From kitchen-sink dramatists Soft Cell to cinematic, slow-burning covers of Jacques Brel‘s darkest numbers, Marc Almond's career has always traced a unique line between the glamorous and the grim. And now, with his four-show run at this year's Flux Festival looming, it seems the singer’s interest in that subtle dichotomy is as prevalent as ever. ’lt's quite an intimate show,’ muses Almond. ‘lt’s like a journey through the night, with songs and spoken word sections all chosen to reflect the mysterious yet sophisticated nature of night culture. It’ll be like the darkest cabaret.’
The night is a theme that has coursed through Almond's finest work - from Soft Cell’s hard-edged ’Last Night In Sodom’ to his recent anthology of poetry and lyrics, Beautiful Twisted Night. 'I always find it easier to work and write at night - there are too many distractions during the day,’ explains the 40-year-old. ‘At night it's much more peaceful and conducive to the spirit and mood of the kind of things I’m writing about.’
Despite his book garnering impressive reviews from both broadsheets and the notoriously suspicious music press, Almond found the publishing process far from smooth. ’It took a long, long time to put Beautiful Twisted Night out, because most of the people I approached wanted it to be some kind of glossy pop book full of glamorous press photographs and showbizzy revelations. They wanted many of the edgier, grittier observations to be left out. But I was very proud of it and decided I had to stand my ground. Thankfully,
Mist in the tale: Marc Almond
the end result is the real me and not the me that certain people would have you believe.’
With his gruelling recording and touring schedule (including a highly-acclaimed recent run at the Royal Albert Hall, no less) the multi-tattooed star believes that it's life’s simple pleasures that keep him grounded. 'T he most important things in my life are happiness, friends and my health.’ says Almond. ‘I still feel excited about making music and being in the industry. I've never become tired or stuck for ideas. And so long as I retain my enthusiasm, I think I'll always be happy.'(Sarah Dempster) ' Marc Almond (Fringe) Flux, Queen’s Hall, 668 2079. 27-29 Aug 70.45pm; 30 Aug 77. 75pm, £72.50.
Kurtag wrote with less complexity as he grew older. However, The Sayings Of Peter Bornemisza is an immensely complex piece which makes huge demands on the performers. Apart from Hardy, there are only two or three singers worldwide who perform it. Both Hardy and Aimard are in the unique position of having worked closely with the composer; so, says Hardy, 'The Edinburgh audience will hear the result of an intense collaboration, which is the nearest you're going to get to an "authentic" performance.’
Kurtag’s music is exquisitely crafted, particularly in terms of its scale, and is remarkable for the way he uses sound to produce a vast range of colour.
Really saying sometig: Gyorgy Kurtag
The Sayings 0f Peter Bornemisza By Gyorgy Kurtag
It will certainly not be easy listening; but Gyorgy Kurtag's The Sayings 0f Peter Bornemisza promises to reward effort several times over. A marathon 45 minutes for soprano Rosemary Hardy and pianist Pierre-Laurent
Aimard, it is a setting of writings by the 16th century Hungarian mystic who lends it his name. 'The piece is basically describing the journey of man, and tries to get away from the nastiness of the human soul, which is compared to shit or a can of maggots. lt hits the real depth of suffering of human nature,’ says Hardy.
The range of works being performed in the Festival will demonstrate that
'This piece ends up very beautifully and hopefully,’ explains Hardy. 'Audiences will find it very moving if they absorb themselves in it totally.’ (Carol Main)
1 Kurtag: The Sayings Of Peter Bornemisza (International) Rosemary Hardy and Pierre-Laurent Aimard. Queen’s Hall, 4 73 2000, Sun 29 Aug, 3pm, £72 (free pre-performance talk 2pm).
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This issue’s best gigs ROCK Nick Cave You should go, because if you don’t someone you know will, and they won’t shut up about it for years and years, and you'll kick yourself. The world's finest exponent of doom, gloom and heart- wrenching balladry is King of Flux, whether Jarvis likes it or not. Nick Cave (Fringe/Flux) Princes Street Gardens, 668 2079, Fri 27 Aug, 8pm, £72.50 (£70). Pulp Having said that, the skinny man and his dapper crew have been quiet of late, and it'll be interesting to see what they've got up their Bri- Nylon sleeves. Pulp (Fringe/Flux) Queen '5 Hall, 668 2079, Tue 37 Aug, 8pm. £72.50. Tindersticks Another Flux coup. The ’Sticks need no introduction; unless you've never heard them, in which case kill for a ticket and discover true beauty. Tindersticks (Fringe/Flux) Queen’s Hall, 668 2079, Mon 30 Aug, 8pm, £77. WORLD Fly, Fly, My Sadness Mongolian throat singers Huun Huur Tu and Bulgarian women’s choir Angelite, both rapturously acclaimed in their own right, collaborate with the Moscow Art Trio to stunning effect. Fly, Fly, My Sadness (Fringe) Huun Huur Tu/Angelite, Grafﬁti (Venue 90) 557 8330, until 30 Aug, times vary, £75 (£72).
‘ I-r. :91 Black Umfolosi Joyous a cappella troupe from Zimbabwe, with rich, deep close harmony vocals and athletic traditional dance routines. Black Umfolosi (Fringe) Beck ’5 Spiegeltent (Venue 87) 225 9999, 27-28 Aug. 2pm, £8 (£7).
26 Aug—9 Sep 1999 THE UST 53