The Barbican’s music library is currently home to an exhibition about the pioneering German electronic music group, Tangerine Dream. From early days with experimental music, they’re now better known for their Hollywood collaborations and computer game scores.

Exhibitions about musical groups can be a bit odd though, in that music needs to be heard, but exhibitions tend to be more about the “holy relics” of the performers — so if you’re a fan, they are exceptionally exciting, and if not a fan, well, a collection of things.

Here are arguably a good collection of their more interesting holy relics.

Almost in pride of place is a letter from the Radio 1 host, John Peel expressing admiration for their work, having apologized for writing in English as he can’t speak German.

A photo and letter from Virgin supremo, Richard Branson promising to send them a cheque, and commenting on the partially melted LPs they made to put in shop windows — and on their posters.

One of the more intriguing episodes in their history is explored — the decision by Rheims Cathedral to host a concert.

As the quote goes “It is true that certain youths smoked pot and urinated against the pillars of Rheims Cathedral, but it is also true that some 6,000 youths stayed three hours stretched out on the floor and enjoyed the music.”

The group was banned from all Catholic Cathedrals — and spotting an opportunity, the Anglican Cathedrals in England swiftly invited them for a tour instead.

A lot of the photographs on show are from their UK concerts in the Cathedrals, along with a news clipping condemning the Catholic concert contrasting delightfully with the warm invite from the Dean of Liverpool Cathedral.

As an exhibition, if you’re a fan of the group, it’s exceptionally exciting to visit. The exhibition, Tangerine Dream: Zeitraffer runs from Thursday 16 January to Saturday 2 May 2020 at Barbican Music Library. It’s open daily, except Sundays.


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  1. Andy K says:

    The JP letter is mine

  2. Bianca Froese-Acquaye says:

    Wonderful and very informative report, Ian. Thanks very much! All our efforts to set up this little exhibition have paid off. Thanks for your support, all the best, Bianca Froese-Acquaye

  3. Fumbletrumpet says:

    Visited a couple of weeks ago. If you’ve any interest in TD and are in London (until the exhibition ends in May, I think) it’s a must see. Saw the current iteration of the band at the Barbican last March so it was somehow appropriate for this exhibition to be back here. There was a large mono photo with a couple of guys I didn’t recognise – maybe Steve Joliffe and/or Klaus Kruger from the Cyclone era ? Despite having listened to the albums from the Virgin era many, many times, there was something very pleasant about being able to select an LP and listen on headphones in one corner of the exhibition. That was a nice touch. Thank you Bianca and Barbican for this enjoyable trip back in time !

  4. Mel C says:

    Michael Hoenig with Chris and Edgar in the b/w photo

  5. Anoop Sahal says:

    I wonder is it worth going to. Are there enough exhibits to warrant going to London. I live in the north of England .

    I have been an ardent fan of TD since 1977

    I get very little time off as my leave is unpaid and I am a low earner

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