Top counter-terrorism officer tells music executives to take extra security measures in run-up to festival season
Music fans and nightclubbers could be the target of the next major terrorist attack in Britain, a top counter-terrorism officer has warned ahead of the country’s festival season.
Music executives were invited alongside Premier League football bosses to a recent anti-terrorism briefing at Wembley stadium to hear the warning from Neil Basu, deputy assistant commissioner with the Metropolitan police, who is in charge of the country’s protective security.
Many stadiums already have strict security measures in place to protect against the risk of terrorist attacks. But, Basu said in an interview with the Sunday Times, there were concerns over the risk to the night-time economy.
“I’d want to see the owners and event managers taking the same kind of security precautions,” he was quoted as saying.
Glastonbury, the world’s largest music festival, is expected to draw about 135,000 people to Worthy Farm in Somerset next month, with many more expected to fill parks and green spaces for music events throughout the summer.
But after the attacks in Paris last November, where terrorists attacked revellers on the streets and in a concert venue and attempted to bomb the Stade de France, Basu warned that crowded entertainment events were a priority for police.
“These people are perfectly happy to target civilians with the maximum terror impact,” he said. “Crowded places were always a concern for us, but now they are right at the top of the agenda.”
Stadiums and music events were particularly vulnerable due to the high concentrations of people, but music festivals were particularly hard to control and secure because of their larger perimeters, Basu said.
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, announced on Friday that he had launched a review of the capital’s ability to tackle a major terrorist incident that will investigate how emergency services would cope if extremists launched simultaneous attacks, such as those that hit Paris last year.
But elsewhere in the country, particularly in rural areas that host some of the country’s largest summer festivals, forces are warning they could be “sitting ducks” in the face of a terrorist attack as they wait for armed officers to arrive from as far as 70 miles away.
Meanwhile, the government’s overall counter-extremism strategy has been mired in controversy after it was suggested that it could actually fuel terrorism by alienating communities. A counter-extremism bill unveiled in the Queen’s speech has been criticised for failing to define extremism, while the police lead on anti-radicalisation has said government plans risk turning British officers into a “thought police”.
Glastonbury clashes with the referendum, but festival founder has plans to ensure visitors don’t miss out – and wants young people to vote to remain in EU
Michael Eavis, the Somerset farmer who runs the world’s biggest music festival, Glastonbury, has appealed to fans converging for this year’s event (from 22 to 26 June) to vote in the European Union referendum.
Eavis and his festival have been the subject of concern from some political quarters – notably former Labour leader Neil Kinnock – because the gates for Glastonbury open the day before the referendum on Thursday 23 June, with music under way on the Friday morning. Lord Kinnock, who became a European commissioner and was vice-president of the European commission until 2004, said it would be a shame if young people were “rocking instead of voting”.
The festival was arranged for its usual weekend, close to the summer solstice, long before the referendum date was chosen. “It has been like that for 47 years,” said Eavis. “Even Neil Kinnock should know that.”
He added: “The people coming to our festival have to make sure they vote. The result of this referendum strongly affects their future – it’s so important for them and they’ve got to ensure they’re part of it. I do believe that the kids who come here will want to be involved. We have said it until we’re blue in the face: if you come, vote.”
Eavis knows which box he would like voters to put their mark in. “It’s so important that we vote to remain in the EU,” he said. “They need to get out there, get stuck into this, and vote to stay part of Europe.”
There will not be a polling station at the festival, so Eavis and the festival organisers are strongly encouraging ticket holders to vote by post or by proxy if they plan to leave home before polling stations open.
“The show doesn’t start until Friday morning, so most people, coming after work on Thursday, have got a day,” said Eavis. “Many of the people travelling here on Thursday to catch the opening will have time to vote earlier in the day. But those coming from farther away will have to make other arrangements – and they need make sure to get their postal vote organised.”
As with every other year in the weeks before the festival, fences go up, stages are built and Worthy Farm’s rolling meadows become fields of scaffolding, cranes and bustle. And when it comes to voting in or out, Eavis has also addressed the matter of the “thousands of people who are already here getting the whole thing together”.
In Goose Hall, the pre-festival catering site for staff and crew, Eavis has set up an information desk to help people already on site to register for a postal vote – the deadline is 3 June – and get their votes into the mail. If they fail to do this, however, there is still hope.
“We’re going to need to organise buses to ship [those] people from here to the polls on referendum day, if they’re registered within reasonable reach of the site,” said Eavis. “That’s something we’re going to look at more closely. We’re going to do all we can to accommodate people needing assistance to vote.”
Eavis, the son of a Methodist minister, grew up on Worthy Farm. He was inspired to launch Glastonbury after going to the Bath music festival in 1970, where the line-up included Jefferson Airplane, the Byrds and Led Zeppelin. His first “Glastonbury Fair” brought David Bowie, Traffic, Hawkwind and other artists to the farm.
Since then, Eavis has become a national institution – and a local one. He is at ease in the town of Glastonbury, four miles from his Worthy Farm at Pilton, often calling at Knight’s Fish and Chips restaurant – regularly voted “best in the west” – opposite the festival office, for a chat with townsfolk and music fans.
Speaking of his own position on the referendum, and glad to urge his festival fans to agree with him, Eavis said: “I’m deeply for ‘In Europe’. In with both feet. It’s not for my sake – I’ve nearly finished; I’ve been on the go at this for 50 years – it’s for them.
“I think most people who come to our festival are reasonably intelligent. And as such, they must realise that our future must be part of this European ideal.
“I can understand the OAP – with a little house in Margate and a picture of the Queen on the mantelpiece – wanting to be little England again. I accept all that. But it’s the past: that’s just rainy old windswept Margate talking. This referendum is about the future, in which we have to be part of the bigger picture, a continent of opportunities, languages, colours, excitements and exchanges.”
With direct regard to the job he does for the rest of the year, Eavis added: “I also need to vote for Europe as a farmer. Farming would be dead in the water if we left the EU. We’d be flooded even more with rock-bottom cheap stuff from Singapore and all over. For farming, this is a serious moment.
“And my God, I need the Poles I have working here,” he added. “There are about six of them, and they’re fantastic. Up when we have to be at half-past three in the morning, on time, no problems, no fagging out in the barn. I don’t know what I’d do without them. No – we’ve got to vote, and we’ve got to stay in.”
The police commissioner blamed rap for a fatal shooting outside a TI concert – the sort of crime the ‘hip-hop squad’ would have been deployed to in the 90s
New York is the home of hip-hop, one of the most dominant cultural movements in America, but the head of the city’s police department has blamed rap music for a fatal shooting, sparking outrage from scholars and artists.
Crown Heights rapper Troy Ave has been charged with attempted murder for his role in a shooting at a TI concert in Manhattan on Wednesday night that left one person dead and three others injured, including the 30-year-old rapper, also known as Roland Collins.
The morning after the shooting at Irving Plaza, the NYPD commissioner, William Bratton, told the radio station WCBS-AM that rap lyrics, and the people who perform them, are responsible for violence in the industry.
“The crazy world of these so-called rap artists basically celebrates the violence,” Bratton said. “Unfortunately, that violence sometimes manifests itself in their performances and that’s exactly what happened last evening.”
Erik Nielson, an assistant professor at the University of Richmond who studies hip-hop, said Bratton’s comments were “antiquated”.
“It is really rooted in a pretty basic misunderstanding of the genre and it feels intended to place the blame on an artistic and cultural movement, rather than on systemic forces that, frankly, the NYPD has had a significant role in perpetuating,” Nielson said. He added that the NYPD is part of a broader institutional structure that has disenfranchised communities of color in the city.
The NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program notoriously targeted communities of color, as did the “broken windows” policing theory, pioneered by Bratton in his first run as NYPD commissioner from 1994 to 1996. There is also the department’s involvement in the deaths of unarmed black men.
In the past, the police department has specifically targeted the hip-hop scene, which was born in the south Bronx in the 1970s. The NYPD ran a special hip-hop intelligence unit for several years in the late 1990s to the early 2000s to monitor crimes in the community.
But the scholars and artists themselves contest the NYPD’s assumption that rap is more dangerous than any other genre of music.
“Go ask emergency room doctors, which they think are more dangerous, rap or EDM concerts?” Nielson said, referring to the drug deaths at electronic dance music festivals. “The answer will not be rap concerts.”
In fact, Nielson said, hip-hop culture was an outlet for those communities disproportionately affected by poverty and violence.
“In the 1970s, New York was overrun with violent street gangs, no matter what politicians did, no matter what the police did, the gangs remained pervasive and endured,” Nielson said. “Then came hip-hop,” which he said helped rescue community members.
TI, the headliner for Wednesday night’s show who didn’t get to perform, emphasized the importance of rap music while offering his condolences on Instagram to the victim’s family and those injured in the shooting.
“My heart is heavy today,” he said. “Our music is intended to save lives, like it has mine and many others.”
The hip-hop squad
The NYPD said Wednesday night’s shooting began outside a green room sparked by a dispute.
Ronald McPhatter, 33, was killed in the shooting and Collins was injured along with Christopher Vinson, 24, and Maggie Heckstall, 26.
This is the sort of crime the NYPD’s since-disbanded hip-hop intelligence unit would have been deployed for in the late 1990s and early 2000s, said the creator of the unit, Derrick Parker, a 20-year veteran of the NYPD.
Parker said the NYPD’s rap unit – known as the “hip-hop taskforce”, “hip-hop squad” and “rap intelligence unit” – was formed in 1999, sparked by a rise in violence in the hip-hop community. Before the unit was made official, Parker was the NYPD’s go-to for incidents that involved rap artists, like when Brooklyn-born rapper Notorious BIG was killed in Los Angeles in 1997.
Questions have been raised about whether the hip-hop taskforce was guilty of profiling and unfairly surveilling communities of color, which Parker disputes. “I don’t see it as profiling, I think it’s more or less, knowing a little about people who had violent tendencies in this community,” Parker said.
The NYPD, meanwhile, has never confirmed that the unit existed, though it said in 2004 that it had detectives who monitor the music industry after the Miami Herald reported that its police consulted the NYPD about rap violence.
Police would closely monitor those on the list when they made nightclub appearances or had concerts in the city, according to the Post’s anonymously sourced report. “The other part of it is, there’s a lot of really street-leaning gangster guys on the fringes of the industry … The police taskforce keeps tabs on who is around certain rappers and what movements they are going through,” one source said.
Parker said the rap surveillance unit has since been disbanded, though there are still officers monitoring shows and club nights. In 2014, the New York Post reported that the NYPD had a special watch-list of hip-hop artists including Drake, Chris Brown and Lil Wayne.
The New York police department did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
“I’m not trying to blame anyone else, but the management for Irving Plaza dropped the ball on this,” said Parker, who now works as a security consultant. “It looks like they were not prepared to deal with this, especially with the magnitude of the rappers they had.”
Live Nation did not respond to a request for comment and Irving Plaza said it was referring all inquiries to the NYPD.
Despite the alleged lapses in security at the venue, Bratton lamented that it was “the backgrounds of some of these people, unfortunately the lifestyles they led or had” that were more to blame.
“No question a lot of talented artists, enjoy the music,” Bratton said. “Music all too often celebrates violence, degradation of women and the drug culture. It’s unfortunate that some of them, as they get fame and fortune, cannot get out of the life.”
Daryl McDaniels, the DMC of Run-DMC, told the New York Daily News that Bratton “should have known better” than to pin the shooting on rap music.
“Violence is everywhere,” McDaniels said. “It existed long before rappers started portraying it in their music.”
McDaniels added that some artists need to take responsibility for violence in the community. McDaniels’s friend and fellow Run DMC member, Jason Mizell, also known as DJ Jam Master Jay, was shot and killed at a Queens music studio in 2002. The NYPD has not solved the murder.
“When we see the violence in our community, we’ve got to keep saying it’s wrong, it’s wrong, it’s wrong,” McDaniels said.
Casey Dienel, who records under the name White Hinterland, claims her riff was sampled without permission for the pair’s hit single
Justin Bieber and Skrillex are being sued by the indie artist Casey Dienel, according to reports by TMZ.
Dienel, who records under the name White Hinterland, claims the duo used one of her vocal loops without permission on their track Sorry. The eight-second snippet in question is used repeatedly through her 2014 song Ring the Bell. Dienel reportedly claims that the “unique characteristics of the female vocal riff” have been copied. According to TMZ, Bieber’s team received warnings not to use the part but ignored them.
Sorry was a huge hit for Skrillex and Bieber, topping the charts in several countries including the US and the UK. It has been streamed over 6.5m times on Spotify. Ring the Bell, meanwhile, is White Hinterland’s most popular song, with 500,000 streams on Spotify.
Other songwriters on the Bieber track – Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter and Michael Tucker – are reportedly included in the lawsuit.
Rapper Gucci Mane is released months early after serving sentences for aggravated assault and possession of a firearm
Gucci Mane has been released early from prison after serving a federal firearms sentence.
The 36-year-old rapper was due to be released in September but secured an early release after his lawyer, Drew Findling, filed a series of motions claiming that he hadn’t received credit for previous time served.
Mane, whose real name is Radric Davis, had been imprisoned in the Federal Correctional Institution in Terre Haute, Indiana. In 2014 he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for attacking a fan at an Atlanta nightclub. He was handed a sentence that ran concurrently with a 39-month federal sentence for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
According to Findling: “The original computation didn’t give him that credit. We had to file a series of motions. Ultimately, the judge signed an order acknowledging he was entitled to that credit. Then the bureau of prison immediately gave him that credit.”
He added: “He’s trimmed. He’s fit. He’s very excited to go back to his life’s calling, which is being a recording artist.”
The actress Amber Heard has accused the star of physically assaulting her before she filed for divorce
Johnny Depp’s alleged iPhone attack on Amber Heard was not a one-off, a source close to the actress claimed last night.
The 30-year-old has accused her estranged husband of launching a string of assaults during their stormy 15-month marriage.
Depp denies the claims and friends of his accused her of lying. His lawyer said: “Given the brevity of this marriage and the most recent and tragic loss of his mother, Johnny will not respond to any of the salacious false stories, gossip, misinformation and lies about his personal life.”
But Amber was last night granted a temporary restraining order on the Hollywood icon after sensationally claiming 52-year-old Depp threw an iPhone at her during a violent rage at their Los Angeles apartment last Saturday.
US website TMZ published a picture of Amber with a bruise on her face and she later showed a judge a series of photos with other similar injuries she claims the Pirate of the Caribbean star inflicted on her.
The source claimed: “This was not an isolated incident, this was only the latest incident. Amber did what she had to do to take care of herself.”
But police who were called to the apartment after the alleged phone attack reported no signs of injury to her face.
Amber claims Depp went on the rampage and shattered various objects in the apartment.
She alleged she was on the phone to a friend and when Depp grabbed her phone she screamed to the pal: “Call the cops.”
When police arrived at their home, Depp was said to have left. They took a report from her but she reportedly refused to give a full statement.
TMZ reported law enforcement sources said she never alleged any brutality and just complained of an argument. Officers said they had no reason to believe Depp struck Amber with his phone.
According to US reports, Amber wanted the restraining order as there is an “immediate threat of harm”. There were also claims she even has video of one of the alleged beatings.
The judge told Depp to stay 100 yards away from his wife – who has filed for divorce – at least until a hearing next month. Amber was also given the right to live in the family home.
According to legal documents obtained by TMZ, Depp was verbally and physically abusive because of drug and alcohol abuse through their entire relationship.
Amber claimed he showed up “inebriated and high” for her birthday party last month.
She claims after the guests left, they argued and he threw a magnum-sized bottle of champagne at the wall and a wine glass at her. He then allegedly grabbed her by the shoulders and pushed her on to the bed. She also claims he grabbed her by the hair and shoved her to the floor. Amber said she didn’t see Depp again for a month, until Saturday night. She claims he was drunk and high again and they were talking about the death of his mum Betty Sue, 81, the day before.
The court documents allege he “suddenly began obsessing” about something, got mad, grabbed the phone, “wound up his arm like a baseball pitcher and threw the cell phone at me, striking my cheek and eye”.
Amber claims Depp also pulled her hair and struck her, then she alleged he grabbed a magnum of wine, drank some and then used it to break objects around the house. According to TMZ, the judge rejected many other requests by Amber – including an order keeping him away from at least one of their dogs, saying there was “an insufficient showing to protect the pet dog”.
But friends of Depp accused Amber of making up the domestic abuse claims. The actor insists she was tagged in a picture on Instagram showing she was partying with friends on Sunday.
Reports of the alleged attack comes amid speculation he is a heavy drinker.
In 2013, he admitted to Rolling Stone that he felt he got on with booze “too well”, but denied he was an alcoholic.
At the time, he had not hit the bottle for 18 months, and said: “I just decided that I’d pretty much got everything I could out of it. I investigated wine and spirits thoroughly, and they certainly investigated me as well.
“I don’t have the physical need for alcohol. No, it’s more my medication, my self-medication over the years to calm the circus.”
Depp and Amber wed in February 2015, after meeting on the set of 2011 film The Rum Diary.
In her divorce documents, which were filed on Monday, she requested spousal support but he is seeking to deny her bid for financial help.
He divorced his first wife, make-up artist Lori Anne Allison, in 1985 after just two years of marriage. He split from French actress partner Vanessa Paradis – who he has daughter Lily-Rose, 16, and 13-year-old son Jack with – in 2012 after 14 years together.
Amber was in a three-year relationship with girlfriend Tasya van Ree until 2011.
Moby: “Offsetting the vodka and cocaine I was putting in my system every night.”
Ever since the release of his autobiography Porcelain earlier this month, Moby has been candid about his once-extreme lifestyle.
The LA-based electronic musician revealed that he had even concocted an “elaborate green smoothie” to negate his party-hard ways.
“I’ve been sober for eight years now, but back when I was a crazy, dysfunctional alcoholic, I used to have this same smoothie every morning as a way of offsetting the vodka and cocaine I was putting in my system every night,” the 50-year-old told The New York Post.
“I think it might have been one of the only things that kept me from dying. It’s about as nutritious and complete as anything could possibly be, with various greens, anti-oxidants, healthy omega-3 fats and more fibre than your average person in Tulsa, Oklahoma probably eats in a lifetime.”
To recreate the ‘Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?’ singer’s daily drink, mix parsley, kale, a little broccoli raab, a banana, mixed berries, cranberries, flaxseed, chia seeds and DHA [omega-3] oil into a blender.
The self-confessed health food junkie, also extols the virtues of organic white peony tea, explaining: “The tea plant has anti-oxidants, catkins and polyphenols that are really remarkable and don’t exist anywhere else.
“I’m such a fan that I used to co-own, with an ex-girlfriend, a little tea shop on Rivington Street on the Lower East Side called TeaNY, but it closed last year.”
Moby previously told Digital Spy about the shuttering of his New York café: “I learned that I’m a terrible businessman.
“When public figures think they can open a business even though they’ve got no business experience, it’s a bad idea.”
Justin Bieber, who has recently been going through some difficult times in the spotlight, was spotted stepping out to enjoy a delicious steak dinner at the popular Mastro’s Steakhouse in Beverly Hills, but he wasn’t alone. The Biebs (who had apparently got a bit sunburned while soaking in the rays earlier this week) was joined by a beautiful blond for the outing.
Does she look familiar? She should.
The singer was accompanied by actress Nicola Peltz, who starred in films such as Airbender and Transformers: Age of Extinction as well as the hit TV series Bates Motel. If that still doesn’t hit the nail on the head, she also recently starred in Zayn Malik’s black and white music video for “It’s You.”
Yes, she was the gorgeous girl by the pool.
“Justin walked out of the car and opened the door for her like a gentleman and they got out and walked in,” an eyewitness tells E! News of the pair’s dinner date. “There were two security guards with them. Justin’s face looked like he had been in the sun.”
Another source tells E! News, “They are not a couple, they just went on a date. Justin thinks she is really pretty, though,” adding that, “Justin is single at this moment.”
Earlier in the week, Bieber enjoyed some R&R with his musician pal Martin Garrix. The duo and videographer Rory Kramer spent a night under the stars together on the beach and in a luxurious spa and hotel, an experience Bieber shared with fans on Instagram and spoke highly of.
“I had one of the best nights of my life last night,” Bieber wrote on one of his posts, while another said, “These are the nights I live for.”
And apparently, it was all on a whim. Garrix wrote, “‘Let’s just get out of here.’ so we jumped in @rorykramer his car, bought a bunch of camping stuff and went camping @justinbieber // these are the nights I live for.”
Gwen Stefani teased the forthcoming music video for her single “Misery,” Thursday, and she looks stunning. Dressed like an old Hollywood starlet, Gwen wears a sheer gown outfitted with black feather-like accessories. The No Doubt songstress looks anxious and alone as she belts her heart out, but she isn’t totally alone—there are also two dancers featured.
As they say, misery loves company.
“It’s coming! #Misery music video…” she wrote on Twitter. “#ThisIsWhatTheTruthFeelsLike.”
That’s not the only thing Stefani debuted Thursday, either! The “Hollaback Girl” changed her Twitter avatar to a promotion of Blake Shelton’s new album, If I’m Honest. Talk about love! Although these two have been serious for a while now, their love was more obvious than even during both performances of their duet “Go Ahead and Break My Heart.”
Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani first performed their romantic track on The Voice, where they couldn’t help but stare at each other with besotted eyes. Those gaga-looking eyes made a grand return when they took the stage at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards and performed the song again.
“They looked very in love during the song and after,” an eyewitness told E! News. “And when Blake grabbed her hand, it was like he was very proud to be up there with Gwen. He looked at her like he is crazy about her.”
Both singers have gushed about how much the song means to them. “This is one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written or recorded,” Blake Shelton said when the performance was first announced. “It came from a time and place when Gwen and I were beginning our journey together and both experiencing a hard time letting our guards down with each other.”
Naturally, Gwen felt the same way.
“Yeah, it feels like, ‘Wow, that happened.’ I can’t believe I wrote a song with that guy.” Gwen shared with E! News at 102.7 KIISFM’s Wango Tango. “And then we got a chance to sing it together on The Voice. Like…and everyone got to see that. It was a miracle. It was incredible.”
The X Factor winner Leona Lewis will take over the Pussycat Doll’s role as Grizabella in the Broadway revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical
The X Factor winner Leona Lewis will replace Nicole Scherzinger as Grizabella in the Broadway revival of Cats.
The singer announced the news on Twitter, saying: “Can’t even believe this. I’m thrilled & honoured to announce I’ll be playing the part of Grizabella in CatsBroadway!”
The part had been played by former Pussycat Doll Scherzinger in London and she was due to return to the theatre for the Broadway version but pulled out just before rehearsals began.
Andrew Lloyd Webber confirmed she dropped out to return to the UK’s X Factor judging panel and admitted he was “furious” about it.
At the time he told The Economist Radio: “I mean, she’s crazy. But the American producers just took a view – ‘Well, fine, we’ll get somebody else,’ because she’s actually not very well known in America, amazingly. She’s much better known here.”
The musical theatre supremo said Scherzinger’s move had made him look foolish.
He said: “I’m furious, because I really believe she’s the most fantastically talented girl, and I went out on a limb to get her for the London Palladium here, and it makes me look like an absolute twot with them all.
“But never mind, there’ll be another girl on Broadway and Nicole will not get her Tony award.”
Lloyd Webber tweeted: “Very excited to welcome @leonalewis to the CatsMusical family in CatsBroadway. #TeamALW.”
Lewis won the third series of The X Factor in 2006 and went on to achieve success with singles including Bleeding Love, Run and Better in Time.
The contract for the first ever publication of Bach’s Matthew Passion – the work that Mendelssohn rediscovered and which introduced Bach to a modern audience – is to be auctioned today at Sotheby’s.
When JS Bach died in 1750, his music was virtually forgotten. Only a few of his compositions were published in his lifetime. His music survived in handwritten copies prepared by himself and his pupils, and as a result many works were lost, or survive incomplete. In the circumstances, we should be fortunate that so much has survived.
It was early in the 19th century, thanks to the young Felix Mendelssohn and others, that Bach’s works began to be noticed. On 11 March 1829, one of his towering masterpieces, the St Matthew Passion, was thrust on an unsuspecting world. Mendelssohn, barely out of his teens, conducted a performance, heavily cut and in part re-orchestrated by him, at the Berlin Singakademie, a building and institution that survive still today. Two further performances followed there on 21 March and 18 April, the latter conducted by Mendelssohn’s teacher CF Zelter.
These performances were revelatory sensations. The St Matthew Passion was relaunched to a modern audience. But Mendelssohn’s concerts took place using manuscript parts as there was nothing yet in print.
A new document has recently been discovered that sheds light on the first publication of the work. The document is completely unknown and unrecorded in the extensive literature on Bach and his Passion and it reveals how quickly the work was edited and printed after Mendelssohn’s concerts. It is the contract between the musician and journalist Adolf Bernhard Marx and the publisher Adolf Martin Schlesinger.
The publication of the Matthew Passion was a stunning success and …propelled Bach’s masterpiece to the wider world.
It is dated 8 April 1829, that is to say, between the second and third performances of Mendelssohn’s version. The contract is signed by both Marx and Schlesinger and was retained by the publisher in his archive, where it remained for almost two hundred years, until its recent discovery.
The document provides a lot of detail about the background to the Passion’s publication. Schlesinger charged Marx with making a vocal score, for voices and piano (he also published one for full orchestra and chorus). He specified fees, including a down-payment, the rest on completion. If Marx used the services of others, presumably Mendelssohn and Zelter, it was up to him to pay them, not Schlesinger. We have to be especially grateful to Marx that he did not use Mendelssohn’s heavily cut, revised and re-orchestrated version. Instead he went back to Bach’s original found in the earliest manuscripts. Had he not done so, the world might easily have lost the St Matthew Passion as conceived by Bach.
The publication of the Matthew Passion in 1830 was a stunning success and the mass-printing of the vocal and full scores propelled Bach’s towering masterpiece to the wider world. It could now be performed anywhere in Germany or where German was spoken and sung. The explosion of interest in Bach, ignited by Marx, Mendelssohn, Zelter and Schlesinger, dates from this publication. It established Bach’s reputation worldwide. Without the St Matthew Passion, the world would be a much less interesting place.
McCartney spoke about Kanye (‘I love him – he’s a monster’), writing a love song for John Lennon and Wings (‘we were terrible’) before a star-studded Mastertapes audience
Paul McCartney has revealed that he started drinking heavily and came close to quitting music altogether after the Beatles disbanded in 1970.
Discussing his career at a recording of Mastertapes for Radio 4, the songwriter described how he formed the group Wings. “I was depressed. You would be. You were breaking from your lifelong friends,” he said. “So I took to the bevvies. I took to a wee dram. It was great at first, then suddenly I wasn’t having a good time … I wanted to get back to square one, so I ended up forming Wings.”
“It was difficult to know what to do after the Beatles. How do you follow that?” he asked presenter John Wilson.
McCartney also touched on the criticism aimed at Wings, agreeing that he and his wife Linda, who died in 1998, “weren’t that good”.
He said: “We were terrible. We knew Linda couldn’t play, but she learned, and looking back on it, I’m really glad we did it … I could have just formed a supergroup, and rung up Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page and John Bonham,” McCartney said, before adding: “But you still remember the names of the people who gave you really bad, vicious reviews: Charles Shaar Murray shall ever be hated!”
The audience in the BBC’s Maida Vale studio, which included Brad Pitt, James Bay and Paul Weller, were also privy to discussions about his relationship with John Lennon. “I was really grateful that we got it back together before he died. Because it would have been very difficult to deal with if … well, it was very difficult anyway.”
McCartney played a few bars of Here Today, the song he wrote about Lennon in 1982, and said: “I’m quite private and don’t like to give too much away. Why should people know my innermost thoughts? But a song is the place to put them. In Here Today, I say to John, ‘I love you.’”
“I couldn’t have said that to him unless we were extremely drunk – I love you, man! – but you can put these emotions, these deeper and sometimes awkward truths, in a song.”
McCartney also spoke about collaborating with Kanye West on Rihanna’s song FourFiveSeconds. “I love Kanye and he loves me. He’s a monster. He’s a crazy guy who comes up with great stuff, so he inspires me. It was definitely different, because we never appeared to write a song. A lot of what we did was just tell each other stories.”
The episode of Mastertapes will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 10am on 28 May, and a filmed version will be available on BBC iPlayer.
Tonight Show bandleader and Roots drummer Questlove defends singer’s performance, writing on Twitter that ‘the Purple Standard is hard boots to fill’
Madonna has come to her own defence after her much-criticised tribute to Prince at the Billboard music awards on 22 May. Anyone, regardless of “age, gender or skin colour” is entitled to celebrate the late musician, the singer wrote on Instagram.
Madonna performed Nothing Compares 2 U and a duet with Stevie Wonder of Purple Rain. Her interpretation of the late artist’s music was met with disdain in some circles. “Anyone who wants to do a tribute to Prince is welcome to,” Madonna posted the following day on Instagram. “If you loved him and he inspired you then show it!!!! I love Prince 4 ever.”
Not everyone was critical of the tribute. Questlove, who helped to orchestrate the Prince section of the Billboard ceremony, praised Madonna’s performance. In a series of tweets, the Roots drummer and the Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon bandleader said people who were sceptical of Madonna’s moment were still processing the pop icon’s death. “Because of P’s well-known love for the *poof* vanishing act, a lot of us are left feeling incomplete in the act of saying goodbye.” He added: “Naturally, there will be folded arms & shade thrown because the Purple Standard is hard boots to fill & a lot of us don’t wanna come 2 grips.”
He said that fans should be prepared for an onslaught of tributes at other awards shows over the coming year. “Every Prince rendition will not be a life changing orgasmic xperience. Just to SING his work is brave enough. Again feeling are on high.”
Prince played guitar on three songs from Madonna’s 1989 album Like a Prayer. Their relationship, however, was considered tumultuous. During a concert in London in 2007, Prince said: “I got so many hits y’all can’t handle me. I got more hits than Madonna’s got kids.”
Acts cancel performances Alesha Dixon on discovering that BPop Live gig a few days before referendum is endorsed by Leave.EU
Alesha Dixon has joined boyband 5ive in pulling out of a gig after discovering it is a political rally.
Both acts had been billed to join Sister Sledge and East 17 at the Bpoplive gig in Birmingham days before the 23 June EU referendum.
But they have withdrawn after discovering the gig is being put on by the Leave.EU campaign, which was founded by businessman and Ukip donor Arron Banks.
The concert has already been hit by a number of line-up changes as acts discovered its political nature.
Drum’n’bass act Sigma pulled out, telling BuzzFeed they were “in no way supporting the event” when asked if they were in favour of Britain voting to leave the EU.
Dixon, a judge on Britain’s Got Talent, announced she had pulled out of the gig hours after 5ive declared they had.
Her management said: “When Alesha was approached to perform at this event it was on the understanding that this was a multi-artist pop concert in a fantastic venue in the heart of the UK and Alesha would be there purely as an entertainer.
“It has now come to light that this is more of a political rally with entertainment included and we have decided to withdraw Alesha from the event. We wish to apologise to any fans who may have purchased tickets for this event. I would like to make it clear that Alesha has no political allegiances either way on this issue.”
Earlier on Tuesday, 5ive had announced two of its members – Ritchie Neville and Scott Robinson – had cancelled their performance. The band’s third member, Sean Conlon, was never due to perform at the gig because he was not available.
In a statement 5ive said: “When Rich and Scott agreed to play the event they understood that it was a pop concert funded by one of the Brexit organisations and not a political rally. As it has come to light that this is more of a political rally with entertainment included they have both decided to cancel their involvement.
“They would like to make it clear that as a band 5ive has no political allegiances or opinions for either side. Their allegiance is first and foremost to their fans.”