Tuesday, April 26, 2005

A musician with teeth:

It is great to see a Master of the Queen's Music with teeth. I have already posted about Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' highly commendable views on the negative impacts of 'TV culture' in my post More MaxOpus (See also the post about his excellent website MaxOpus) . Sir Peter expanded his views on the state of 'serious music' in the Royal Philharmonic Society's Annual Lecture given in the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London on Sunday night.

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Sir Peter Maxwell Davies who is advocating a commitment to new music

His theme was that to generate a thriving classical music culture three ingredients are needed; education, resources and new music. And his subtext was that all three ingredients are being neglected in 21st century Britain. This is really powerful, and essential, stuff. I get the clear feeling that in Sir Peter we seeing the emergence of more than a great composer. What we are seeing is the emergence of that rare, and so valuable, phenomena - a true renaissance man. The full text of his excellent lecture is available by opening this link. The role of Master of the Queen's Music has traditionally very much been an honorary one, and some of the more recent incumbents have left little mark. Just to remind us who they were here is the complete list (courtesy of Wikipaedia) which certainly contains some names unknown to me.......

Nicholas Lanier (1625-49 and 1660-66)
Louis Grabu (1666-74)
Nicholas Staggins (1674-1700)
John Eccles (1700-35)
Maurice Greene (1735-55)
William Boyce (1755-79)
John Stanley (1779-86)
William Parsons (1786-1817)
William Shield (1817-29)
Christian Kramer (1829-34)
Franz Cramer (1834-48)
George Frederick Anderson (1848-70)
William George Cusins (1870-93)
Walter Parratt (1893-1924)
Edward Elgar (1924-34)
Walford Davies (1934-41)
Arnold Bax (1942-52)
Arthur Bliss (1953-75)
Malcolm Williamson (1975-2003)
Peter Maxwell Davies (2004-2014 - meaning a ten year appopintment)

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The most famous Master of the Queen's Music - Sir Edward Elgar

In the lecture Max explains that his appointment was primarily to raise the profile of 'serious music,' and the traditional role of occassional royal music maker was strictly optional. It is good to see Max so energetically tackling the challenge of profile raising. (He marched at the anti-Iraq war demonstration in London last year, and he also composes some pretty damn good music as well).

On a lighter note it is good to see that the dislike of TV shared by Sir Peter and Pliable is spreading. There has been a fair amount of press coverage in the UK of TV-Turnoff Week and the TV-B-Gone device which switches off TVs in public places such as bars and restaurants. More power to you all, and let's finish with some words by others on television....

"Television is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to mthe same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome." T.S. Elliot

TV is a drug - a sedative that stops people causing trouble in the hours between work and sleep. - The Ecologist, May 2003

The methadone metronome pumping out
150 channels 24 hours a day
you can flip through all of them
and still there's nothing worth watching
T.V. is the reason why less than 10 per cent of our
Nation reads books daily
Why most people think Central America
means Kansas
Socialism means unamerican
and Apartheid is a new headache remedy-
Excerpt from lyrics to Television, the Drug of the Nation by the band Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy (which at least makes a change from linking to the Tallis Scholars)

All the above quotes courtesy of Malaysian Runner blog.

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