Letter: Mahler at the BBC

Sir: In his review of the BBC2 programme about Gustav Mahler ("Great composers? You bet!", 23 January), Robert Maycock suggests that two decades ago such a programme would have been unthinkable.

Three decades ago I wrote, presented and conducted the Philharmonia Orchestra in a BBC2 examination of Mahler's music under the title "The Vision of Gustav Mahler". It was one of the magnificent Workshop series which was such an imaginative feature of the first years of BBC2 under the guidance of Humphrey Burton.

Such programmes were not rarities; before the surrender to ratings it was quite usual for there to be two or three music programmes each week - operas, masterclasses, documentaries, recitals, films, interviews. The recent series, admirable though they were, were oases in a desert compared with the glorious landscape that BBC2 once presented.


London SE23