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Music was always Anthony Burgess’s first love

A gifted pianist and composer, Burgess combined his talents in a superb series of music reviews, published for the first time in a complete collection

3 February 2024

9:00 AM

3 February 2024

9:00 AM

The Devil Prefers Mozart: On Music and Musicians, 1962-1993 Anthony Burgess, edited by Paul Phillips

Carcanet, pp.577, 30

Anthony Burgess, a professional to his finger- tips, knew how to write an arresting first sentence. The locus classicus is his opening to Earthly Powers. But try this for size, a lapel-grabbing start of a piece about William Walton in The Listener:

Waking crapulous and apothaneintheloish, as I do most mornings these days, I find a little loud British gramophone music over the (a) bloody mary and (b) raspberry yoghurt helps me adjust to the daily damnation of writing.

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