I haven’t written about music here much yet. I’ve broad tastes but generally I like things that make a demand on the listener – almost to not wanting to know what’s coming – so most pop and rock bores me rigid (OK there’s the Kinks).
The last few days I’ve been listening to two Tippets. Keith Tippet, the very innovative and now rather veteran British Jazz pianist (I picked up a copy of he double Tapestry Orchestra, Live at Le Mans, recorded in 1998, with Julie Tippets – once Driscoll who oldies will remember for the eye make-up and This Wheel’s On Fire, and others on vocals). And Michael Tippet, the modern British classical composer of Child of Our Time fame – I’ve been playing the 2 piano concertos. Both Tippets’ work is fairly challenging but well worth the effort and although the genres are distinct, I detect something in common. But they aren’t related – in fact Keith was born Tippets not Tippet (a name his wife Julie has retained).
I called them British, but I would have said there is something English about their work. And I do like the English 20th century classical composers – Walton, Vaughan Williams, Butterworth,and people from the jazz side like John Surman especially. However I’ve now discovered Erik Chisholm, a Scot who wrote (among other things) two wonderful piano concertos – I heard the first on R3 by chance and bought the disc with both on it on the strength of that. The First is based on the tradition of Highland bagpipe music – you can hear that, but it’s completely reworked in modernist vein. And the second is in contrast based on Indian Ragas. Both are rather wonderful yet I’d never heard of Chisholm before. I wonder how many other such composers are unjustifiably obscure to us – the North American, Amy Beech is another example.
But tomorrow (I do like variety) I might dig out Victor Jara again – I haven’t listened to him for some time and the biennial festival in his memory El Sueño Existe is coming up at the end of August – and this will be close to the 40th anniversary on 11 September of the coup in Chile in which he was murdered by the military in the first days. Hearing of that coup is one of those moments for which at least some of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing.