Letter: Musical dinosaurs
Thursday 20 May 1999
Sir: Cathedral choirs (report, 17 May; letters, 18, 19 May) are, despite their excellence, musical dinosaurs, just as the cathedrals themselves are musical museums. No major composer this century has written more than a handful of works for church use in any denomination. Even devout Christians like John Tavener and James MacMillan write music about the liturgy rather than for it.
There are something like 20 cathedral choral foundations in England, plus Oxbridge choirs, royal peculiars and the like: perhaps 30 choirs in all. At 18 trebles each, that's 500-600 children. We should concern ourselves much more with the musical education of the great mass of children who get nothing as our education system becomes absorbed in a monoculture of literacy.
Let the cathedrals moulder in their closes and let's all find more exciting things to do musically.
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