In praise of … a composer laureate | Editorial

Monarchical indifference has left what could be a useful national post – the master of the Queen's music – high and dry

Preparing to step down in March as master of the Queen's music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies has revealed that Elizabeth II dislikes dissonant music. On this, Her Majesty may speak for many of her subjects.

But the larger problem is that the Queen has not shown much evidence of liking music of any other kind either.

Although earlier royals have been musical (Henrys V and VIII both composed), recent sovereigns have had middle-of-the-road tastes. Monarchical indifference has left what could be a useful national post – the MQM – high and dry.

Things are unlikely to change either under Prince Charles, who is as reactionary about music as about architecture, or Prince William, of whose reign even David Starkey has exclaimed: "God help music, or indeed any of the rest of the arts."

The answer, perhaps, is to change the job description and have an annual composer laureate, open to musicians of all styles, dissonant included.

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