Music: Classical: Last of the angry young men

The Music of DC Heath

QEH and Hellenic Centre, London

You can't help liking that old rebel Dave Heath, nor The Rage for bass flute and strings, first performed by the BT Scottish Ensemble and given its London premiere by Heath's own DC Heath Band on Monday at the QEH. One reason why is that, far from bearing just the marks of his famous anger, it's a score of sonorous beauty that matches fury with elegance. Heath in print or speech seems engaged with every injustice under the sun. The effect can be rebarbative. In music, however, he reveals a gifted creative persona that boasts both craft and fantasy, with a wicked sense of timing.

On Monday evening, this was forcefully evident in The Rage's final part, which matched the title's mood by having the players both stamp and shout. A much-hyped feature of the concert, the gestures themselves were pretty tame by the standards of the 1960s avant-garde. What impressed more was how these and other ideas, heard earlier on, were skilfully paced as matters of musical reflex. In Sarajevo, for example, Albinoni's Adagio, paraphrased in terms of air-raid sirens mimicked on violins, held a fine aesthetic balance between noise, artful sound and Jimi Hendrix cello.

Kyle of Lochalsh put a different gloss on the same kind of skills. Here, some standard terms of Celtic dance - fiddle tunes with boisterous backing - were fitted together with a gift for effect that even our senior composer of Scottish jigs might cherish or envy.

Composing, after all, is not just a matter of quilting patches. Knowing when to move on, to what and how, is the essence of playing the game. If The Rage, with its opening rainforest evocation, did this on the larger scale, Heath's shorter pieces, powerful reflections of his love of jazz, and of John Coltrane's jazz especially, were no less strong in their sense of improvisation captured within a rounded musical form. No mean performer, Heath himself was soloist in the earliest of them, Out of the Cool, for flute and piano. It sounded fun to play. So did Coltrane, which Simon Haram gave with control and impassioned understanding on the soprano saxophone.

The following evening, at the Hellenic Centre, Coltrane could be heard again, this time on clarinet and given by another outstanding young player, Tom Watmough. In his hands, the piece seemed rather less wild; he drew instead on its poetic origins: a vision of Coltrane communing on a misty mountain to the sounds of jazz and ragas.

Clio Gould (of the DC Heath Band) played Bach's E major Partita and led the excellent Eos Ensemble in Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale, with Simon Callow narrating. Conducted by Charles Hazlewood, who also stylishly compered the evening, this crisp, polished reading never faded or faltered. Stravinsky's rhythms are usually thought of as a challenge for musicians. It was good to hear them tried and not found wanting by a thoroughly musical actor as well.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Graduate / Junior C# Developer

    £18000 - £25000 Per Annum + bonus and benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

    Drama Teacher

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Drama Teacher Required! The jobWe are ...

    Nursery Worker

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Nursery Worker (permanent) Greater ...

    English Teacher - long term assignment in Cheshire

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: English Teacher - long term job opport...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits