MUSIC; Are you listening Lady Thatcher?
The Rare Music Club Exeter, then tours
Friday 28 April 1995
Mujician opened the evening with a masterful performance of unreconstructed free jazz, meditative and fiery by turns, which showed that in such a hit-and-miss genre, there is probably no one with a higher scoring average. The group excels at maintaining an intensity of sound over a huge dynamic range and inevitably recalls the late quartet performances of John Coltrane, with the keening wail - part threnody, part physical assault - of Paul Dunmall's soprano sax grounded by Tippett's insistent, repetitive figures and the drummer Tony Levin's ceaseless invention, Penderecki mixed with press rolls.
The Northumbrian pipes differ from their Scottish cousins mainly, as someone once said, by being a musical instrument. They are also squeezed not blown, and Pauline Cato looked as if she were cradling a swan in her lap, plumping the feathered breast with her elbow while coaxing sweet notes from its neck. If the notes occasionally sounded too like Rolf Harris's stylophone for comfort, a final selection of waltzes was beautifully played, suggesting unimagined correspondences between Tex-Mex and Geordie cultures.
The Balanescus topped the bill with a selection of original Alex Balanescu compositions inspired by the historic changes in Eastern Europe. Playing with contact microphones on their instruments, and at one point augmented by a DAT tape, with the leader intoning dates and slogans over the top, the sound was at first as thin and boxy as a ghettoblaster. But as the group relaxed and eased the weight of their bowing, which had previously made everything sound as harsh as their album of Kraftwerk tunes, they eventually triumphed, a final suite being dispatched with great elegance and feeling, Balanescu summoning up the melancholy ghost of a table-waiting gypsy violinist with great elan.
Tippett also made a most effective compre, far outstripping Ronnie Scott for wit. When he first had the idea for the Rare Music Club, he said, he wrote to Margaret Thatcher telling her of his plans to mix normally segregated forms of music and hoping for a little help with funding. Her reply, he said, was simply, "You can't", although he wondered if this was a spelling error. It must be the way he tells them.
n The Rare Music Club plays the Grace Room, Bristol Thurs 4 May; Custard Factory, Birmingham, Fri 5 May, and South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell, Sat 20 May
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets
Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 David Cameron refers to 83-year-old Labour MP Dennis Skinner as 'Jurassic Park'
- 3 Alton Towers Air breaks down: 80 people stuck on broken down Monorail during heatwave
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Alwaleed bin Talal: Saudi Prince to donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
The Rolling Stones announce biggest ever touring rock exhibition with Saatchi Gallery
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
'Dukes of Hazzard' pulled from screens by CBS as outcry over Confederate flag grows
Game of Thrones season 6: Release date, plots and dragons - everything we know so far
Glastonbury 2015: The Who mock Kanye West - 'who's the biggest rock star in the world?'
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS