Karlhelnz Stockhausen: keeping it in the family

The Hungarian composer Gyorgy llurtag is now recognised as one of the leadlng figures in contemporary European composition, but he had to wait a long time for that accolade. Considered a little too staid and even old-fashioned for the high-powered avant-garde circles in Darrnstedt in the 605 (where Stockhausen dominated), it was only with the success of his Messages 0! The Late Miss If. V. Troussova in 1981 that his standing was confirmed, and a backward re-discovery of his work commenced.

Kurtag has gone on to write a number of important works in his typically rigorous, discontinuous musical language, many of which include vocal parts. The work which will be presented at the Festival, however, is a recent instrumental one.

Ruckbllck: Hommage a Stockhausen is, as the name suggests, a backward look at Kurtag’s musical development, and the latest in a series of hommage works (other dedicatees include the Italian composer Luigi llono and a winter sunset). It consists of nine sections, each divided into smaller miniatures, many of which draw on

fragments or motifs from earlier works which are reconstituted in different forms and relationships in the new work, a process which is familiar in his music.

It was first performed in Berlin in 1993, and had its British premiere at the Cheltenham Festival earlier this year. The Edinburgh performance, however, will be the first time it has been given in this country by the four musicians for whom it was originally written: trumpeter Markus Stockhausen, Peter Riegelbauer on bass, Maiella Stockhausen on piano and celeste, and Marcus Greed on both those instruments and harpsichord.

Kurtag’s use of microtorms and small cells of musical material grew out of his consultations with the pyschologist Marianne Stein, to whom he attributes the discovery of his artistic identity. Gerald Larner, writing of the UK premiere of fluckblick in The Times, called him ‘the most finely focused musical mind at work today’, and many would back that judgement. (Kenny Mathieson) fluckblick (Festival) St Bernard’s Church, 225 5756, 29 Aug, 5pm, £10.

[EE- JUNE rneon

‘Very frightening' is June Tabor‘s understated description of losing her voice a few days into a major American tour. The celebrated deep. darkly distinctive tone vanished. and it was only under the supervision of Welsh National Opera‘s vocal coach that it returned. But return it did and earlier this year she took part in Meltdown. the major South Bank celebration of the singing voice.

‘Elvis Costello was Musical Director. and he put together performers he

June Tabor: glad to bebglum

something together. Amazing variety. from Deborah Harry to The

and Billy Jenkins frotn the Voice of God Collective. And we put on a special. titled “Glad To Be Unhappy". an evening of torch songs. I loved doing that. That was me. Elvis and Jeff Buckley.‘

Her Edinburgh dates are in the close and long-term musical companionship of Huw Warren and Mark Emerson. together creating a stunningly tight. eloquent and sensitive group dynamic using piano. viola. violin. accordion. cello and that voice. (Norman Chalmers)

I June Tabor (Fringe) Acoustic Music Centre (Venue 25) 220 2462.

knew personally and he knew would create

Brodsky Ensemble. and

others like Christine Tobin

30—31 Aug. 7.30pm. £6 (£4).


The dazzling Cuban pianist Gonazalo Rubalcaba makes his much-anticipated Scottish debut with a solo concert which should be one of the jazz. highlights of the year. never mind the Festival. He comes from an eminent Cuban musical family. and has inherited both a deep understanding of his native music and a marvellous feel for jazz. Restricted from playing in the USA for some years by the cultural embargo. he is now free to travel and work there alter setting tip home in the Dominican Republic. with the approval of the Cuban authorities. The extra freedom to meet and play with an expanded range of musicians is echoed in his approach to his work. ‘Freedom in concept. approach and even style is very important for me. and so is the chance to have more connections with musicians in the States. I want to learn from them. and I also want to be able to present myself and my music there without having to cut myself off from my homeland.‘ (Kenny Mathieson) I Gonzalo Rubalcaba (Round Midnight) Queen's Hall (Venue 72) 668 201‘). 2 Sept. 7.15pm. £10. £8 (£6).


Country fans are not very well catered for in the Fringe. but there are a couple of things around of interest. flank Wangford is a familiar enough name at the Mansfield Street Church. but singer and guitarist Jim Salestrom may need a little more in the way of intrtxluction.

Salestrom lives in Breckenridge. Colorado. where he is involved in the promotion of the area's ski resorts. as well as being a working musician. He has issued fifteen albums as a singer- songwriter over the years. and was lead singer of the 70s country-rock band Timberline. He currently plays in the occasional Nashville outfit the Wild Jimbos. with former Nitty Gritty l)irt Band man Jimmy lbbotson.

He is probably best known. however. for the eleven years from 1979—90 he spent playing guitar and banjo and singing background vocals in Dolly Parton's international touring band. and has also worked in a

similar capacity with another Colorado resident. John Denver. This will be his first solo visit to Edinburgh as a performer. having ‘fallen in love' with the city during a ski promotion last year. Check him out. (Kenny Mathieson)

I Jim Salestrom (Fringe) The Music Box (Venue 50) 220 4847. 23 Aug—2 Sept. ()pm. £4.50 (£3.50)


With the launch of their new album. Ru-Ru. Tannas are confirmed as that rare species in Scotland. a Gaelic band. With the vocals wholly in the language of the Garden of Eden. and the instrumental tracks of an insistently Highland character. the young group is based round the singing MacKay sisters from Point in Lewis. with Julia Legge's expressive fiddle and the broad talents of Malcolm Stitt on guitar. bouzouki. keyboards. Highland pipes and whistles. Their Festival appearance is augmented by percussion. but is more a celebration. a ceilidh. titan a concert. Invited guest performers include Mm'ltuir star. singer and piper Anna Murray. here performing some clever contemporary settings of Gaelic song by Cauld Blast cellist Ron Shaw. ‘Red' Fred Morrison. award-winning piper to Capercaillie and Clan Alba. performs solo; and the presence of Agnes MacLennan. a veteran Mod gold medallist, reflects the continuity of passion for the airs and grace notes of great

The Jacobln: 'stllteness on stage’

Gonzalo llubalcaba

Gaelic music. (Norman Chalmers)

I Gaelic Ceilidh (Fringe) Tannas. Festival Club (Venue 36) 2 Sept. 8.30pm. £5 (£4).


Given the rather charming qualities of Dvorak‘s opera The Jacobi/t. it is surprising that it is virtually never performed. Scottish Opera's new production. which can now be seen as part of their current season but opened at the Festival

Theatre. is mixed in its

merits and does not quite manage to fulfil the promise of the score. Musically. things are

strong. with Claire Rutter and Richard Coxon as the sweet young lovers Terinka and Jiri and Donald Maxwell an entertaining police chief. Filip. The set is like a huge. tinfoil cavern. its cold greyness and distance. along with that of the design generally. curiously throwing light onto the warmth of the music. Somehow. though. Christine Mielitz‘s production finds it hard to settle. bringing a stiltedness on stage not helped by a chorus off their usual top form. Under Richard Armstrong. the orchestra captured the colour and nationalistic flavour of the piece as ifborn to it. (Carol Main)

I The Jacobin Edinburgh Festival Theatre (Festival). Run ended. Now on at Theatre Royal. Glasgow. 332 9000. 2. 8. 28 and 30 Sept. £3.50— £45. and Edinburgh Festival Theatre. 529 6000. 23 Nov. £5—£45.

60 The List 25 Aug-7 Sept 1995