Thursday, January 09, 2003


Further to earlier items: In ‘Improvising into 2003’ (below) I mentioned Uri Caine’s Beethoven album as forthcoming. In fact his 33 Variations in C on a Waltz by Diabelli, the 'Diabelli Variations', came out on Winter & Winter 9100862WIN in October 2002. I must not have been paying attention. Caine is interviewed in January’s Gramophone magazine, which curiously enough also features a review of King Crimson’s first album, ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’ (1970) by twentieth century music and culture critic Richard Whitehouse. His favourable take on the more adventurous elements of early ‘70s progressive rock (“this most inventive movement”) is certainly unexpected. Crim’s later, more outré work, like THRaKaTTaCK is hinted at but not described.

This positive overture to ‘prog’ (which I will be reflecting on more in a future NFE article and links feature) reminds me of the late Derek Jewell’s ‘70s BBC Radio 3 programme, Sounds Interesting, which introduced me to the genre. Jewell was jazz critic for The Sunday Times and adopted that respectful, thoughtful and constructive outlook on life that is now (along with progressive rock, admittedly a rather shop-soiled concept 25 + years on) about as fashionable as measles. But he at least had the overwhelming merit of being more interested in the quality of music than the tide of opinion.

On a rather different note, there are several articles in The Guardian’s archive about the premier performance of the BBC Music Magazine commission, the contemporary variations on Purcell’s ‘Bright Cecilia!’ (see NFE 42.2 ), including an entertaining one – ‘All Together Now’ -by composer Colin Matthews.

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