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(N) 13 out of 66
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None = Unmissable

= Unwatchable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme



Naked Voices Extraordinary Acappella (page 93)
Drams 0 for the performance but for the noises off
Singers Naked Voices, Dee Jarlett and Ali Orbaum (Co-Directors); Gill Malpass (Choreographer)
Venue C (Venue 34)
Address Chambers Street
Reviewer Pat Napier

Naked Voices
Making their second appearance at the Fringe, this amazing and talented group of 16 singers treated its full house audience to a hugely diverse range of vocal music. Called Naked Voices because they're just that - unaccompanied with only their vocal range, colours, harmonies and sound gymnastics on display. You can't get any more exposed than that. There's no safety net. And if that wasn't enough, each number was dramatically choreographed. If I had to categorise them (which is impossible) I'd say they were A Cappella music in funky, fun-loving, world music dress with generous spicings of Soul, Rock and Pop.

Appropriately for sixteen voices, we heard sixteen very different pieces ranging from Samuel Barber's Agnus Dei, through The Deadwood Stage (from the film Calamity Jane), David Bowie's Golden years, Bond (as in James Bond) to Kate Bush's Rocket's tail. And much more - not in this order. Either Dee or Ali had arranged most of the music very imaginatively. I mentioned vocal gymnastics. These come in when the voices supporting the featured vocalists paint backing sound pictures. Golden years had interesting motor car sounds, The Deadwood Stage came complete with bumpy ground and cracking whips. Dee Jarlett sang the haunting Wild is the wind to a vocal background of swirling, rolling gusts of wind. Dramatic effects abounded in Bond, complete with a skit on Shirley Bassey singing Goldfinger.

Carrie Freeman
It's unfair to single out any one person but I must make an exception. The youngest singer, Carrie Freeman, sang a couple of sexy numbers, vamping up You're getting to be a habit with me absolutely perfectly and is surely a rising star. After the closing number, a Beatles medley, we were treated to an encore, a really beautiful rendition of the Negro Spiritual Do not pass me by. It might also be unfair to pinpoint the big down side for anybody choosing to sit in in the back rows. The whole performance was seriously marred by aspects of the venue, ranging from the thud of feet above, to conversations, frequent rustlings of plastic bags, and doors banging (presumably from people going in and out of the toilets opposite the theatre's entrances). So the moral of the story is, don't sit too far back - if you can get tickets!

Naked Voices is only two and a half years old, born out of Dee and Ali's meeting while with Soul Sisters, a much smaller four piece group. They are all local to Bristol. Dee's experience in running a community choir is amply shown and they're now also running vocal workshops. Sadly for next year's Fringe, they're taking a year out, so we'll all have to wait till 2004 for our next fix. Rush out to get tickets while you can! Stay in touch with them at www.naked-voices.co.uk
© Pat Napier. 18 August 2002

Run: August 18-25 14:00 (1 hour 20 minutes)
Naked Voices were also on BBC 2's Edinburgh Show at 11.20pm on Wednesday August 21 2002

   

Nancy Sinatra (Not in the Fringe programme; but part of T on the Fringe)

Drams
None needed whatsoever
Venue The Liquid Room
Address Victoria Street
Reviewer Rez Guthrie

The show kicks off an hour and a half late, but the U.K. has waited since the 1960's for Nancy Sinatra to play a live gig here. I'm like a tiny child, delirious with excitement and the way I feel, I'd happily wait my whole life again to see her. She's both a cult icon and a born star. BBC Choice is here. The place is literally mobbed.

Nancy comes on once her huge backing band, including erstwhile musicians from both Guns 'n' Roses and Elvis' backup band, have taken their places. She's smiling broadly.

An enormous pair of impenetrable sunglasses hide her eyes. Her hair's still long and sunny bleached blonde with a long beatnik fringe. She's wearing Barbarella boots and a matching three quarter length gold leather jacket. Her legs are great, and when she takes off her shades it's very clear she's got her daddy's eyes. She jokes to the audience that if anyone doesn't want to be fimed, they'd better leave now. Obviously nobody does.

But can she still sing? Of course she can, and she's flawless and unflagging. Her extensive set comprises of a wide selection of stuff from her back catalogue, including the classic 'Sixty Minute Man', her Bond theme 'You Only Live Twice', and that ultimate anthem of female empowerment 'These Boots Were Made For Walking' as well as covers of some other rock standards. The band, however competent, is a hunka, hunka Vegas cheese, and 'Boots' is momentarily made to smell strongly of it by a totally out of place rawck guitar solo, but Nancy's still the coolest chick ever. Even when she does a bizarre amalgum, (Nancy versus Nancy Remix, perhaps?) of the classic 'Son Of A Preacher Man' and the horrifically pish Eurythmics track 'Missionary Man' it still comes off . She stays on for a good long set: I'd say roughly two hours, although I didn't glance at my watch once, I was too completely mesmerised. All that I can say is that she lived up to my expectations and she's more of a hero than ever.

© Rez Guthrie 12th August 2002. Published on www.edinburghguide.com
www.tonthefringe.com
   

NAYO Series - Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Youth Orchestra (page 80)
Concert 1: 23 August at 19:30 and Concert 2 by the Youth orchestra's Ensembles: 24 August at 12:30

Drams
0
Conductor Scott Stroman
Music Concert 1 Bartók: Concerto for orchestra; Brahms (orch. Schoenberg): Piano quartet in G minor. Concert 2 Mozart: Serenatta Notturna; Richard Strauss: Sonatina for Wind (1st movement); Jazz pieces; Charles Hazell: Three Brass Cats
Venue Central Hall (Venue 100)
Address West Tollcross
Reviewer Simon Daniels

Once again the Festival of British Youth Orchestras filled the void of symphonic repertoire in the International Festival's programme. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Youth Orchestra conducted by Scott Stroman, one of the world's most talented and versatile musicians, gave a convincing account of two of the most challenging works of the last century. Concerto for orchestra is the last masterpiece of Béla Bartók and its complexity stretches the most competent of professional ensembles. Undaunted, the members of CPYO grabbed the bull by the horns and came out on top. Stroman's conducting style, whilst often verging on the boundaries of physical theatre, injected great energy and zeal. Whilst at times the performance was a little bit too brass-heavy, there were moments of great poise and accomplishment.

Cambrideshire and Peterborough Youth Orchestra
Cambs & Peterborough Youth Orchestra
© Sue Osmond
Arnold Schoenberg's orchestration of the G minor Piano Quartet of Johannes Brahms was a tribute from a widely recognised musical innovator to a composer all too often criticised for being reactionary and conservative. Again the players of CPYO gave an excellent performance of a work just as taxing as the Bartók. Whilst again the brass were a little too prominent there were some fine solos from principal clarinettist David Howarth and, towards the end of the final movement, a string trio.

The following day in one of the NAYO festival's complementary lunch time concerts, the individual sections of CPYO made up a varied programme of chamber music. Rachel Laurence, the orchestra's leader directed, from the violin, a fine account of Mozart's Serenatta notturna. The whole ensemble (strings and timpani) played with precision and Laurence showed a great sense of style in her solo passages. This was followed by the first movement of Richard Strauss' Sonatina for wind directed by Peter Britton. This performance was characterised by balance, virtuosity (particularly in the clarinets) and clarity. Two saxophonists dazzled the audience with an exciting improvisation which then slid effortlessly into a Miles Davis number. The jazzy feel continued as the ten piece brass section finished an excellent concert with Charles Hazell's Three Brass Cats.
© Simon Daniels. 26 August 2002. Published on EdinburghGuide.com

Series Concerts: August 10-14, 16, 17, 19-21, 23, 24, 26-31 at 19.30; August 21-24, 26-31 at 12.30
   

NAYO Series - Cumbria Youth Orchestra (page 83)
Drams
National Association of Youth OrchestrasConductor Timothy Redmond
Music Michael Torke: Javelin; Holst: Oriental Suite "Beni Mori"; Vaughan-Williams; Concerto in F minor for Bass Tuba; Ives: Symphony No.2
Venue Central Hall (Venue 100)
Address West Tollcross
Reviewer Charlie Napier

NAYO orchestra
© NAYO
A very ambitious programme for a group of young people that only meets six weekends a year plus a four day residential course! Tonight's performance reflected well the enthusiasm of the players and the encouragement they must receive from their teachers, coaches, parents and supporters for this self-financed orchestra. A coach breakdown on their way to Glasgow yesterday could not have helped, but even that did not stop them doing justice to a difficult programme.

Javelin, a work written for the opening of the Atlanta Olympic Games, opened this concert with a bang but, unfortunately, showed up a deficiency in the line-up. The brass overpowered the strings. This, however, was a direct result of the perennial problems of youth orchestras, especially in rural areas such as Cumbria: there were not enough string players (they were ten short). This was unfortunate, because the strings were good when you could hear them.

Timothy Redmond was obviously a favourite with the players, and he led them with a clear beat, enthusiasm, and enjoyment, and his introductions outlined the background and content of each work. The Holst, written after a holiday in Algeria, illustrated that country's influences, the passacaglia-like last movement being handled extremely well. The rarely-heard tuba concerto was a delight and Richard Evans gave an accurate, smooth and graceful performance, but with power where it was required.

How the players enjoyed the Ives! This work, difficult for such young players, was a challenge which they met head on. Luckily for the audience, the trumpets were not used much, which allowed the strings to be heard to good effect. It is always a problem trying to identify all the tunes that Ives quotes in this work: Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Stephen Foster, hymns, and especially Camptown Races but the glorious arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner was a fitting climax, so good, that it was repeated. The final chord has to be heard to be believed. Congratulations to all.
© Charlie Napier, 13 August 2002

Series Concerts: August 10-14, 16, 17, 19-21, 23, 24, 26-31 at 19.30; August 21-24, 26-31 at 12.30
   

NAYO Series - Edinburgh Schools Jazz Orchestra (page 84)

Drams 0
National Association of Youth OrchestrasDirector Dan Hallam and featuring Lucy McCall-Smith (trombone); Rachel Cohen (alto sax); Unknown bass guitarist; Zach Moir (tenor sax); Gavin Chalmers (rhythm guitar)
Music See the review for details
Venue Central Hall (Venue 100)
Address West Tollcross
Reviewer Charlie Napier

Dan Hallam, a Canadian peripatetic woodwind teacher with the City of Edinburgh Education Department, must have noticed the slight chill in the wind this morning, when he decided to start this lunchtime concert with an arrangement of that old jazz classic Autumn Breeze. He led this group of 17 very talented teenage Edinburgh school students (plus two adult "guests", one playing piano and the other bongos) with panache and introduced each item with interesting comments both about the items and the development of jazz. Autumn Breeze featured the eight-strong saxophone section.

I have to say that it is very difficult to find fault with the performance of any section of this orchestra; they were all so good. It is also seems a pity to have to highlight the performance of any of the individuals, but as there were featured soloists in some items, and because they were so good, they do deserve a mention.

The trombones (all two of them) featured in the next item, an old Frank Sinatra favourite, Witchcraft, which was followed by an original composition by Sammy Nestico, Switch in Time, that featured Lucy McCall-Smith on trombone. A jazz-blues version of Mad Pack Blues (did I get the title right?) featured solo alto sax (Rachel Cohen), bass guitar (sorry, didn't get your name) and rhythm section.

NAYO tee shirt logoRachel gave a superb performance when she was featured again in Duke Ellington's Harlem Nocturne, beautifully supported by the orchestra. The "Latino" influence on jazz was shown in Mas que Nada by Jorge Benn. An excellent rendering of Satin Doll featured Rachel on alto sax, Lucy on trombone and Zach Moir on tenor sax. A Lennie Niehaus arrangement of Charlie Parker's Moose the Mooch was followed by an Average White Band favourite, Pick up the Pieces, which featured Zach again. The orchestra finished off with a most enthusiastic rendering of an old Blood, Sweat and Tears number Go Down Gambolling (?) that featured Gavin Chalmers (rhythm guitar) on the "wow-wow". A great concert. Good luck on your tour of Ireland in a couple of weeks.
© Charlie Napier, 31 August 2002. Published on EdinburghGuide.com

Series Concerts: August 10-14, 16, 17, 19-21, 23, 24, 26-31 at 19.30; August 21-24, 26-31 at 12.30
   

NAYO Series - Edinburgh International Youth Orchestra (page 83)
Drams
National Association of Youth OrchestrasOpening Concert 10 August 2002
Performers Andee-Louise Hypolite (soprano); Tallin Ensemble of Estonia, Toomas Kapten (Director); Edinburgh Youth Orchestra
Conductors Hilary Devan Wetton and Toomas Kapten
Music Wagner: Overture Die Meistersinger; Lyadov: The enchanted lake; Berlioz: Nuits d'Eté; Pärt: Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten; Dvorák: Symphony No.8 in G
Venue Central Hall (Venue 100)
Address West Tollcross
Reviewer Simon Daniel

Central Hall, Tollcross

Edinburgh Youth Orchestra, joined by members of the Tallin Ensemble of Estonia, opened the twenty-third Festival of Youth Orchestras with an exciting programme under the distinguished baton of Hilary Davan Wetton.

Their performance of Wagner's great prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg was impressive. The ensemble created a sound that was at once both majestic and driven. The lighter middle section was performed with great charm by the orchestra's wind section. This was an impressive start to both a fine concert and what promises to be an excellent Festival.

Anatol Lyadov was a pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov and whilst the Russian folklore subject of The enchanted lake owes much to his background and teaching, the musical sound-world of this short piece is perhaps closer to the impressionism of Debussy. This piece is all about harmony and colour and the orchestra's string section, complemented by fine woodwind playing, captured the mood of reflection.

Andee-Louise Hypolite joined the Orchestra to sing Berlioz's Nuits d'Eté. Hypolite's voice is a big instrument, perhaps, particularly at the start, a little too big for these songs. However, the later songs such as Sur les lagunes were sung with a touching delicacy. The orchestra was perhaps a little pedestrian at times in these songs and there was some lazy intonation.

To start the second half the director of the Tallin Ensemble, Toomas Kapten, conducted Cantus by his compatriot Arvo Pärt. After a shaky start, the orchestra settled down and created moving sound, as bleak and foreboding as the Barents Sea. Davan Wetton was back on the podium to conduct an invigorating account of Dvorák's Eighth Symphony. Just about everything was right with this performance. There were fine solos from leader Susan Harris and the principal flautist and clarinettist. The horn section were able to blend deliciously with the cellos to create a warm, lyrical texture in the opening movement and then play with great showmanship and power in the final movement. This electrifying performance has set a very high standard for every other orchestra to follow.
© Simon Daniels. 12 August 2002


   


NAYO Series - Fife Youth Orchestra (page 84)
Drams
Conductor Graeme Wilson
Music Copland: An Outdoor Overture; L Berkeley (1903-1989)/Britten: Mont Juic: Suite of Catalan Dances; Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel - Overture; Berlioz: Damnation of Faust - Hungarian march; M Arnold (b.1921-): English Dances (Second Set); MacCunn: : Land of the Mountain and the Flood - Overture; Bizet: L'Arlésienne Suite
Venue Central Hall (Venue 100)
Address West Tollcross
Reviewer Charlie Napier

Fife Youth orchestra
© Sue Osmond
One of the problems facing orchestras playing in this hall during this Festival has been in getting the balance between the strings and the brass right. Usually the brass has overpowered the strings, but this Orchestra got it right! I cannot say why it worked out as it did, whether it was the numbers, or seating arrangements, or just good conducting but it did. The conducting of Graeme Wilson was certainly excellent, with a clear beat and clear directions. It made it easy for the Orchestra to follow, as was evidenced in its rhythmic togetherness. The overall impression was one of excellent balance between the various sections as well as excellent dynamics and expression

However, the overall sound of the Orchestra was disappointing. In almost every work there seemed to be problems with intonation, particularly in the brass which, of course, are generally the most difficult instruments to play. The chosen works, "lollipops" as Sir Thomas Beecham used to call them, short, mostly very familiar and easy to listen to, did give scope for some solo playing. This worked most of the time, but there were times when the players were too exposed and were not too successful.

In general the strings produced a good sound and the brass also sounded good most of the time, but I think the brass was the weakest section in the Orchestra. The percussion section was very good (except for the length of time taken to retune the timpani between movements), but the best section was undoubtedly the woodwind. On the basis of keeping the best until last, it was certainly true here. The Bizet was very good, but special mention has to be made of the beautiful flute playing, especially in the "Menuetto" movement and also the duet with the clarinet. Despite the slightly disappointing overall result, this was still a performance that both the players and their instructors can be proud of.
© Charlie Napier, 29 August 2002. Published on EdinburghGuide.com

Series Concerts: August 10-14, 16, 17, 19-21, 23, 24, 26-31 at 19.30; August 21-24, 26-31 at 12.30
   

NAYO Series - Lothian Schools Orchestra (page 90)
The Closing Concert dedicated to the memory of Dr Colin O'Riordan (1943-2001)

Drams None but 5 were needed to cope with the emotions unleashed by the occasion
National Association of Youth Orchestras
Conductor William Conway
Music McGuire (b1948-): Festival overture; Debussy: Marche Ecossaise; Bach (orch. Elgar): Fantasia and fugue in C minor; Sibelius: Finlandia; Elgar: Enigma variations - Nimrod; Ravel: Bolero
Venue Central Hall (Venue 100)
Address West Tollcross
Reviewer Pat Napier

Halfway through the first term of the current school year, the young musicians of Edinburgh were dealt the cruellest blow, which must have left a deep impression and great shock. So shocking that I can hardly bear to write this. The mad, crazy orgy of cuts imposed on this Festival City's musical life, especially on its next generation of musicians, has had such an extreme effect, that the City's Prinicpal Officer for Music in its own Education Department, in a state of deep depression, took his own life on 28 October 2001.

This concert, given by the Lothian Schools Orchestra was dedicated to the memory of Dr Colin O'Riordan, whose dedication to, and towering work for, youth music, particularly in the Edinburgh schools, will never be equalled. My own children benefitted from his dedication and I remember him well, with great affection. Even now, it is still profoundly shocking.

"It will be a very long time before I forget the feeling of watching these two young drummers..."
Carol Main, the NAYO Director, in her short speech before the concert began, revealed that Colin (who, together with his father Denis, had also done so much to make the NAYO Series what it is today) had organised the Lothian orchestra's dates just before his death. She also revealed the careful planning and choice of works for this concert when she told us that Colin and the Edinburgh Schools Symphony Orchestra had closed the very first Festival with Finlandia in 1980. When William Conway came onto the platform he told us that Nimrod too had very special meaning, because Colin had loved it so much and that, for Conway, it symbolised the shape of Colin's life.

So it is not surprising that this wasn't quite the concert it would have been if we'd still had Colin to keep everybody together. Emotions must have run very high amongst the players and there was a definitely subdued air about them - which is understandable, since the burden of playing would have been extremely difficult for grown-up musicians in the same circumstances. Salutations to all!

Eddie McGuire's Festival overture reflected Colin's other love, Scottish fiddle music, and was his own tribute. On the whole, the orchestra coped very well. It wasn't a faultless performance but it was a fervent one. The Bach/Elgar was particularly poignant. The Ravel Bolero, with its one - and then two - snare drums sited up on both sides of the gallery, seemed to express the young musicians feelings in its relentless pace and increasing snare drum volume as it pounded into our souls and brains. It will be a very long time before I forget the feeling of watching these two young drummers watching each other and hammering out the rhythm exactly on the beat with each other, and my anger at the senseless financial madness which drove such an irreplaceable, selfless man to such an extreme act.
© Pat Napier. 1 September 2002. Published on www.edinburghguide.com

Series Concerts: August 10-14, 16, 17, 19-21, 23, 24, 26-31 at 19.30; August 21-24, 26-31 at 12.30
   

NAYO Series - National Youth String Orchestra of Scotland (page 83)
Drams
National Association of Youth OrchestrasConductor James Durrant MBE
Soloist Francis Cossar (Bearsden)
Music Peter Warlock (Philip Heseltine): Capriol Suite; Telemann: Viola Concerto in G major; Parry: An English Suite; Sibelius: Romance for String Orchestra; Britten: Simple Symphony
Venue Central Hall (Venue 100)
Address West Tollcross
Reviewer Charlie Napier

It was quite an achievement for a group of 60 secondary school youths who have been playing together for only a week to produce such a delightful concert, ably conducted by James Durrant MBE, who was Principal Viola of the SNO and a teacher at the RSAMD for many years. The large audience, consisting mainly of relatives and school chums, gave the performance an enthusiastic reception.

Under the circumstances, it would be unfair to be too critical of the performance. Considering that not only was this the first time that this particular group of young people had actually played together, it was probably the first time that many of them had played on a stage, in front of so many people. Nervousness, inexperience and perhaps lack of confidence did show at times. They should look at the conductor more often, then perhaps the endings would not have been a bit ragged at times. In some of the quick passages, their enthusiasm seemed to get the better of them, making it sound as if they were pulling the conductor along.

I don't suppose it was surprising that a viola concerto was chosen as an item, given the conductor. Frances Cossar, leader of the viola section, was the soloist in the Telemann. She gave a competent performance with just a few uncertain moments but producing a fine tone and sensitive rendering.

I think the well-known pizzicato movement of the Britten deserves a special mention in a very good overall performance; this was very good. One criticism I have is that the intonation left a little to be desired at times. However, this was a performance that both players and teachers, individual and collective, can be proud of.
© Charlie Napier. 12 August 2002

Series Concerts: August 10-14, 16, 17, 19-21, 23, 24, 26-31 at 19.30; August 21-24, 26-31 at 12.30
   

NEW COMMISSION: Mosaic for Orchestra
NAYO Series - Nottingham Youth Orchestra (page 93)
Drams
National Association of Youth OrchestrasConductor Derek Williams
Music Respighi: Brazilian Impressions; Nicholas Sackman (b.1950-): Mosaic for Orchestra; Dukas: The Sorcerer's Apprentice; Shostakovitch: Symphony No.10
Venue Central Hall (Venue 100)
Address West Tollcross
Reviewer Charlie Napier

NAYO tee shirt logoThe Nottingham Youth orchestra was founded in 1985 by tonight's conductor, Derek Williams as a registered charity for the musical education and training of young musicians in full-time education in the Nottingham area. They meet every Saturday morning during term time and for concentrated rehearsals before they go on tour, which they do at least once a year.

The stage was too small to take all the percussion instruments that are needed to play the Schwantner Concerto so the programme was changed. Instead, the concert started with a little-known work by Respighi, Brazilian Impressions, a pleasant three-movement work based on melodies and rhythms of Brazil.

Second was a ten-minute work by Nicholas Sackman, a lecturer in composition at Nottingham University, which had been commissioned by the orchestra this year. This was an interesting work, composed around many small themes that were treated in many different ways. This work had been premiered three days previously in this hall. It will definitely repay a second hearing, but we may have to wait until the NYO come to Edinburgh again. What a pity! Third was that well-known orchestral scherzo, The Sorcerer's Apprentice. This enjoyable piece of programme music really needs no description.

The final work was the Shostakovitch 10th Symphony. This massive work, more than 50 minutes long, was a daunting task for these young musicians. Written just after Stalin's death and, to quote the composer, "It's about Stalin and the Stalin years." The music expresses vividly the darkness and oppression that existed in Russia under Stalin and the hope that must have been felt after his death.

This large orchestra performed extremely well and were a pleasure to listen to. It must have been a challenge to play and there were a few moments of uncertainty in some parts, but congratulations to the players, the teachers and the conductor for having the courage and confidence to tackle such a mammoth work, and on achieving such wonderful results.

On a slightly lighter note, the encore, Ron Goodwin's 633 Squadron, with the conductor and the leader, Joseph Dickens, changing places, to the pleasure and delight of the whole orchestra, was played with great gusto and enthusiasm and a lot of smiling faces.
© Charlie Napier, 24 August 2002. Published on EdinburghGuide.com

Series Concerts: August 10-14, 16, 17, 19-21, 23, 24, 26-31 at 19.30; August 21-24, 26-31 at 12.30
   

NAYO Series - Perth Youth Orchestra Evening Concert (page 94)
Drams
Conductor Allan Young
Music Walton: Crown Imperial; Hummel: Bassoon concerto (1st movement - Allegro moderato); Tchaikovsky: Concerto for violin and orchestra in D Op.35 (2nd movement - Andante); Saint-Saëns: Danse macabre; Sibelius: Symphony No.2
Performers Tom Norris (bassoon); Morag Young (violin); Perth Youth Orchestra, Allan Young (Conductor)
Venue Central Hall (Venue 100)
Address West Tollcross
Reviewer Pat Napier

The Perth Youth Orchestra has a proud record of attendance at the National Association Youth Orchestas series, being one of the few orchestras (if not the only one) to have played in every NAYO season right from the start. Its early roots as a totally independent orchestra (though now under the control of its local authority) haves set a very distinctive pattern of existence.

Perth Youth Orchestra © Sue Osmond
Perth Youth Orchestra
© Sue Osmond
It regularly performs at home and abroad. Its energetic fundraising team's work allows it the luxury of a week's Music Camp at Aberfoyle and there's a tradition that all members must audition for any solo role with the orchestra. Allan Young's links with his orchestra are closer than most, for he himself rose through its ranks to become Leader, then became a string tutor and now is the Co-ordinator of Instrumental Instruction for Perth and Kinross, all of which has been repaid by the wonderful sound and orchestral discipline. He is also clearly regarded very highly by his young musicians, who showed genuine affection for him and for their fellow players.

From the sart of this ambitious programme, it was clear that here was an outstanding string section, always on top of everything, playing with a rich, warm sound which was well balanced against the woodwind and brass. Crown Imperial, written for the coronation of King George VI, was a delightful beginning.

Tom Norris, the first of the two soloists, shone in the first movement of the rarely-heard Hummel concerto, playing with a lovely velvet sound and enormous poise. He was followed by the Leader, Morag Young (no relation to the Conductor) who was also very poised and in command of her glorious instrument. Her Andante had all the time in the world, created a world of beauty, to end with one of those magical breath-held pauses before the applause broke out. The Saint-Saëns Danse macabre effectively realigned the mood.

After the interval, the Sibelius second symphony was the only work, an ambitious, atmospheric piece full of hidden pitfalls and needing total attention from all players. On the whole, they rose to the occasion magnificently, with only a suspicion of an occasional wobble in the brass section, where the French horns in particular need to have poweful lungs for these long, long breaths. The glorious string sounds soared and glittered against the pecussion. It was good to hear the band yelling and calling their appreciation of the leader as she left the platform.
© Pat Napier, 30 August 2002. Published on EdinburghGuide.com

Series Concerts: August 10-14, 16, 17, 19-21, 23, 24, 26-31 at 19.30; August 21-24, 26-31 at 12.30
   

NAYO Series - West of Scotland Schools Concert Band (page 100)
Drams
National Association of Youth OrchestrasConductor Nigel Boddice
Music Chick Mangione (arr. Naohiro Iwai): The Children of Sanchez; Guy Wolfenden: Illyrian Dances; Peter Graham: Cartoon Music; Martin Ellerby: Three Evocations; Torstein Aagaad Nilsen: Viking Spirits suite - Norwegian dance; Frank Ticheli: Shenandoah
Venue Central Hall (Venue 100)
Address West Tollcross
Reviewer Charlie Napier

The standards of many of the youth orchestras and bands that are playing in this Festival are approaching those of professional orchestras and this was certainly true of today's lunchtime concert. These hour-long concerts generally present the lighter side of the repertoire, especially those presented by the wind and jazz bands. This does not mean to say that these are easy to play; far from it, they are sometimes more difficult to play than the standard classical repertoire. The works in today's programme were composed by living composers, particularly for wind bands such as this one.

The opening item was an arrangement by Iwai of a score by Mangione for the film The Children of Sanchez. I think the film must have had a Spanish or Mexican background because the music certainly gave that impression. Solo flugelhorn, alto saxophone and French horn featured. The Wolfenden dances were inspired by that imaginary land of "Illyria" created by Shakespeare, and the music reflected the dances of that time.

The Graham music was definitely "Tom and Jerry" stuff, incorporating all the sound effects expected when watching animated cartoons and was very amusing. This was contrasted by the Ellerby Evocations. The music certainly evoked the Spanish spirit of the titles. The deep brass and woodwind excelled in the Don Quixote funeral march, and the "dreamy" sound produced in the Sueno (dream) was beautiful, while we were given a rude awakening by the violent depiction of the massacre of the Incas in the last movement. The very "funky" Norwegian dance, with its strong rhythmic content was played most enthusiastically by the whole orchestra, but especially by the six members of the percussion department, who were excellent throughout the whole concert. As an encore, we were treated to an evocative treatment of the sea-shanty Shenandoah that certainly depicted the timeless "rolling river".

Great credit must be given to the talented Norwegian conductor, Nigel Boddice, who was a sensitive and inspiring leader. An excellent concert that should have been better attended.
© Charlie Napier, 26 August 2002. Published on EdinburghGuide.com

Series Concerts: August 10-14, 16, 17, 19-21, 23, 24, 26-31 at 19.30; August 21-24, 26-31 at 12.30
   

NAYO Series - West of Scotland Schools Symphony Orchestra (page 100)
Drams
National Association of Youth OrchestrasConductor William Conway
Music Walton: Henry V - Concert Suite; John Maxwell Geddes (b.1941-): Strathclyde Dances; Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet Suite No.2
Venue Central Hall (Venue 100)
Address West Tollcross
Reviewer Charlie Napier

The orchestra started the five-movement Henry V suite (arranged by Muir Matheson from Walton's film score for the 1944 film) with great confidence and produced a very good overall sound. In the second movement, the Death of Falstaff, the bass instruments produced an excellent funereal sound, but the third movement, Charge and Battle, was lacking something. Perhaps it needs the pictures to make it work, but the battle was not that fierce. The fourth movement, Touch her soft lips, and part, was short but very sweet. The old English folk tune, used also by Peter Warlock in his Capriol Suite, was beautifully played on muted strings. The final movement, Agincourt Song, was much more lively and the orchestra produced a satisfying climax.

Maxwell Geddes, a leading Scottish composer, born in 1941, wrote this work for Strathclyde University Orchestra's 21st birthday in April 2002. It is basically a set of variations. The dances seemed to be in the style of the 16th and 17th centuries, developing into a rather sad Scottish theme that built up into a striking statement of the theme in the unison strings leading to a grand climax. In general it was a good performance, but there were hints of some trouble in the brass and woodwind.

The Prokofiev was quite disappointing. The thundering opening theme was well played but as movement followed movement, seven of them altogether, telling the tragic story of Romeo and Juliet, things just were not right. This work gives opportunities for little solos from the various departments, some of which were fine, but I am afraid that intonation problems rose to the fore and tended to distract from the overall performance.

William Conway, the Glasgow-born conductor and cellist, directed the orchestra extremely well, with clear beats and directions. He managed to make the orchestra "sing" most expressively most of the time, and perhaps cannot be blamed for the intonation problems. It was nice to see the instrumental tutors and back-room staff acknowledged by name in the programme. Overall, it was a competent performance, but a bit disappointing.
© Charlie Napier. 26 August 2002. Published on www.edinburghguide.com

Series Concerts: August 10-14, 16, 17, 19-21, 23, 24, 26-31 at 19.30; August 21-24, 26-31 at 12.30

(N) 13 out of 66
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