Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Composer Theft

Have any of you been following this story? Turns out that Peter Maxwell Davies, a wonderful English composer, has been swindled out of over $850,000 by his agent and manager of over 30 years, Michael Arnold, in order to sustain his gambling addiction. The story broke late last year, but in the past few weeks Arnold has admitted to the theft and received an 18 month jail sentence.

Who does this? Doesn't everyone know that contemporary composers are, by and large, not a rich group by any stretch of the imagination. The revelation comes on the heels of Terry Riley's website getting hacked. Who is attacking all the cool composers?

The one thing that gives me great joy in the entire episode is my learning that Max Davies is currently the Master of the Queen's Music. Why do I take such great joy in Davies having this position? Because he is perhaps best known for his Eight Songs for a Mad King in which King George III progressively descends into insanity, ultimately destroying a violin on stage. Perhaps that's why when he was appointed, they changed the position's tenure from life to ten years.

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