A false music headline

January 22, 2018 by norman lebrecht


Richard Morrison has published an interview in the Times this morning with Vladimir Jurowski, music director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (as well as orchestras in Moscow and Berlin, where he lives).

To give the thing a bit of zing, they slapped on a confrontational headline:

Vladimir Jurowski: The Russian conductor who’s rattling Simon Rattle’s cage

No part of this headline is true. Rattle is unbothered by Jurowski, who has been working in London for a decade. Jurowski says nothing in the piece to disturb or provoke any other conductor.

The LPO music director has no new ambitions for London and the South Bank, where he performs, is steadily losing audiences and relevance.

Morrison must know the headline is untrue. He did not write it. But the newspaper that published it is forever banging on about the evils of social media and fake news when its own editors knowingly promulgate falsehoods.

Headline on the top of the Times’s front page today:

Trust in social media hits record low amid fears over fake news

Comments (28)

  1. ED says:

    When SlippedDisc calls you out for writing a deceptive headline…

    1. Pete Parker says:

      Great comment Ed!!! Fell of chair laughing!!!

    2. harold braun says:

      My first thoughts as welll…

    3. John Kelly says:

      Best call of the year so far. I was about to take the pXXs myself……….

    4. Sir Kitt says:

      Absolutely. But…clickedy-clickedy-click-click-clicks. Damn it, he got me again.

    5. Bruce says:

      +100 (one for each such headline I’ve seen on here)

    6. Josh Williams says:

      So true!

    7. Been Here Before says:

      “It takes a thief to catch a thief.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

      1. Sue says:

        Hitchcock didn’t think so.

    8. Non-anon says:

      Oh the irony of being called out by Slipped Disc.

      I don’t know how it’s done in the UK, but in the US journalists generally have no say in how the headline’s written. That task assigned to an editor whose main purpose is to draw attention to the article – or “clicks” to the online version.

    9. steven holloway says:

      Thanks for saving me the trouble, Ed, with congrats on being the first of many.

    10. Sue says:

      “Carlos Kleiber not a Great Conductor”!!

    11. Dave Fox says:

      I suggest we all memorize the sentence:

      “No part of this headline is true.”

      And be prepared to recite it here should (when) the need arises.

      1. Bruce says:

        Agree. It’s the SD version of “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” 😀

    12. Gerhard says:

      I feel reminded about an old saying which involves a pot and a kettle …

    13. Saxon Broken says:

      I think you are being rather mean. Norma Lebrecht’s blog is meant to provoke, entertain, and inform. In that it succeeds: we are all here reading his blog, and writing comments, and I read the article only because Norman provided a link. The Times is a paper of record; something else entirely.

  2. LT says:

    Such unnecessary anger. An intelligent article( yes, with a provoking headline) about a highly intelligent artist and good orchestra confronted by a bitter blogger. Inappropriate.

    1. Sir Kitt says:

      Nailed it.

  3. Alex Davies says:

    That the Southbank Centre is losing audience figures may well be a statistically verifiable fact, but I don’t see how it is losing relevance. I went to many concerts in the series The Rest is Noise, and my only regret was not being able to go to all of them. The upcoming Stravinsky series mentioned in the interview is also something ambitious and, yes, relevant. The Southbank Centre continues to present performances by many of the great artists of our time. For example, it is the only venue where I know of Maurizio Pollini having performed recently, always to a sold-out hall.

    I’m not convinced about old halls having memories. Is there any scientific evidence for this possibility, e.g. through long-term effects upon the physical properties of the venue? Personally, I’d much rather hear a concert in a new hall with excellent acoustics than in an old venue with poor acoustics (probably my worst experience has been St Paul’s Cathedral, which is certainly not short on “memories”).

    1. Adrienne says:

      Exactly. “Relevance” is one of those fashionable words inserted into articles like this because simply saying “popular”, which is the real issue on the South Bank, does not sound sufficiently earnest.

      The RFH, refurbishment notwithstanding, is outdated, tired, and therefore unpopular.

      1. Alex Davies says:

        Architecturally, I find the Southbank Centre/BFI/National Theatre complex interesting, but acoustically I find the RFH somewhat disappointing.

  4. Knowing Clam says:

    Hi, pot, meet kettle.

  5. Petros Linardos says:

    “Trust in social media hits record low amid fears over fake news.” Indeed.

    Everyone has to check their facts prior to posting or publishing. Slipped Disc sometimes scrutinizes others, but has room for improvement in many of their own postings.

    1. Been Here Before says:

      The understatement of the year!

  6. C Porumbescu says:

    Yet Jurowski & the LPO are still the people to go for (in London) for genuinely interesting orchestral programmes. His tastes are wide-ranging: this is the band that regularly programmes Rebel, Penderecki, Denisov and Anders Hillborg, and who takes punts on rarities like Glazunov’s The Seasons and Marx’s Herbstsymphonie. The Rest is Noise and the current year-long Stravinsky season are big, bold ideas, well carried out.

    Rattle’s energy and ambition are certainly galvanising, but the LSO has a long tradition of conservative programing (despite the orchestra’s huge wealth) and you do slightly get the impression that (give or take the occasional high-profile, heavily PR’d events like the opening concert and the forthcoming Stockhausen Gruppen) he’s to some extent been manacled, and is just scrolling through his “greatest hits”.

    The truth of the matter is that neither is a rival to the other. Berlin could accommodate Rattle & Barenboim alongside each other for years; London – a larger and considerably more diverse city – can certainly accommodate two charismatic and inspiring major conductors.

    1. Alex Davies says:

      The recent UK premiere of Sylvestrov’s 3rd symphony (with erudite introduction by Jurowski) was a highlight.

  7. Furzwängler says:

    Headlines here or there, I thought Morrison’s interview with VJ was first rate.

  8. David Nice says:

    Slight tweak to last sentence: ‘But the website that published it is forever banging on about the evils of such things when its own editor knowingly promulgates falsehoods.’

    Richard Morrison always writes well. At least acknowledge that. And no, he had no control over the headline.

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