Making Music Happen
and saying “Can you come over at two o'clock this aftemoon'?" and him going "Yeah". That was a whole new experience for me. I'm gonna try and do that again. if possible.‘
Head Like A Rock is in the running for the 5:25.000 Mercury Music Prize. alongside such albutns as Take That‘s [Everything Changes. Paul Weller's Wild Wood and. the 2-l favourite. Parkli/e by Blur. MeNabb‘s a l4-l outsider. according to William Hill. but even at those odds he‘s a happy man.
‘()bviously I‘m pleased. because it means the music has got through to somebody. even if it‘s only a panel of
judges. Most of the other albums have
sold vast amounts more than mine. so not only is it a positive thing for me. meaning that I‘m going to get a lot of publicity out of it. but I think it‘s good for every underdog. I think it gives the Mercury Prize more credibility. Next year. there's gonna be people submitting their albums. which normally they wouldn‘t have thought would be a Mercury Award Winner. because lan McNabb got nominated
and he came from out of nowhere.‘ Ian McNabl) plays K tng 7ut's.
Glasgow on Fri 16 and The Venue. Edinburgh on Sat I7. The winner of the Mercury Music Prize 1994 will be announced on Tue [3.
Tennents Live! Making Music Happen ‘ l
' me- Jazz revrval
. . Jim Mullen . Edinburgh iazzfans contemplating an
empty month could always nip across
the Bridge to the Ounfermline Jazz and
Blues Festival, which returns this year '
; on a modest scale in terms of the
stature of most of the artists, although
, there is a fair amount of it.
The first festival, organised as a tribute to trumpeter Jim Kyle, was a
. big success back in 1988, but a
disappointing response to a more
ambitious event the following year held back any further development, and it was eventually swallowed up by the town’s more wide-ranging Arts festival.
Venues for the revived event include the newly-restored Ounfennline Abbey, and a dozen local hotels and pubs. Guitarists Jim Mullen and Martin Taylor - timed so that you can catch both - are the main attractions on the Saturday night. Singer Fionna Duncan and Phil Mason’s flew Orleans All- Stars provide the other jazz action, with blues from Boll Wyn James, Blues Cruisers, Baby Isaac and Spider, Dick and Jim.
T The opening night on Friday also
' features several of those artists, along with Hot Stuff and Mike Hart’s Scottish Society Syncopators for the traditional
. fans, plus Sophie Bancroft and Gina
= Rae and rising star Laura MacDonald
‘ (the saxophonist is one of three young Scots who has won a scholarship to Berklee College in Boston this year) playing in a more modern style.
The Sunday afternoon coda features the Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra and John Francis and The Inspirational Gospel Choir in the Abbey. Free bus transport
will be provided between venues, and i a special all-venue weekend ticket is
on offer at a bargain £10. See Listings for details. (Kenny Mathieson) The Ounfermline Jazz and Blues Festival runs from Fri 9—Sun 11.
2 Youth culture
This month brings the first visit to Edinburgh by the highly regarded London-based British Youth Opera (BYO). Lured to the city by the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, they bring their two new summer productions — Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and the less frequently seen Thieving Magpie by Rossini.
Conducting is shared between the young British conductor Mark Shanahan and the company’s music director Timothy Oean. Explaining the background to BYO, Oean says: ‘lt’s eight years old now and, as well as being a national company for young singers, British Youth Opera is also a fully fledged opera company in its own
right. It’s the only way to provide
adequate training and experience
within a professional opera environment. The singers, who tend to
be on the edge of entering the profession, are not paid, but this is extra exposure, extra experience,
which they otherwise would not have.’
The orchestra operates on the same
basis, further opportunity being created through Oean’s construction
of a special course for them. He insists all staff are professional so that training is at the highest level. Ot
the two operas being seen in Scotland, 5
he says, ‘Onegin is an ideal piece for young singers. It’s about the passions of young people.’
Singing the title role is Guildhall/ National Opera Studio graduate Garry Magee and 24-year-old Swedish soprano Linda Tuvas is Tatiana. ‘Thieving Magpie is not heard often, but it’s not the iolly Rossini romp the well known overture would lead you to expect,’ says Oean. ‘There are a few surprise twists and turns in this
alternative comment on society.’ And Oean’s involvement with budding opera stars does not end with the season. When term starts he takes up
a new job as head of opera at Glasgow’s BSAMO. (Carol Main)
- Eugene Onegin, Edinburgh Festival
Theatre, 529 6000, Fri 9 Sept, 7.30pm,
; The Thieving Magpie, Edinburgh
l Festival Theatre, 529 6000, Thurs 8
i and Sat 10 Sept, 7.30pm,
mm] Fun with chords V
" x‘ \ ‘
j gs S ‘
John Harblson The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra have earned a reputation for programming unusual repertoire. and their next Glasgow invitation concert is certainly no exception. Saint-Saéns' Symphony No 2 is the tnost conservative choice in a programme which includes the Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera‘s litriai'iones C()tl(‘(’t'l(llll(’.\‘. and the European premiere of American composer John Harbison‘s The Most ()ften Used Chords.
l-larbison is by no means a household name. but his stock is rising after a couple of decades working against fashion. In the 60s and 70s. when the avant garde remained dominant. l-larbison's lyrical strain and unconventional but tonal harmonies seemed a little old—fashioned to the new music cognoscenti. but the turn of the tide which brought just those qualities back into focus in the 80s has led to a notable increase of interest in his work.
The winning ofthe Pulitzer Prize for his cantata The Flight Into lz'gvpt in 1987 marked a turning point in his : American reputation. and if we are still catching up over here. more and more of his music is appearing on disc. Recent issues have included his String Quartets (Harmonia Mundi). the choral disc Simple Daylight (Elcktra Nonesuch). which also includes his Piano Quintet. and an orchestral disc from Decca which pairs his ()hoe ('oni'erto and Symphony No 2 with the second symphony of one of his , distinguished teachers. Roger Sessions.
llarbison‘s work takes on an altnost improvisatory feel in places -- the ()hoe ('otti‘erto includes genuine jazz-style ‘bent‘ notes for the soloist ~- which 1 some classical critics have seen as a structural weakness. In fact. they are part of the distinctly individual voice which emerges in all of his music. Intriguineg. he describes The Most ()ften Used (‘ltords as ‘essentially a work of play. taking place in a realm where free fantasy and simple theory meet and ﬁnd they can harmonise with each other.‘ Sounds like fun. (Kenny Mathieson)
The BBC SSO play Harln’son in Glasgow on Fri 9 (see ('lassit'a/ listing i for ticket details).
The List 0 22 Septemlwr l‘N-l 31