5 CLASSICAL The angel angle
When the BT Scottish Ensemble teamed up with composer John Tavener the results were praised to high heaven.
Success breeds success, or so goes the saying. Proving its truth is the BT Scottish Ensemble which, hard on the heels of its acclaimed CD Tears Of The Angels, is currently touring England and Scotland with a series of sell-out candlelit concerts going under the same title. Originating from the piece of music by John Tavener, also entitled Tears Of The Angels, the programme features the Scottish premiere of one of his newer works, Depart In Peace. The tour, the Ensemble’s most extensive, started in Oxford and after visits to some of the finest churches and cathedrals in the country, culminates with performance number fourteen at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh.
'lt's the most ambitious thing the Ensemble has done,’ says Artistic Director, Clio Gould. ’We made the disc and felt that the music was just begging to be heard by a bigger audience. Also, most of us have been working together intensively for five years and we were ready to display our wares to a wider public. It’s a natural response to want to share what we do and why we enjoy it.’
Tavener is now something of a cult figure. According to Gould, he is not simply ’the man of the moment, but
of the decade. He is very inspiring, but he’s been writing like this for a long time and it is only now that public
perception has come round to him.’
Why Tavener is popular is not difficult to spot. His music has a direct spiritual voice which touches even the hardest of souls, the influences of the Orthodox church and the sacred tone systems used for its liturgy bringing an exotic eastern mysticism to western ears.
'People are much more in tune with their spiritual side now than they were in the 80$,' says Gould. 'They’re more interested in the quality of life, not so acquisitive or ambitious, and generally want to nurture themselves and people close to them. Tavener is absolutely there with these values and unashamedly so.’
Depart In Peace, Gould’s own favourite, is a setting of
Kari; Tut's, Sat 19 Dec; :cimurge: Stills Gallery, Sun 20 Dec
Kid Loco: not so daft
Clio Gould and John Tavener: making music to move
the Nunc Dimitis and was written in memory of Tavener’s father, who died not long before it was completed in 1997.
'lt’s wonderful,’ says Gould. 'It starts with germs of ideas in their most miniature form and then builds them up so that their repetition is really powerful. Patricia Rozario, the solo soprano, is amazing. There are lots of improvisatory sections, in Greek, but it always comes back to a long chorale where she sings Alleluia over and
Gould was moved to tears when she first heard the recording, so be prepared for something quite unlike anything you've heard before. (Carol Main)
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Fri 78 Dec, Edinburgh
Queen's Hall, Tue 22 Dec
With Air topping end of year polls all
over the shop and Daft Punk and Laurent Garnier still ahead of the pack, it is tempting to View the last few years as a nouve/le vague for French music
Kid Loco’s eclectic sampledelic soundtracks are a part of this, although the Kid has been making music since the days of punk In the 80s he ran a successful French record label and produced a number of hands, before discovering the versatility of working With computers in the late 80s Since then he has reverted to making his own music and has honed his own distinctive brand of Gallic cool, which he is at pains to distance from the kitsch likes of Dmitri from Paris, to whom he is sometimes compared
'Dmitri is a DJ and when you're a DJ you want to make people dance,’ he explains 'At the beginning I was a guitar player and when I do music I
want to do pretty things, to have good melodies With beats But it's better to be labelled than to have no label at all, because if you've got no label nobody talks about you '
He has recently moved into DJing himself and it is in this capacity that he supports The Pastels The Glaswegian group were actually the first people to ask him to DJ at one of their gigs earlier this year »~ 'I thought "why not7", because I’ve got good iecoi'ds' »— and since then he has DJed foi Stereolab and compiled mix (IDs for release
'l work everyday but I tan't say it's like work because it would be shame to say this if you think of the people who work in factories,’ says this ties cool operator 'l used to woik in a computer factoiy and it's not the same thing at all, I can tell you I'm paid to smoke dope and make most I've not all the time I want ' (Fiona Shepherd)
FOLK TSB Hogmanay House
There's a lot of'Scottish music about — well, there has to be — in Edinburgh's Hogmanay's events, and while it’s mostly of the in-your-face, dance groove variety, there is one venue presenting a series of concerts, warmly indoors, and covering JUSI about the whole spectrum of our national music.
The TSB Hogmanay House (same venue as the August Grouse House but With a Winter sponsor) runs from Tuesday's Scottish Harp concert through to a final performance of Dance lndia on the Saturday, and even if you don't want to go to any of the half-a—dozen or so ticketed shows each night, you're free to hang around the bar, Where the informal mu5ic sessions only end when they stop serving around 3am,
if you like watching dance, then you have three chances to see Dance Base’s presentation of colourfully costumed dancing in Dance India - but only one chance (Wednesday) to catch the foot- tapping Step Dance show — and this is Scots and Cape Breton, not Ri'verdance lFISll, if you want to do the dancing, then the lvlarWicks at Midnight play ceilidhs, fiddling brother Gavm (Iron Horse) and his siblings powering the dance sets in traditional but never staid sets. Islander, the Wildcats of Kilkenny and Burach's exploding accordionist Sandy Brechin also Work as dance-floor propellants ~ all of the latter playing the four-floor Hogmanay night bash
Two growlers serve up some of the most SOUl-HOUTISllIllg contemporary sounds Michael Marra at his wittin reflective piano keyboard, and bluesman Tam White fronting his legendary, rarely-heard Big Band. But the heart of the long tradition of Scots song and mUSlC is best heard in the celebrated company of Dick Gaughan, Jock Tamson's Bairns or Archie Fisher (here With John Renbomn) and the younger wave of box, bagpipe and fiddle performers like Keep It Up (also playing With Ceolbeg at the City Art Centre, free on New Year's Day), ex- Capercaillie reedsman Fred Morrison and Wolfstone's master bowman Duncan Chisholm (Norman Chalmers) TSB Hogmanay House, Chambers Street. Tue 29 Dec-Sat 2 Jan. See Folk listings
Burach: watch out for the exploding accordionist
ll Dec 1998-? Jan 1999 THE UST 53