Reviews

Concert Reviews 2000-2003

ThreeWeeks eDaily - the complete guide to the Edinburgh Festival - 12 Aug 2004

The RageDave Heath with The Paragon Ensemble Watching this performance is seeing a genius at work. Dave Heath,together with The Paragon Ensemble, begins his first composition by re-creating the sounds of the rainforest using a hand-made contraption, giving a clear indication of his penchant for the experimental. Taking you on a journey through the dark, the melancholic, the comedic and the impassioned, all with a subtle social conscience, the highlight for me was undoubtedly the chilling take on John Lennon's 'Imagine' which is sure to raise the hairs on your neck. Raging against the machine with poignancy and flair, this is a unique experience for those wishing to see something completely out of the ordinary. Assembly Rooms, 6-14 Aug, 8:55pm (9:55pm), prices vary, fpp 113 tw rating: 4/5 [mh]

Heath/Paragon ensemble ***** Glasgow Royal concert hall May 2003

The idea behind the Paragon's In good company series is to offer complementary programmes to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall's main International Celebrity Series.

So when you get suave sophisticated James Galway fluting his way through French repertoire one week ,along comes Dave Heath the next, rasping and spitting into his tarnished assortment of flutes looking like an ageing rocker and offering gentle anarchy in place of soft centred pleasantries.

Last night's collection of works-all but one by Heath himself-form an anthology he calls The Rage,written when he was composer in residence with the BT Scottish Ensemble.Outermost are the bookends,the Rage part one and the rage part two.Their mutative language flitting restively between impressionist harmonies and rhythmically driven rock is typical of the composers-high octane effortless presentation.Heath is sometimes difficult to fathom but always fun to watch.

On Fire,his tribute to Jacqeline Du Pre and her fight against multiple sclerosis is a powerful piece.Pianist Lynda Cochrane's performance held nothing back.By the end,Scotlands finest session pianist was knocking clusters of the keyboard like Rachmaninov on ecstasy.Gentler moments dominated the lilting Celtic landscape of Lochalsh which solo violinist Greg Lawson threw off with panache against the droning Paragon strings.

Then came the cabaret. Oxbridge,a flagrant parody on Schoenberg and those who deified his didactic 12-tone teaching,fires a shot at precious intellectualism.Dressed like a nutty professor, Heath played the role to satirical perfection-singing drivel in a Peter Pears tenor voice,and flouting his way off stage to the musical equivalent of a two fingered salute that made missing last nights UEFA cup final all the more painless.No extra time needed here.

Kenneth Walton.

Glasgow Herald May 2003

Dave Heath is still firing his slings and arrows.Years on,the UK's most outrageous yet accessible contemporary composer is still poking fun at convention,and,in his own direct yet inoffensive manner,sending up the establishment.Nothing as he demonstrated throughout the concert of his own music last night with the Paragon Ensemble is sacred or secure from his firm yet gentle dig in the ribs-from the London Sinfonietta [which banned his music] to the icons or intellectualism at Oxbridge[mercilessly caricatured] to political leaders [brutally satirised] to dare I say it-the writer of this column,sent up simply because he was there.

In a way,Heath's music-a batch of pieces for variety of instruments,featuring Heath's own virtuoso prowess as a flautist,and unveiled under the collective title of The Rage-was not at all conventionally "angry". It is that,if anything which makes his music as effective as it is.Were he the typically raging,rhetorical composer,he would protest too much.Heath instead,chooses the lethal combination of laid back humour,allied to bluesy,soulful, impassioned music,to make his point:and there is nothing so effective in it's demolition of convention as humour and wit.

In an around Heath's iconoclastic view of contemporary music ideology were some striking piece of music,not least his painful compassionate reflection on the tragic illness of Jacqueline Du Pre,his evocative reinterpretation of Albinoni's adagio,and the remarkable Lochalsh,which reflects the pluralistic intentions of the composer in its Aly Bain snatches,and its tumbling sequences borrowed [conceptually] from the seething saxophone riffs of John Coltrane. The playing of the Paragon Ensemble was outstanding in technique and atmosphere.

Michael Tumelty

ThreeWeeks eDaily - the complete guide to the Edinburgh Festival - 12 Aug 2004

The Rage

Dave Heath with The Paragon Ensemble

Watching this performance is seeing a genius at work. Dave Heath,together with The Paragon Ensemble, begins his first composition by re-creating the sounds of the rainforest using a hand-made contraption, giving a clear indication of his penchant for the experimental. Taking you on a journey through the dark, the melancholic, the comedic and the impassioned, all with a subtle social conscience, the highlight for me was undoubtedly the chilling take on John Lennon's 'Imagine' which is sure to raise the hairs on your neck. Raging against the machine with poignancy and flair, this is a unique experience for those wishing to see something completely out of the ordinary. Assembly Rooms, 6-14 Aug, 8:55pm (9:55pm), prices vary, fpp 113 tw rating: 4/5 [mh]

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