BBC SCOTTISH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
City Hall, Glasgow, Fri 14 Sep.
The BBC SSO rock the jocks
He’s not exactly a household name, but composer Ian Whyte is a vitally important figure in the history of Scottish music. In honour of the 100th anniversary of his birth and to celebrate the rich diversity of Scottish music, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra is launching a new series, The Composer In Scotland. Head of Music at BBC Scotland between 1935 and 1946, Whyte went on to become the BBC SSO’s principal conductor until his death in 1960. The orchestra’s present and admirable support of Scottish composers through regular programming of their music stems from these early days, resulting now in this fascinating year-long project: The Composer In Scotland.
Current BBC SSO Director, Hugh Macdonald, explains: ‘We have a long tradition of doing a certain amount of Scottish music, but we felt it was time to make a big feature of it.’ Composers to be heard include some who are long dead, including Whyte himself, whose Elegy For Strings appears in the first concert alongside the Piano Concerto by Thomas Wilson, who died earlier this year. There’s also music from composers who live and work in Scotland, such as James MacMillan, Edward Harper, Stuart MacRae and Sally Beamish. Other composers, including Judith Weir and Thea Musgrave, born here, but now living elsewhere, are very much part of what’s going on too. ‘The series is designed to give publicity to the fact that these composers are there, but also to make a statement about music in Scotland,’ says Macdonald. ‘As well as modern pieces, there are rarities like the little Concerto For Flute by John Thomson, who was a contemporary of Beethoven and Mendelssohn.’
The composers themselves, unsurprisingly, are thrilled about this latest development from the BBC SSO. ‘lt’s fantastic that they are programming this,’ says Sally Beamish, whose Violin Concerto can be heard in the Spring. ‘lt’s always a problem with new music, especially orchestral music, to keep it in the repertoire, so it’s wonderful for an orchestra to commission something and then bring it back.’ Another problem for Scottish composers is finding a publisher. ‘Very few of us have publishers,’ explains Beamish, ‘and however good your reviews are, you need someone to bring your music to the attention of the wider world. It’s very short-sighted to put money into new commissions when the sustaining backbone isn’t supported.’
It is fortunate that the BBC $80 is in a position to at least provide some of the much-needed support and to help raise the profile of this precious resource. ‘The series is not, however, meant to be comprehensive,’ says Macdonald. ‘There’s not a grand plan to it all. It’s simply a case of wanting
to do good music by good composers living in Scotland.’ (Carol Main)
THE KINGSBURY MANX AND HOWIE BECK
Nice ‘n’ Sleazy, Glasgow, Fri 14 Sep; Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, Sat 15 Sep.
Life-affirming country folk can pop up in the most unlikely of places. Next weekend it's worth taking the trip to Queen Margaret College‘s student union. for there you will find a couple of quality North American acts to soothe your troubled soul.
Headlining are The Kingsbury Manx, four young college graduates from North Carolina whose debut eponymous album sneaked in under the radar last year. only for its popularity to snowball in that way great rec0rds do. A blend of West Coast psychedelia. country and 605 folky pop, The Kingsbury Manx sound like The Byrds foolin' with the Beach Boys. and while it
ain't exactly new. who cares when it's done this well?
The band are in town to promote their excellent second album. Let You Down. out this week on City Slang — home to Lambchop and Calexico. which is an endorsement if ever there was one.
Sharing the bill with The Manx is Toronto-based Howie Beck. a solo singer/songwriter whose debut album. Hollow. has been a sensation in his home country of Canada. The man performed. wrote. produced and financed the album himself. and the success of his record has also grown through word-of-mouth. until it sat at the top of most end of year polls over there last year.
Basing his sound on a gentle Beatlesy psychedelia. Beck ploughs a similar furrow to Elliott Smith. with late night fragile. melancholic vocals creating an intense and mesmerising
atmOSphere on record. All in all it promises to be a real humdinger. (Doug Johnstone)
I Hollow by Howie Beck is Out now and Let You Down by The Kingsbury Manx is out Mon 29 Sep. both on City Slang.
The Kingsbury Manx have
METAL TATTOO THE PLANET
SECC, Glasgow, Sun 16 Sep.
Pantera steel the show
After the unsightly upsurge in trendy
rock this year it only seems correct that some of the true stalwarts of the great metal offensive should join growling. thrashing forces and put on a day of honest-to-goodness metal.
Not since the demise of the great Monsters Of Rock tOur have so many metal bands been put on the same bill outside the festival circuit and toured the UK. With this year's Ozzfest only playing one venue in the UK it makes Glasgow truly privileged to have such a plethora of debauchery rumbling into town.
Slayer co-headline with their unrelenting thrash metal and much derided ‘satanic‘ lyrics on this. their only Scottish date this year. As always they have stayed faithful to their roots and according to guitarist Kerry King ‘we don't feel the need to change because everyone else is'. They will be proving this with tracks from their latest album God Hates Us All. to be released in September.
Pantera will also be returning with their true metal style with frontman Philip Anselmo. proud they haven't compromised their style. 'We've
. survived every fucking trend and we're still here.‘ he says. 'Our fans know
we're true. right down to the fucking
. c0re.' They will be promoting their . album Reinventing The Steel which
they guarantee is .lOOOo bullshit proof'.
Another bullshit free band are Cradle of Filth. who will be bringing their black metal theatrics to the event. Other acts throwing themselves to the mercy of the baying moshpit are techno/goth metallers Static X. Visions of Disorder and the youthful punk metal mayhem that is Raging Speedhorn.
With such an incredible line-up this will be a gig to remember if not for the growling. thrashing metal but for the severe case of mosh neck you are guaranteed to have the next day. (Jane Hamilton)
(3 Sop-20 Sep 2001 THE LIST 45