Munich’s Big-Bucks Play For Culture Capital

Munich is spending big to sign up stars to direct its music institutions. The city is vying to be a cultural capital. “But music is not one of those spectator sports whose results can be rigged by wealth. It is a mind-game, often a minefield, in which sprightly left-wingers run rings around the sorry hulks of expensive defensive walls, and dinky British orchestras have a gratifying habit of outmanoeuvring the mighty spenders. Munich’s mistake was to play by a set of rules that has been rendered obsolescent by the collapse of classical recording. Today, when hardly any maestros get past studio security, orchestras are trapped between picking a fossilised relic of distant recorded memory or risking an unknown prospect.”