The Guardian from London, Greater London, England on September 24, 1973 · 10
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The Guardian from London, Greater London, England · 10

London, Greater London, England
Issue Date:
Monday, September 24, 1973
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ARTS GUARDIAN 10 Monday September 24 1973 BY THE END, 1 was glad 1 had stayed. For reasons not merely chauvinistic it was satisfying to see Mick Rhodes's The Making of a Natural History FilmJVadd a Prix-Italia to its other laurels as a mark of international excellence. Its delicate mixture of technical explanation, human jollity; and those -miraculous and dramatic stickleback pictures makes it compulsive even a't the fourth viewing, and this time even the commentary shone asxthe international audience got most of its few laughs of the week. More particularly, in the context of this major international review, by its ambition, let alone achievement, it was streets ahead of the field. If the Prix Italia festival is for anything, it - must be to encourage . programme makers in its three categories music, .drama, documentary to aim not just for excellence but for ways of actually extending the boundaries of this still adolescent medium. Yet it is curious how with 20-odd countries choosing from the. cream of thpir output, a whole section could suddenly slump, and this vear that happened dampen-ingly with the documentary and disastrously with the music. You would expect some sort of averaging out process to produce always two or three notable goodies, but the year that saw the British gain their third documentary win in a row (Ken Ashton's " We Was All One " for Thames took it last year, and Robin Brown's ' The Tribe That Hides From Man" for ATV in 1971) brought no real rival. Last year, coming fresh to the Italia, I remarked on my surprise at finding how good the Japanese were in all sections. This year their drama was a lushly filmed exercise in inscrutability universally yawned at. and the documentary a positive disgrace : allowed into China to look at you guessed acupuncture, they pointed their cameras lovingly at the blood-laden sur. sery while letting ' the wns of the revolution write the script, not a doubt, not even an explanation, tnintins; its risible warship of the needle-stickins glories of the State. The Russians, in for the first time, offered a lough denunciation of a society that exploits a minority would you believe India ? And the Germans attempted to build a ponderous moral edifice upon the volunteers from the audience who fire the bullets a cabaret performer catches in his teeth, but were notably unkeen to ask him or show us how it was done. The publicity must have made his fortune. There was. ever, much pointing of cameras at works of art, almost all of it more concerned with lighting than illumination, and as much more-or-Iess disguised travelogue. The more acceptable social documentaries simply lacked anything to lift them out of the rut. Ireland put in Tom McGurk's report or. the Ulster- DIANA ROSS in Manchester by Barry Coleman THE LAST TIME Diana Ross was in Manchester she was a Supreme, a popular favourite in the sexual fantasy stakes, busily belting out Motown's tight and groovy commercial pop. Since then her solo career, her unexpected appearance as Billie Holiday and above all Berry Gordy Junior (her Svengali-style manager who has done more for Detroit's image than anyone since Henry Ford) have worked some wondrous things. Her appearance at the Manchester Palace on Saturday was much less a concert ""than the personal appearance of a goddess.of the silver" screen or the queen of the cosmic discotheque. However Gordy did it (" If he can think of it. I'll do it," says Miss Ross), it's most impressive in less than five years. Brittle beauty and a come-hither voice (whether you whisper or sing with it) have traditionally been the ingredients of stardom. And it is no accident that Diana Ross is hard pop's first really successful throwback to Hollvwood. Polished and engineered to a kind of luminescent perfection, her apnear-ance was a match for iust about anyone in the goddess business : but her performance was disapnointinglv short of her image. For better or worse her publicity and her success in the film have now nlaced her in a minutely exclusive class of top level MUSICA NOVA concert by Gerald Larner IT IS SAD that Luciano Beno could not get to Glasgow last week, but the ' other three of Musica Nova's composer-guests were there Peter Maxwell Davies (a day late), Gyorgy Ligeti, and Martin Dalby. At Glasgow University they gave lectures, took part in seminars with selected students and discussions with the public, and assisted at rehearsals of their own music. Finally, in the City Hall on Saturday, they heard the first performances of the works jointly commissioned for Musica Nova by Glasgow University and the Scottish National Orchestra Each composer had something harsh to say about rehearsing in the " swimmy " acoustics of the Bute Hall at the University for four days, and then giving' the concert in the quite different conditions at the City Hall. They would also have liked more detailed, sectional rehearsals to do some " basic sorting out," as MaxweH Davies put it. But they thought the whole exercise worth while and were full of praise for Alexander Gibson (" steady as a rock ") and the SNO : "There are better orchestras in the world," Ligeti said. "But even very good orchestras hate my music. In Glasgow there was no hate from the orchestra." which surprised him, considering the new fingering they had to learn before they could play his micro-tones. Actually, the Ligeti work was the onlv one of the four not commissioned for" Saturday's concert. His Concerto for flute, oboe, and orchestra, had not been heard before in Britain, however, and it was fascinating to hear another . piece created by the world's most fastidious ear, now exploring the area between the semitones of the tempered ? scale. Of course, it is no ordinary con-certo.' The solo instruments are made to Wend, with their orchestral collea-. sues and onlv occasionally to stand out 'from them. It is here, 'in the varying . blends and in the teasing changes in persrpective, that the attraction of the Concerto lies and rather dn the slow, almost static first movement than in the buzzing activity of the second. Right : A scene from ' Smog ' Peter Fiddick reports from Venice on the Prix Italia where Britain won the TV documentary prize. 4 By its ambitidn, let alone achievement, ,H, it was streets ahead of the field. If the festival is for anything, it must be to encourage programme makers to aim not just for excellence but for ways of extending the boundaries of an adolescent medium ' man's view of the South already seen here in " Midweek " : the French had a charming and sensitive piece about the meeting of two pen-friends from very different backgrounds. deservedly listed anion? the jury's honourable mentions ; and so on. Only the Dutch entry had real style and a sure deadpan touch in its look at various aspects of national life, but this was a compilation of the best bits from a magazine programme so a bit of a cheat. But the really inspiring section, opening the week with 12 hours' view-tug calculated to make even an environment ablaze with Tiepolos less glorious a prospect than the next plane home, was the music. This is the area in which at least you can usually reckon on a bit of technical whizzery as desperate directors strike out towards the electronic limits in efforts to new things with ballet or the serried orchestral ranks. The lack of inventiveness this year is reflected in the jury's award, to a German symphony concert which was done laboriously on film three cameras constantly rolling through three performances to give the director s nine sets of images to juggle in the cutting - room and even then he resorted to coloured lights on the keyboard and much intense mugging from the pianist. Nothing here was going to advance the art of television, if only because most of the world's producers, ours included, couldn't and probably shouldn't afford it. The award of the other music prize female entertainers. Her attempts to live up to it are the great weakness of her presentation. Her voice is versatile and interesting when used for singing but used for talking makes her sound rather weak and silly, particularly when she's dishing out the wettest variety of show-biz platitudes. Making tasteless jokes about being pregnant, and about frogs with deep throats walking about in the audience, or even having her witticisms underlined by discreet drum rolls, is no sort of makeweight for the presence of a Streisand or a Minelli. She was strong on singing but desperately weak on show-biz. She sang through some Supremos hits, either wholly or in part, some of her solo successes, did some nice versions of pop standards and inevitably sang a sampler of "Jesus Christ Superstar." She finished the pre-encore show with a selection from her Billie Holiday repertoire. It would be pointless to add to. the speculation on whether Diana- Ross .sounds like Billie Holiday (all the women singers sound like her to some extent). However, her rendition of " Good Morning Heartache" was her best song and with it she created the .sort of., magical illusion which is really the ' proper business of entertaining. With her assets she should be able to do it much more often. in Glasgow which is bumble-beeish and conventionally fluttery. The soloists were William Bennett and Michael Dobson. Of the commissioned works, Berio's ' Still " was disappointing. For much of its 'duration it consists of a series of blotched chords, irregularly spaced by silences with the occasional acceleration and extra-loud crash. How long can he keep it up ? A cynical estimate is that, since the .terms of the commission must have required a piece of at least ten minutes, ten minutes is the length of time Berio can keep it up. But the final gestures expected in the tenth minute are cunningly delayed. Then, a little later, melodic lines weave around the chords for a few seconds, and that's it. Far more art and imagination were put into " The Tower of Victory," by Martin Dalby, the one Scottish composer represented, who offered interesting, impressionistic details of sound and rhythm, though in no compeMing order. The most ambitious work in the programme was Peter Maxwell Davies's " Stone Litany : Runes from a House of the Dead." It was inspired by runic inscriptions in the neolithic tomb of Maes Howe on Orkney, the island where the composer now spends much of his time. Whether this will transform him into the Arnold Bax of his generation is doubtful, but not all that unlikely, for " Stone Litany " is a not unromantic piece and not without its twilight mystery. The first orchestral ' bars are actually pretty, and every entry of the voice is beautifully contrived (and presumably not only when the incomparable Jan de Gaetani sings the part). Between these points there is no parody but there is serious brooding and impassioned development, all very impressive. . I don't know about the details, but each one of these performances was obviously guided' 'by a complete awareness of what the work was about. It was a splendid achievement by the Scottish Nationl Orchestra and a conductor who, according . to Maxwell Davies, is "a. very good psychologist with an orchestra in ' this situation." And what a situation it was. r L??a I. if r tail l . l' given by the city of Venice to Japan merely confirmed the general sterility. Entitled " Gen the Mystery of Mysteries." it endeavoured to transmit "the feel of a certain oriental philosophy, by a rhythmic compilation of images over a spiky modernistic score. The images tended to banality landscapes, flowers, a contemplative monk and that the score actually fought rather than integrated them is therefore mine against theirs. It had a certain originality of concept and effort that was otherwise lacking, but by the end of a most depressing day,vnothing distinguished it from the string of avant garde percussive composition that followed, by the luck of the draw, taking Granada's Stomu Yamashta ballet (Britain's only entry since the BBC were on the jury) with them, decently crafted though it was. Still, in a normal year we don't reckon to win either indeed, never have. Partly this has been due to the old rules, which until two years ago demanded that the music itself be actually created for television (but " Owen Wingrave " in its day was too long). It seems fair to draw the harsher judgment too, though, that our music output, exciting though some of it is, does not in truth push towards new ideas. The last thing one wants is to have programmes made in the hope of winning festivals, and one can think of a few exceptions like the BBC's recently-repeated analysis of the Bran- review Diana koss : Manchester THE HALLE in Manchester by Gerald Larner JAMES - LOUGHRAN changed his Berlioz overture and opened the Halle Sunday series with " King Lear." " Le Corsaire "-turns up every few months ; " King Lear " has not been performed at a -Halle concert since 1895, which is no 'doubt why it sounded a little rusty last night. But it was clear enough, its dark and, tragic colours well reproduced, and so dramatically organised that the interpretation overcame several gaps in a clumsy construction.,.. In spite " of the contrary evidence of some rust, the other two works have both been performed a few times since 1895 the most popular of piano concertos, Tchaikovsky's First in B flat minor, and the current favourite among symphonies, Dvorak's Eighth in G. The soloist in the Tchaikovsky, was John Lill. one of the few pianists equipped to play the work in all its aspects. Even he failed in some details. But he offered an' impressively firm first movement, ' which was effectively offset in a delightfully lyrical Andantino (where the,orohestra was at last taking a keen interest) and again in a brilliantly playful last movement (where the orchestra made a substantial contribution at the great-climax of the work). The performance of Dvorak's Eighth Symphony was very much better than the last given' in the Free Trade Hall, not very long ago. by this orchestra and this conductor. To come out in all its freshness it still needs more careful attention to the dynamics like the quiet extremes of the cello melody at the beginning and on its later reappearance, soon followed by what ought to be a shattering contrast but was not. And the drawling clarinets in the Adagio are no more convincing for- being traditional. But certainly Mr Loughran and the Halle Orchestra did communicate their mutual joy in the work more and more of it 'as the performance went on, with a particularly attractive string sound in the- third movement and a superbly shaped finale. , 3 . - denburgs, a model of visual ingenuity. But it is perhaps time a few more directors were given the time, money, and chance to make mistakes with the ' box!s whole repertory of tricks instead of pointing a studio full of expensive equipment at Andre Previn. Ironically, it is in, drama that we are' suddenly making the biggest jumps. We have seen two splendid pieces of work this year based entirely on the use of chroma-key, the electronic process for superimposing images : James MacTaggart's version of " Candide " and more recently Granada's production of Alun Owen's "Buttons," both' achieving terrific pace and zest by putting their full-colour actors in a world of fast-changing drawings. And now MacTaegart is coming up with "Through The Looking Glass" in similar style. If the BBC had entered " Candide " or ITV " Buttons " for this year's Italia, thev would very possibly have won. and would certainly have gained international plaudits. For one thing, theyj were both funny, and there wa precious little of that. (And thev will all still be eligible next year. . . .) As it was, the Germans set the terms of the debate at Venice, though the Swedes very deservedly picked up the prize. The entry from Germany's ARD network. Bluntly called "Smog." was a forceful evocation of what could happen to their, industrial areas if pollution is not reduced and certain weather conditions coincide. Apart from the common fault of being too RLPO in Liverpool by Helen Tetlow THE Royal Liverpool Philharmonic continued its concert series with a Saturday evening programme of Sibelius, Delius and Beethoven conducted by Meredith Davies. If the evening seemed rather faded, this could have been due to the distancing of three already muted works in the Philharmonic Hall ; but it was certainly due to a lack of the instinctive playing essential for successful performances of-Sibelius and Delius. "Brigg Fair" began well. Some languorous unfolding from flute and strings had exactly that ' sense of flow' which, according to Delius was the only thing that mattered. This spontaneity was lost in the tuttis. Rather stolid playing tended towards sluggishness and was hardly in keeping with the English folk song basis of the piece. PHOENIX OPERA in Billingham by Denis Smalley-- PHOENIX OPERA, with the support of DALTA, has just started a two months tour, taking with them The'-Marriage' of Figaro, a revival of Flotow's " Martha " and Tom Hawkes's new production of Madam Butterfly which had its first periormance at the Forum Theatre.' Billingham, on Saturday. . Albert Rosen tried to bring his fine ' sense of urgency and command of rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic evo- lution to the piipce. I say " Tried " because orchestra, singers, and musical director are not-yet one : the opening fugato was out of synchronisation along with small details of orchestral cohesion (when the harp doubles flute's , for instance) ; aid at climax points all three were not always agreed on the dynamic and rhythmic intensity. But all this is only a matter of practice. Rosen has some fine clear voices to work with Butterfly (Milla Andrew) was ideal apa-t from an occasional hardness on top notes and her temptation to swoop too much when excited. But what turns excellent musical potential into an average production is the production itself. The set some platforms, a chunk of building and a backdrop of staggered screens looking like shosi high rise were only broken JOEL CRAY at the Palladium by Michael Billington SUNDAY NIGHT at the London Palladium has brought " us some emarkable entertainers this year; Jack Benny, Jim Bailey, and last night the diminutive and electrifying Joel Gray who played the epicene MC in "Cabaret" both, on Broadway and in the 1 movie. - A standing ovation first house is almost unheard of ; but last night Mr Gray got it and earned it for a dazzling hour-long selection of songs from hit musicals. His size (5t Sin.) is curiously enough a great asset ; for it is coupled with a quivering restless energy that sometimes gives him the appearance of a jet -fuelled elf. Many singers lookas if the journey from the wings to the- macro-phone leaves them faintly winded ; Mr Gray,- however, covers every, inch, of, the stage in circular bursts of energy often in the bent kneed style of Groucho chasing Margaret Dumont. Indeed, his best- numbers are' his most manic; a rousing Rumanian folk song which he ends whirling like a demented Dervish, his coat tails flying in the breeze ; George , H. Coharihits like "Yankee Doodle" Dandy where lie does the' bottom bulging, forward loot, it was staged. wdth blockbuster, force by using the framework of the television reporting of the emergency ori-the-spots, vox-pops, studio pundits, ; national appeals, the lot. " It -is an. approach that makes many television; men, c nervous (V What .if ;-jtb.epublic.t-thinks it's real. - . ?) and . caused such: a Hresurgence , .of . the - debate ' about, draffitised .documentaries as to blur , nhimasii,' Kfl,,t-mii)t in jthnW. BV- - 'tho4rae'-ths junr'!deUveredts verdict . . .'Jtjk'' 'MlXJi "'M.a4,hMfl ' ..nil .Mil 4 tln' 1H ttawsjhV-that everything ..with a car . in WM'quasi-documentairyindictmentiof -"'theindustrialised- -'society..1 'and the - Swedish " Crash ". the best of them. 'The- truth .was' very -different. Crash" was 'certainly ri. explicit treatment of- the way) motorcars can " rule -people, -'in their Mife-styles, their psychology, their social attitudes. And it finishes' with a rather heavy-handed A.iot'.iiiii Rut that blemish Laciiujwii iv haul . apart, it is also a very cleverly wrought : television piay ana in no w , mentary; unless, you want to say that -, o'the'S lability to ;use 'fllni' .to make , an'xnmont cum riual and a car-MaSh 'realistic constitutes -documentary. - In showing. how - different people the1 cautious pensioner, the family, man . -bursting with tensions, the young' lad who's' had a row with his girl finish . , up :ia the same ploody heap, " Crash is:. solidly founded , on a dramatist s ability to create characters. What seemed to me a far more important line for discussion, on the basis of the Italia drama entries, is that between the use of film for television and for the cinema there is a lot of very expensive, colour film on show these days. " Cider With Rosie.' the BBC's entry, ranks among it. The Italians showed a piece about family alienation in the upper-middle classes by Ermanno Olmi. The Russians, a Pushkin story done with much attention to landscape, much off-screen narration, and not much meeting of people, and likewise the Japanese. The BeLgians' saga of a middle-aged dropout, and " Crash " itself made similar use o filmic externals. The Swedes nearly entered a Bergman film instead. The question all this brings into focus concerns what it is that penetrates the small screen. It is clear that there is much to be gained from moving out of the studio into the real world. It is also clear that we don't vet know quite what. The Olmi film, all long-shot and moodiness, with scarcely a word spoken close enough to test the sync, totally failed to connect. So. for me though not all. did the Pushkin. The things that live most in the memory brought, not necessarily the words, but the people to the centre. And though that modest suggestion is not going to help anyone much, the most intriguing recollection is that they include the Finnish and the Danish contributions in black and white. The performance of Sibelius's Third Symphony was also patchy. Admittedly this is a transitional work, veering from an open air classicism to shrouded passages predicting the later works. But this is no excuse for an uncommitted . approach. Occasional enthusiasm such as the muted pizzicato passages in the second movement were apparent, but as a whole the work sounded mundane. Thankfully, this was not the case in Beethoven's Violin Concerto with soloist Ida Haendel in a very introspective mood. Every note was impeccably placed (some accomplish-., ment in a concerto which derives so much from scale' and arpeggio formulae) giving a finely drawn interpretation marred only by some unnecessary swoops. Not a demonstrative, but a lyrical performance. bv two shaky blossoming trees was not really ideal to enrich the ambience of Butterfly's situation and household. Though economical for travelling, it was too small for the Forum Theatre's stage. It is irritating to see every entry and exit on" its way from the wings; and in Act Two there was too wide a sense of space for tense domestic tragedy. The final scene was carelessly handled. The Pinkertons and Sharpless looked in for some child snatching and took, off with indecent not logical haste. Nor is it what Puccini suggests. And the child himself must not just be a -passive doll he is the final tragjc touch and the one who gets the audience's tears. Butterfly, convincing in Act One. appeared in dress and acted positively matronly in Act Two ; , ana tnat wmte ni-gntaress line casugcgvz of dress should and needs to take place . on stage) must have been borrowed from some television commercial. (The other costumes were -excellent.) The ultimate in -tastelessness came.witb the synthetic birds which "ruined -the orchestral prologue and the finale.- At least the finale was played as it should be with the curtain up. I hope someone has done the birds to death before the second performance. angled walk, like a man striding into a gale, that I recall Cagney essaying in the movie; and' of course the- "Willkommen " number from "Cabaret" with its swivel-eyed mech-anicaT'gaiety and hint of an obscene ventriloquists doll suddenly cut loose from its operator. , I was less bowled over by the romantic numbers; in particular a Ne-wley medley which has that moist eyed self pity inseparable from its creator. And I wasn't that keen on the chat about the wife and children. Henry James once said that the secret of a fine, actor was that he made you peculate about his private ' personality, but these days performers do every-thingjbar show you holiday snaps. But I don't Vantto carp at a sensational soloist whojhqMs. all the court cards (a strong voice, a clown's -mobile features, a -hoofer's busy feet),, andwho turns evnrth yamp-till-ready. bit into -a high stepping, gallop across the stage like i idtaou ' hone waiting to enter the ring; vtonlyy wish someone would -hameasi'l&iray. strange, demttntc er ;sm ibonrvUinj on the London stage in r full scale musical ; in an age of mini talent he has the real thing.- Fabulous foursome Gryphon play songs based on transcriptions of medieval music, , They have just entered the pop charts. Meirion Bowen reports A GRYPHON, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is a " fabulous creature with eagle's head tc wings & : lions body." The name is PWticularapt at a time when pop-group names are more than usually meaningless for the group of four who play an odd blend 6f medieval and rock music, using a mixture of "period" instruments (krumhorn, harpsichord), more modern instruments (bassoon, guitar) and electronic hardware, and wearing multi-coloured medieval minstrel garb. Both as a group and as individuals they are among the most ubiquitous performers in the country. Gryphon itself has the kind of boundary-defying appeal that enables it to be enjoyed-, as happened recently, on all four BBC radio networks in a matter of five days. Their live appearances, similarly, have not just been in colleges and the usual folkrock clubs, but in St Paul's and Southwark cathedrals (where - they were included in Shakespearean celebrations), schools, prisons, museums, and banqueting halls. They have contributed sound-tracks to films, including the title track and theme-tune for- " Glastonbury Fayre. A few weeks bark thev demonstrated medieval instruments to packed audiences of children at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Their general zaniness has given them something of a reputation wherever they have gone : as, for instance, in one college, where a member of the group was seen by a sober academic to enter a , cubicle in the men's loo. there to practise the bassoon. Two members of Gryphon, Richard Harvev and Brian Gulland, have played regularly also for Musica Reservata and London Pro Musica. and are as capable of being pernickety on musicological matters as any of the greybearded oldies. Both of them are highly talented drop-outs from chi-chi public schools and the Royal College of Music. Richard Harvey, while still a 14-year-old schoolboy at Tiffin's,, was waltzing his way through the clarinet part -of Walton's "Facade" with no sense of strain. But even before he went to th RCM he was on to the recorders, shawms, and krumhorns and had given a coricert with London Pro Musica, an early music group he cofounded with Bernard Thomas and which still produces its own editions of medieval and Renaissance works. On Gryphon's highly acclaimed first LP (issued a few months back by Transatlantic), his recorder-playing can be heard at its most virtuoso in a performance of " Kemp's Jig." In a different epoch, Brian Gulland would have found happiness as a lav. clerk. But fate took him from Canterbury Cathedral Choir and Cranleigh School to the, RCM, where he met Richard Harvey and placed his talents as singer, and as player of bassoon, Krumhorns, recorders, etc., at the disposal of various' odd musical ventures culminating in the formation of Gryphon. Gulland plays still in " straight " medieval music ventures, and perhaps only his considerable ability as a dancer has not yet found ah outlet. Of the other two members of the group. Graeme Taylor guitarist and singer was an told buddy of Richard Harvey's from' tTiffin's (they used to indulge in unofficial folk-music behind the tuckshop), and 'Dave Oberle the drummer worked his way. through a long succession of ephemeral "groups before he met and joined the others in Gryphon. Their collaboration took root as a result of the help and 'guidance of Nicholas Wright, an enthusiastic collector of ancient art. clockwork toys, and out-of-tune pianos. ( Wright helped them obtain the best-quality early iasfn-ments some were specially made fr them and organised many of their first shows. The Gryphon style of performance and repertory grew from straight transcription and . realisation of medieval music. While their -versions retain many of the 'original rhythms, melodic and harmonic shapes, their instrumentation and texts are vnH so as to add wit or dramatic punch or in order to turn past ideas into a contemporary format of a folkrock type. Parody is an important ingredient, but it generates imaginative flights, of improvisation rather than ' confining the ideas to repetitious gimmickry. By comparison. Peter Maxwell - Dayies's isorhythmic motets gone sour Trots -have- ' become'! lifeless and predictable. '"' Gryphon have.. taken, their exploitation of medieval and Renaissance forms and styles to vthe fartl test limits, and one logical outcome has been the music they have composed themselves for their own hybrid, instrumental set-up and flexible mode of performance Thus on their LP, one can move froia a near-authentic version of ,";Pastyma with good companie " (wrongly attrib. Henry VIH), or a thirteenth-century ' estampie to the "Juniper Suite," an extended .original composition using medieval instruments in an un-medievaj idiom. - They have naturally - taken advantage of modern studio techniques ' (cf. the triple-tracked recorders m "The Astrologer"). But in live snows their music-makimr benefits a great deal from stage histrionics, le'd by Gulland, as official Fool. Here there is more parody, including self-parody, as in the non-reasons they give for the . choice of., titles like ;.".T. Rex." They have enough reserve material, in' short, to hold an audience of bawdy-ballad-ioving beer-drinkers or. the opposite extreme, connoisseurs of musical, corn. ; Success has brought - Gryphon the expected European , tour (in the autumn), simultaneons' live and TV appearances (Edinburgh's George Theatre and Scottish TV on August 31) and a 'whole- list of future projects including a new LP,. to be made in the autumn. But individually they retain outside ' non - commercial interests: Richard Harvey .is' as keen as eyer, to play Vivaldi, recorder concertos ;? he and Gulland are equally at homerdoing summeNchool classes on i early .music. The group,: as a whole (all four ,are19-20 year olds) seems open-endedenough to avoid the pre-mature .obsolescence . that: overtakes most voneida teams. Maybe the "eailM?chd- k wings; & U6n's body 'V ' wilif acquire ' fins, enabling Gryphon , to: become the first underwater medieval rock group.

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