The case of the missing Master

The case of the missing Master


norman lebrecht

April 29, 2011

Far be it from this space to cavil at the power and the glory that was the Royal Wedding. 

The event was immaculate and uplifting, every component came in on cue, the chorus and musicians were outstanding and no-one left the Abbey or their living-room unmoved. And that’s before we even got to the street parties.

During the course of the ceremony I wondered what had happened to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Max holds the title of Master of the Queen’s Musick, a role that goes back to the 14th century and was formalised by Charles I in 1626. The sole duty of the title holder in modern times is to write music for royal occasions.
Yet nobody asked Max for a piece. Late in the day, they included two early works of his in the warm-ups, as guests were arriving in the Abbey. Max sat out the ceremony on his island fortress in the Orkneys, I’m told. He told the Telegraph he didn’t mind all that much not being asked to compose for the happy couple. 
But we should. If the Master doesn’t write for royal weddings, why keep the title? It should either be clarified for modern times or abolished as an anachronism. Don’t you think?


  • Peter says:

    since PMD had said he didn’t want to acknowledge Remembrance Day (or wear a poppy) because this would ‘legitimise’ the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts, it’s not surprising he wasn’t asked (after all the groom is in the military)