v CLASSICAL i
Stravinsky by Picasso
Not content with giving no less than
six main season concerts during the course ofthis issue — including the premieres of Peter Maxwell Davies’s Strathclyde Concertos Nos 5 and 6 —
the Scottish Chamber Orchestra is
on tour throughout Strathclyde and Fife between 19 March and 3 April with A Devil's Dance. Made possible by the Prudential Award for Music 1991 (and grants from Strathclyde ! and Fife Regional Councils). the i evening is a combination of music. dance and theatre with a fully-staged performance ofStravinsky‘s The Soldier's Tale as its centrepiece. Part of the SCO‘s ongoing and constantly innovative programme ofwork in the community. this latest project involves around 170 schoolchildren who have used the Stravinsky as inspiration for their own work. which will form the first part of the evening.
Explaining the origins ofA Devil's Dance. SCO Development Manager Eona Craig says. ‘The education programme has been going since January. with Lewis Morrison. the orchestra‘s principal clarinettist. going into schools and encouraging classes from First to Sixth Years to look at the Stravinsky and then use it as a base for their own compositions. A dance animateur has been going with Lewis and. obviously capturing the schools‘ imaginations. art departments have contributed too. so the results are quite amazing.‘ These results can last anything between three and twenty minutes and involve between seven and seventy people.
Following on from the children‘s work will be the SCO performance of The Soldier's Tale itself. directed by Michael McCarthy and choreographed by Royston Maldoom. and then it's down to the nearest bar for a quick change of style as the SCO becomes a 1920s dance band with everybody. performers and audience. invited to
. join in. As Eona Craig says. ‘lt‘s
definitely good value — you get a lot for your money.‘ (Carol Main) A Devil '5 Dance plays at various
‘ venues in Strathclyde Region — see
l Classical listings.
28 The List 13 — 26 March 1992
When was the last time you encountered a great singing voice? Not one that ‘suited the music’, but one that cut through all the chaff, and swept you along in its wake? Thrum's Monica possesses one such inspired yodel — a
hearty country-influenced holler, all the more remarkable in that it comes baying out of such a petite frame. I have visions oi Monica as a six-year-old singing along to Daddy’s
Patsy Cline records.
‘Actually I only listen to Neil Young as a country voice. He’s got the ultimate T twang; I haven’t got an ultimate female
singer,’ she reveals.
Thrum’s music is good anyway, but we’re currently tripping overmelodic grunge on every street corner. The rest oi the band agree that the Voice maketh the Difference. ‘Take The Sugarcubes,’ says guitarist John. ‘ll they didn’t have the uniqueness of Bjork’s voice I don’t think they’d cut through so well. Hopefully that’s part of what we have as against all the Rides, Fanclubs, etc. None of them are really singers, it’s just any old voice and much as I like all
advantage to them.’
Monica and John formed the core of Moni, a Glaswegian ‘country rock' band from a few years back, who split when their popularity was at a premium because they felt things were stale.
Q -\ ‘1
those bands I don’t think that’s an
Now that Thrum have interested parties !
snapping at their heels, they're impatient to keep things snowballing. ‘I don’t think a band exists until it starts putting records out,‘ says John earnestly, ‘because otherwise all you’ve done is a transient thing —
you’ve played the gig and disappeared; f there’s no memory of that except for the
people who were there. You have to put material out. Bands like The Pixies are only surfacing now in the general public eye, yetthey’re on theirtourth album. You go back through those catalogues and there’s gems on the first album. I don’t want to be perfect before we start making records.’ (Fiona
Thrum play The Apollo, Glasgow on
mn- Shadow play
John Harle: shadowing Duke
A visit from one big band is rare enough, but we get a chance to check out two very different examples of the beast this month. First up comes a modern adaptation of the classic format, led by saxophonist John Harle. The eleven-piece band which will perform his tribute to Duke Ellington, ‘The Shadow of the Duke’, falls a little short of real big band size, but is more than capable of generating a suitably
Harle is a classical saxophonist, and ; has commissioned many new works for
the instrument as well as recording the existing, admittedly sparse repertoire. He has always kept a foot in the jazz camp as well, while his Berliner Band gave the same kind of updating to the music of Brecht and Weill as is accorded the Duke on his EMI release
which spawned this tour.
Purists will argue, and with some justice, that Duke does not need to be updated, given the timelessness of his incomparable music, but I rather like Harle’s cool, distinctly clasSically- oriented approach to it. No substitute, certainly, but a highly enjoyable
The Danish Radio Big Band employ a more traditional big band line-up, but have a well-deserved reputation for innovative charts within that basic format, and succeed admirably in keeping their music fresh by working with a diverse series of musical
The latest is the brilliant Canadian
arranger Rob McConnell, whose own
Boss Brass outfit is held in high
esteem. McConnell’s arrangements combine subtlety and aggression in
i just about equal parts, and his work-out
with this always impressive outfit should be a memorable one. See listings for all concert details. (Kenny
(‘rossing borders in more ways than one. will be Edinburgh Contemporary Arts Trust 's promotion this month when ()rkest de \'olharding comes to Scotland. This year. they celebrate twenty years of being at the centre ofthe development of Dutch contemporary music with their unique stylistic mix. ()riginated by composer and pianist Louis Andriessen as a protest against the lack of new music played by symphony orchestras. half oftheir fourteen members come from a jazz background. half from classical training. Their line-up of flute. horn. saxophones. trumpets. trombones. piano and bass guitar means. says director Rob ()bermann. ‘We are well suited to different kindsof programmes and play all kinds of music.‘ At the heart of their work is the repertoire which is specially written for them. ‘We are looking for composers who can cross the borders between composed music and. say. rock music. For instance. Rob Zuidam's Three .llechanisms can be
compared a little bit with
Steve Martland working in the pop field. They both have their own rock
; groups but they can
translate into composed music too.‘
Artistic decisions are made collectively. ‘The whole group always decides who is going to write for us. Because of
group in the world can play the repertoire. so when we select anew composer we listen to all the new music we can find.
especially young Dutch
compose rs.‘ says ()bermann. The wealth of new talent in the UKis
also recognised. and the
ECAT tour is only part of
a wider relationship with Britain which will include a Contemporary Music Network tour in Spring 199-1 and a CD ofBritish and Dutch new music. (Carol Main)
()rkest (le Volharding play The Tram way. Glasgow on Mor123 and The Queen '3 Hall, Edinburgh on Wed 25.