadway and singers. They haven’t played any light classics for years. Williams does come in for a week and at least does some orchestral movie stuff, mostly his own, but I’ve heard it many times also. Light classics started to disappear after Fiedler passed in 1979, it was Williams that started moving to Broadway and movie music, Now that’s all there is. I still attend, but mainly it’s because I like going to the hall.

  48. Reggie Benstein says:

    Andre Rieu falls under the same category as framed IKEA posters on walls, commercial white bread, Cadbury ‘chocolate’ and Harlequin romances.
    While it may charm and satisfy some, I can guarantee that any musician or discerning listener can only be offended or bored by the something so devoid of any real emotion or feeling. Being subjected to this kind of banality is a type of (mild) torture … and I’m not joking.

    Salon music such as the type Rieu markets can be done well. It can be light entertainment and at the same time performed at a high level. What raises the vitriol of his critics has more to do with the people who continue to support and accept such mediocrity, whether in their taste in performers, food, clothing or what not, as it crowds out the real stuff.

    If this insults a particular reader, then perhaps it’s time to delve a little deeper into what the criticism is about. Challenge is always good. Being told to shut up or turn the channel is a cop-out.

    • richardcarlisle says:


      Just as you would hate seeing your children polluted by drug addiction anyone familiar with fine music feels offended if it becomes corrupted and someone profits in corrupting it… Strauss waltzes are fair game tor the Rieu treatment but to witness the Bolero transformed to a cultural Hiroshima is a step beyond.

      It is unlikely he will attack the major violin concerti from Beethoven, Mendelssohn and many others; a dreadful thought, an improbable calamity.

      Yes, let them enjoy Andre’s showmanship (we’ll never know if the happy old lady in the front had her hearing aid turned on); the visual with dozens of bridesmaid-outfitted performers is impressive as it is inappropriate, the other visual effects (his electric hair) enjoyable to some while offensive to traditionalists.

      My fervent hope is the avoidance of further cultural devastation; the finest classics have survived many generations and must be allowed to continue their priceless existence.

      • Derek Castle says:

        Richard, couldn’t have put it better myself. Barrel-organs in the street used to play Verdi tunes in my childhood, but that was harmless compared with the mass pollution that Sky Arts (what arts?) is about to perpetrate…..with our money!

      • Myra from Holland says:

        Richard, you can relax: my 2 year old daughter is allowed to come with me with rehearsals, so she knows the real thing already. I nearly choked laughing when she heard Rieu on radio playing the Bolero and told me: mummy, he’s doing it wrong.
        Now how cute is that?

        • richardcarlisle says:


          A sensational youtube: your daughter presenting a brief lecture on the musicianship of Mr. Rieu with his disastrous Bolero for background.

          A two-year-old realizing what millions of adults are missing — how stunning!

          • Myra from Holland says:

            Well, she heard mummy and mums collegues rehearse the “real” thing for a week and i guess growing up between instruments develops her hearingskills. She just missed “something” in it. Pity i don’t tape her every second she is awake, would have been a great link to put as a comment on his facebook lol. When i see her enjoying music in her own way (she is allowed to “play” piano, or drums, or harp,or guitar after rehearsal and she loves everything), and yes, i realise i’m just a proud mum, i sometimes think she’s gonna be a great musician (or maybe a great critic lol). But the fact that she noticed there was something different was just too cute. And of course, for a 2-year old, mummy does it right (ahem), so anyone doing it different is wrong lol

  49. Norman, I counted 131 comments (not including this one). Is that a Slipped Disc record?

  50. richardcarlisle says:

    I would summarize: the moment anyone waves a flag for Mr. Rieu the flag of musical literacy sags at half-mast… the ripple effect of culture corruption spreads endlessly in time and distance causing resistance in our fight against vulgarity on all fronts.

    Fine things lifting everyone spiritually and intellectually when well kept are as eventful as the same things originally created, doomed to non-existence with the lack of either force.

    If one Rieu fan looks to brighter cultural horizons as a result of this thread it makes the words not wasted.

    • What would you recommend to rehabilitate 6, 3 and 1 year old Rieu fans? One of them went through an Oystein Baadsvik phase. They also like the carnival of the animals cd.

      • Jack: My suggestion – Nigel Kennedy…

      • richardcarlisle says:


        Of course Myra’s daughter will set straight anyone in her age group and as she advances in age she might solve the entire AR problem… her mother will give her every encouragement I’m sure.

        A shame we have no cure currently for millions of adults suffering “distorted music adoration syndrome”… at least for them it’s a pleasant affliction.

        • Myra from Holland says:

          LOL, would be great if she did haha. Pretty sure that if she starts playing an instrument for real she will find her way in musicland. Although her daddy is not a musician at all, he teaches maths, so it is also possible she only will play for a hobby…. most important to me: she enjoys it! (and i would love her just as much if she wouldn’t be able to hear the difference between 2 ways of making music. She’s my daughter! I would love her just as much as she couldn’t hear the difference between a violin and a whining dog!

          • richardcarlisle says:


            Your daughter will enjoy reading these comments some day… but a whining dog — in the right key — a thought to ponder: imagine draping it in a bridesmaid costume, on stage harmonizing with the maestro on violin– might make him sound better in contrast… no guarantee there… but at least “That’s Entertainment” I could relish.

          • Myra from Holland says:

            LOL! i can see the image, not hard to visualise… and it sure will be entertaining!

      • William Safford says:

        How to rehabilitate “6, 3 and 1 year old Rieu fans,” one of them who went through an Oystein Baadsvik phase?



        • Myra from Holland says:

          Well, you have to admit: that is musical art! At least it is to me. I really enjoyed the clip. Pretty cool what this man can do with his tuba. I haven’t seen other work from this guy, but i like the originallity he shows in this clip. I will share the link with my tuba-playing collegues, wonder if any of them could do this as well… Great, thanks for sharing!

          • William Safford says:

            I like his recording of the Kalevi Aho tuba concerto. It’s a fine performance of an interesting piece.

            I’m also partial to the paired work, the Aho Contrabassoon concerto, performed by Lew Lipnick, who was mentioned on Slipped Disc a couple times last year.

          • Michael says:

            I had no idea there is a contrabassoon concerto by Aho – definitely have to check that out.

          • William Safford says:

            The Aho contrabassoon concerto is excellent. I would like it as an orchestral work even if it weren’t a concerto.

            It is virtuosic. It puts such demands on both the instrument and the player that it is unplayable on a standard contrabassoon. It fully exploits recent innovations in the contra world, which means it needs to be performed on either a Fast-system Fox contra (used on the recording) or a Wolf Contraforte.

            I doubt we’ll ever hear a contrabassoon solo in an Andre Rieu concert. :-)

  51. Kirsty beckwith says:

    I have been to see a few operas in my time thankyou..and the fact that my daughter is in the chorus for carmen this coming weekend at the Ipswich regent rather says it all. Please don’t try to tell me about things I am well educated on. What I am saying is that I have a good mix of taste when it comes to music and seeing andre live is a fantastic night and one we can afford as a son will not get to see carmen this weekend as he is skiing but he did come to see he sister when she was in turnadot! I do know these of seats, I have looks many a time..please go look yourself!

  52. Kirsty beckwith says:

    Reiner I think u need to re-read what I have written there is some opera music within his show, there is also some fun music, there is also some spectacular light shows…it is after all a show…I am not stupid so please do not talk to me as though I am..I do know that a man playing waltzes on a violin is not opera..duh…but I do think that some of the songs that are sung by amazing operatic singers such as , Nessus dorma or habanera is a form of operatic singing…I have never once said seeing andre rieu is like seeing an opera…I happen to know the difference…and the fact that you hope he brings me joy is supposed to be condescending..however it is not..seeing andre and jso performing does bring me joy and most of all brings joy to my children..if u wish to be so bitter so be it…I’m happy u seem not so happy ….who is the fool?

  53. Derek Castle says:

    Kirsty, keep your hair on! Just continue to pay good money to hear ‘great opera singers’ sing ‘Nessun Dorma’ again…….and again, and again, plus the three Chinese tenors (do you take food with you?), and leave us ‘condescending snobs’ to do our thing. But you must admit that non-stop Maestro Rieu on Sky Arts 2 is asking rather a lot of even the most devoted fan.

  54. Kirsty beckwith says:

    It doesn’t bother me that andre is on arts for 2weeks…I have a rather interesting social life so don’t need to sit for 24 hours a day I front of a tv…I may watch/listen to some of it..I don’t know….it doesn’t boher me if u or anyone else dislikes what andre stands for..what I do dislike is being bullied and being mimicked in the way that some of these people have been doing…it’s disgraceful!

  55. Derek Castle says:

    Dear Kirsty, I feel you are reaching boiling-point……not good for the brain you must preserve to get the most from the maestro’s next concert. May I also humbly suggest a brief course in the use of a keyboard; these are sometimes free at your local library.

  56. Kirsty beckwith says:

    Reiner please, as said before and ill say it what I have written. You were being rude to me..I only did as my mum told me…if someone’s being mean to you don’t just stand there and take it stand up for yourself…I did not call you a fool personally I was stating that I am happy for seeing andre and jso…I also did not wish u unhappiness…and tbh u only have to read all the hideous remarks to myself and others on here that support andre and you will see whom Normon Lebrecht is referring to…. I was the one asking for a moderator to step in after all.
    To Derek castle…sorry I don’t have a keyboard…I’m currently on an iPad ….. Not sure if you know what one is? I think if I were the moderator I would of blocked you by now. Some of the people (not all) that love andre Rieu’s music are quite elderly … I noted a few people at the dec concert that were just having a fantastic time and were up and dancing with walking sticks, and some being held by daughters or husbands and wives..simply beaming and so happy. They weren’t drooling over andre they were enjoying the entertainment with their loved ones..You might want to think before you so readily insult people as to how upsetting your words might be to some. I am a 40 year old woman who thoroughly enjoyed the concert along with my husband and daughter..I did not drool over andre and I am not upset or surprised by your comments..[redacted]

  57. Derek Castle says:

    Kirsty, please don’t leave this thread yet. Like your hero, Maestro Rieu, you have entertained thousands with your typos and occasional lapses into text-speak. A keyboard, in my vocabulary, is the thing you type your comments with, whether it’s on a phone, tablet or laptop. But my serious point is: Should we accept Sky – to which we subscribe(i.e. pay money) monthly – broadcasting 14 days of old Rieu concerts (or old Schubert/Beethoven), presumably on some kind of loop, without some kind of protest. We want variety!

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