None = Unmissable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme
The Really Terrible Orchestra: a concert of improvement (page 95)
Drams The full five!
Music Jack Trombey: Eye Level (Theme from Van der Valk); J & J Strauss: Pizzicato Polka; Wagner: Lohengrin - Introduction to Act III; Tchaikovsky: Casse-Noisette Ballet Suite; Haydn: Military Symphony [No 11? No.100?]- Minuet; Douglas Mackay: A Scottish Suite (specially composed for the RTO); Eric Coates: The "Dam Busters" march
Performers The Really Terrible Orchestra, Sir Richard Neville-Towle (Conductor)
Venue Canongate Kirk (Venue 60)
Address Canongate, Royal Mile
Reviewer Anon Ymous
The entry in the Fringe Brochure quotes one of our national newspapers as saying that this (presumably last year's performance) was "A terribly good experience". Perhaps "a goodly terrible experience" might have been more apt.
This collection of instrumental players of very varying talents, called the Really Terrible Orchestra (RTO), obviously has a great fan club. The Canongate Kirk was absolutely packed, with people standing in the aisles, for this year's RTO performance. The audience, from the response to the works that they "played", must surely have been husbands, wives, children (of all ages), relations, friends and colleagues of the players; sustained applause, cheers, whistles, "hurrahs", "Bravos" and feet-stamping, were all in evidence. It is reported that the RTO consists of members of the medical and legal professions so I must say that I hope they practice medicine and law a lot better than they practice music.
It was pretty obvious from the banter that was going on between the RTO and members of the audience before the performance started, as well as the whole atmosphere, that this was not to be taken as a serious musical event, at least I hope not. >From remarks made by the conductor during the performance, both to the audience and to the orchestra, this would certainly seem to have been the case.
It is with that idea in mind that I have to say that this performance was an outstanding success. Everyone enjoyed themselves enormously. It seems to be a tradition to have a speech in the middle of the performance. This year the speaker was Mr Gregory Robison from the USA. He gave a short but very witty speech and finished with his definitions of a pessimist and an optimist in connection with the RTO, namely: 'A pessimist is someone who says, "Things can't get any worse", whereas an optimist is someone who says, "Oh yes it can"'. True!
This performance was sub-titled "A Concert of Improvement". The performance lived up (or should it be down) to the name of the orchestra, so if this was an improvement on last year's performance, w-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-ll, I can only say I''m glad I wasn't there. If I may make a serious suggestion, the music might actually sound a bit better if it was played a little faster (as well as the performance finishing earlier!).
© Charlie Napier, 31 August 2002. Published on EdinburghGuide.com
The Romance of the Spanish guitar (page 96)
At lunchtime, in a sun-filled, serene, white-painted church on a blissfully
warm day, a rare event in this atrociously wet summer, there was an air of languid
dreaminess set by the warm gentle tones of three guitars. Everyone had slipped
into a slower gear. There was time to close one's eyes and become immersed in
sensuous Spanish music and just - enjoy - this intimate reflective music. Three
guitars playing in unison, in harmony or mimicking an orchestra made this an
even richer experience.
Romantic Virtuoso (page 96)
Music Liszt: La Chasse and Funérailles; Chopin: 5 Mazurkas (Op 67 Nos.2 and 4, Op 24 No.4, Op 17 No.4 Op 33 No.4; Scriabine: Étude in C# minor, Nocturne for the left hand, Étude in D# minor; Rachmaninoff: 5 Preludes (Op 32 Nos.5, 8, 10, 12, and Op 23 No.7); Debussy: 5 Preludes (Book 1: La Sérénade Interrompue, Minstrels; Book 2: La Puerto del Vino, Ondine and Feux d'Artifice); de Falla: Cubana and Andaluza; Albeniz: Fête-Dieu à Seville; Ginastera: Suite de Danzas Criollas
Performer Joscelyn Steele
Venue St Mark's Unitarian Church (Venue 125)
Address Castle Terrace
Reviewer Charlie Napier
A virtuoso this lady certainly is. Her technique is prodigious and she has a beautiful touch when she plays softly, as she can and did. She played the whole programme from memory, which is an enormous feat in itself. This should, and could, have been a beautiful recital but it was spoilt by the constant "hammering". The last surprise was that she did not pause between pieces in a group, which is very disconcerting, nor did she pause at the end of the last piece in a group. She just finished and stood up.
I'm afraid that I didn't stop around to find out the lady's background except that she lives in London. I could have done with a few of the drams I've awarded her during the recital.
© Charlie Napier, 16 August 2002.
Run: August 16 at 13.00 (1 hour) and 17.15 (1 hour 30 minutes)
Rosie Brown and This (Page 96)
Address Adam House, Chambers Street
Reviewer Rez Guthrie
It's difficult to try and describe Rosie Brown's vocal style, without it sounding like it's dreadful; which it isn't. Her vocals are mellow and jazzy with a good range, but she does things with it that sound brilliant in a live context, yet might put you right off hearing her just reading them on the page. Basically she both mumbles almost incoherently into the mike throughout and also puts on a lisp whilst singing. But the effect in the context of her songs is more one of soulful late night confidences exchanged than of any kind of put-on coy or wee thing.
The rest of the band comprises a double bass, a semi-acoustic guitar and drums, whose sound is unfortunately a little loud on the high hats for the rest of the mix. Rosie plays an acoustic, apologising to the already converted crowd for using a cappo.
I took my teenage daughter along to this, and she loved the band so much she spent all her paper round wages on the CD. She says it totally relaxes her. And she's got excellent taste in music.
© Rez Guthrie 13th Aug. 2002
Runs until 25th August. 7.45-8.45pm. £8.50/£7.50