§Gothic ' i Horro

:Wfl: ~.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra's new

i subscription series

promises the high standard of work we have come to expect from this leading British orchestra. Classical composers such i as Mozart. Beethoven and Schubert sit alongside present-day masters Peter Maxwell Davies. Judith Weir and James MacMillan in typically inventive and enterprising programming.

Leaving aside what might actually happen at 1 the concert. it comes as something of a shock to discover that Thursday I 1 March is an evening of Dracula. Frankenstein and general Gothic horror mixed with Transylvanian terror. Not. you might say. the usual SC() style. And not. after centuries of a musical tradition extending from the great classics to Schoenberg and the second Viennese school. the usual sort of thing to come out of j Vienna.

Behind it all is H. K. Gruber. the Viennese composer and baritone. 3 who comes to the Queen‘s Hall in lidinburgh (plus Younger Hall. St Andrews on 10 March and MacRobert Centre. Stirling on 12 March) to conduct and take the solo role in a semi-staged performance of Frankenstein.’.’.’. a work he describes as ‘a part- demonium for baritone chansonnier and orchestra ! after children’s rhymes by H. C. Artmann‘. The title of the volume - Noises, Noises. All Around Lovely New Children 's Rhymes -— may promise something quite , innocuous. but Artmann l himself has said that the poems are. among other things. ‘covert political statements'. Gruber explaining this as referring to ‘the monsters of political life. who have always tried to hide their true faces.‘ What else could Frankenstein.’.'.’ be programmed with but Drueulus Haus & Hofmusik. by Schwertsik. and Bartok's Three Transylvania/t Dani-es.

l Co at your peril. I (Carol Main)

5C0. Queen '5‘ Hull. Clerk l Street. Thurs I I. See . LClussieal listings.


Return ofa homeboy

Joe Alexander soundchecks a new venture in promoting

contemporary music

Assembly Direct venture away from their home area ofjazz and related musics into the often esoteric (for which read underpatronised) sphere of contemporary composition. They were going to call it ‘Short Sharp Shock‘. but decided that the idea of associating the music with punishment might chime

too readily with public prejudice. and settled instead on the more deftly

30 The list 26 February—l 1 March 1993

neutral Sound Check: Directions in New NIusit'.

The event features four concerts spread over three weeks in March. all in Edinburgh. It opens with a very rare chance to hear the Scottish piano virtuoso James Clapperton (of whom more in a minute) with a programme of Xenakis and himself (Thurs 4. BBC Queen Street Studio). followed by the ebullient Joanna MacGregor in a recital ranging from Ligcti and MacMillan to lirrol Garner and Django Bates ( 16 March. Queen‘s Hall). the mysterious jazz-classical-folk melting pot of the Moscow Art Trio (21 March. Queen‘s Hall). and hot-shot guitar newcomer Nicola Hall (23 March. BBC).

All intriguing stuff. but for now let's focus our attention on the first of these recitals. It is one of life‘s little oddities that while 24-year-old James Clapperton has amassed a sheaf of rave reviews and composers'

James Clapperton: looking to communicate

commendations in such places as Holland. Germany. Italy. Iceland. Canada and the USA. he may well not rate much of a recognition quotient in his native heath. His last concert here was at Mayfest back in l989. an occasion he shared with his better- known contemporary at St Mary‘s Music School in Iidinburgh. David Home.

‘I think the audience were basically there to hear David. and I got the feeling the repertoire l was playing was not quite what they expected.’ he recalls. There should be no confusion on this occasion. but the programme of Xenakis’s complete piano works with Clapperton's own much simpler. folk— inlluenced piano settings derived from

Scottish poems may seem something of

a meeting of opposities.

‘Xenakis has a great. raw quality to his music which is often overlooked.‘ he argues. ‘and for me it has a very earthy. Greek quality. in terms of the way it sounds rather than the way in which it is put together. My own music is much more simple -— I play a lot of very. very complex music by people like Finnissy. li'erneyhough. Zimmermann and Xenakis. and I don't

see the point in my own music just trying to do what they do. I like that sense of moving between the two things. which can be very refreshing.‘

C lapperton‘s absence from home has been largely a result of events pushing him in different directions. ‘Home' is in Banchory. but after St Mary‘s. he spent a year studying at Buffalo University in the USA. ran out of funds to carry on. and moved instead to Holland. where i he was basically just ‘hanging around working at my music‘. He then spent some time in Germany. came back to ; Edinburgh fora while. and is currently l living in lixeter. where his violinist wife Charlene is teaching at the local 3 university.

! Clapperton has eschewed the standard {Classical and Romantic repertoire. l admitting that while it is great music. l his heart is not really in it. nor does he have any desire to step onto ‘the horrible conveyer belt of players coming out of the universities. especially from the liar East. all playing that same reper‘toire'. Instead. he has concentrated on contemporary music. often of fearsome difficulty (‘too many I composers haven‘t a clue how to write for the instrument‘ ). and has committed i himself to exploring and interpreting i these works. ‘lnterpretation‘ may be a [dirty word in some classical music circles. but Clapperton believes it is essential.

‘l’m sure the composers would like their work to be more communicative. and I think it deserves a higher profile. Too many people think that ifthey just play through the score and get the notes in the right place. it will speak for itself. and that is true up to a point. but you have to be free to give it your own stamp. without losing the composer in the process. Your character is part of what is going on. otherwise you are not really in touch with the music. and if you are not in touch. how can you hope to communicate to an audience?’

James Clapperton plays 131% Queen Street Studio. Edinburgh on 4 and 23 Mare/1 and the Queen '5‘ Hall. Edinburgh on /6 and 2/ Mare/2.

um:- Fab FM

Anyone can play guitar but not everyone can write a ballad that sounds like Presley singing Orbison and from out of nowhere drop in guitar noise that sounds like an earthmoving engine retching blood. For this we should have been prepared since the maudlin shufer of Radiohead’s second single had a foundation line that casually spat out ‘You’re so fucking special. And I’m a CREEP!’

they should re-release ‘Creep’, I

' announce. It’s great.

‘Eh, no. that’s a real cop-out.’ Radlohead guitarist Ed O’Brien gives the correct answer and the keys to chartdom are his. Albeit briefly. ‘Anyone Can Play Guitar’ went in at 32 with a bullet, out at 50 like a shot. Who wants to hang about in the Dirty Forty anyway? It’ll lust contaminate and corrupt. Fame, eh? Who needs it? llot Badlohead.

a... s. ‘We want to bring out a new single not on the album at the end of April,’ says Ed. ‘lt’s called “Pop Is Dead’.” A

few listens to ltadlohead’s debut album, ‘Pablo Honey’, will reveal that the Oxford ones only mean that sentiment after some clarification. ‘Slop pop’ is dead, flimsy and disposable pop is dead. ‘I wanna be

wanna be Jim Morrison,’ they snarl on “Anyone Can Play Guitar’ - meaning Badiohead want drama and misery and might from their pop, plenty of visciousness and tautness. It sounds unlikely and vaguely abusive (it’s neither) and even pointless (it is), but Radiohead are a cross between Something Happens! and the Manic Street Preachers, with some independently-evolved nous. ‘A liberating chimera of sound,’ noted a passing biomusicologist. ‘The biggest pile of bollocks we’ve seen,’ offerred Richey and James Manic when they saw Badlohead in Reading. Radiohead don’t care, because their album is splendid and splenetlc, because they ‘haven’t spent lots of record company money’, and they’re off to Paris on Tuesday. Fame, eh? Who needs It? ‘lt’s really cocked the whole thing up!’ smirks Ed. ‘lt’s a real downer on the whole tour.’ (Craig McLean) Radiohead play Subway, Edinburgh on Fri 26, Docklane, Greenock on Sat 27, and King Tut’s Wan Wan llut, Glasgow

S 28. on un A