classical music
contemporary classical

Covent Garden Sinfonia: Death and the Maiden

Part of Classical Season 2019/20

Sinister strings come to the fore in dark musical journeys by Philip Glass, Bernard Herrmann and Franz Schubert

Glass’ score to the 1931 film of Dracula joins one of the most infamous soundtracks of all time, Herrmann’s music for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror thriller Psycho.

Mahler’s transcription for string orchestra of Schubert’s dramatic D minor quartet of 1824, Death and the Maiden, completes a striking programme conducted by film score specialist Ben Palmer.

Made famous by the terrifying stabbing music accompanying the notorious shower scene, Herrmann’s soundtrack for Psycho was written for strings rather than full symphonic forces, mirroring the black-and-white cinematography of the film. Hitchcock himself said that ‘33% of the effect of Psycho was due to the music.’

1931’s Dracula, directed by Tod Browning and starring Bela Lugosi, is still considered a definitive portrayal of the eponymous vampire. Philip Glass wrote his 1998 score for Dracula for the Kronos Quartet. Here it is expanded for string orchestra, with the addition of a piano, a part Glass played himself alongside the Kronos Quartet in live performances accompanying the film.

Though Mahler left what amounts to a complete arrangement of Schubert’s Death and the Maiden, he himself conducted only the second movement Andante con moto, at a concert in Hamburg in 1894.

His annotated score was given by the composer’s daughter to musicologist Donald Mitchell, who, together with composer David Matthews, created a performing edition of the full work.


Covent Garden Sinfonia
Ben Palmer conductor


Philip Glass: Dracula Suite
Herrmann: Suite from Psycho
Schubert: String Quartet in D minor, D.810 (Death and the Maiden) arr. Mahler

Dates & times

4 May 2020
Approximate run time: 115 mins
Run times may vary, find out more


Purcell Room


£15 - £20
Booking fee: £3.00 (Members £0.00)
£15, £20


25% off (limited availability)
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need to know

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