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Page number refers to the Fringe programme

Within a mile o' Edinburgh Toun (page 113)

Harpsichords at St Cecilia's Hall Series
Drams 0
Music Scots Musical Museum (SMM): Within a mile of Edinburgh; Dussek: Variations on 'Within a mile of Edinburgh'; SMM: Thou art gane awa'; The banks of Doon; Corri: Variations on 'The banks of Doon'; SMM: Hamilla; Dussek: 'Rosline Castle' with variations and including 'The lass of Peaties Mill'; SMM: The lass of Peaty's Mill; SMM: The yellow-hair'd laddie; J C Bach: Variations on 'The yellow hair'd laddie'; SMM: Sic a wife as Willie had; Urbani: Variations on 'Sic a wife as Willie had'; SMM: Busk ye, busk ye; John Ross (1763-1837): Variations on 'Busk ye, busk ye'
Performers Malcolm Green (baritone) and John Kitchen (fortepiano)
Venue St Cecilia's Hall(Venue 31)
Address Niddry Street
Reviewer Pat Napier

John Kitchen
John Kitchen
© Delphian records Ltd
The collaboration between Robert Burns and the printer James Johnson was to make a powerful impact on Scotland's identity. In only five years after the disaster of Culloden, Scotland had turned itself around to launch the Scottish Enlightenment and become the cultural engine of Europe, with Edinburgh known as the Athens of Europe. In what was to become the blueprint for countries developing their national identity, Burns and Johnson set out to find, gather and print the biggest collection of Scotland's rich folksong heritage. It became The Scots Musical Museum, which is still, today, a hugely important souce for all who study ethnomusicology.

During the Enlightenment, the folk songs and music were as popular with the gentry as with the lower classes, thus achieving a unique cultural place and a shared identity for the Scots. The music was played and heard in sophisticated drawing rooms and equally likely to be heard at village weddings and dances. In one, restrained, refined elegant interpretations rang around Adam drawing rooms. In the other, feisty, often wild and uninhibited strains reverberated in smaller, enclosed spaces. So, it's all in the interpretation. In an amazing stroke of coincidence, Sic a wife as Willie had vividly illuminated these two contrasts. Burns wrote this rather cruel but very funny song about a friend's wife. Ceolbeg, who disbanded last Saturday night, gave a riotous rendering of it at the Queen's Hall. Malcolm Green gave an equally funny, but much more intimate performance, equally enthusiastically received.

This delightful concert carried the added bonus that the music was heard, not only on an instrument contemporary with the music, it was heard in Scotland's oldest concert hall, also contemporary. Furthermore, two of the composers: Corri and Urbani were resident and working in Edinburgh, so there was every chance that many of the songs had been played here as new pieces.

As ever, John Kitchen played the music with his own special verve and elan, coaxing delightful sonorities and varieties of colour from the fortepiano. Malcolm Green, who had studied for a time in Edinburgh and is a versatile and distinguished singer, brought the songs alive and made them delightfully fresh. We were treated to an encore of Sic a wife as Willie had to send us out, laughing heartily, to celebrate the launching of the CD. For more details see www.delphianrecords.co.uk
© Pat Napier. 15 August 2002


The Wrigley Sisters (page 101)

Drams None at all
Venue Reid Hall (Venue 201 )
Address Bristo Square
Reviewer Neil Ingram

The Reid Hall's rather staid surroundings may not be what they are used to, but Hazel and Jennifer Wrigley were not put off. Within a few minutes of the start of their concert, they had managed to create an intimate atmosphere, a bit like sitting in their kitchen in Orkney listening to stories about the neighbours, with the wind howling outside. But their music is universal, based firmly in traditions of Orkney, but influenced by the wider world. Jennifer's fiddle playing is amazing, whether in the traditional Orkney jigs, reels and airs, or in her own compositions, and Hazel is far more than just an accompanist, particularly when she plays her guitar in the swing style of "Peerie" Willie Johnson, the legendary Shetland guitarist.

Their repertoire is varied and fascinating, containing some of the Orkney tunes they grew up with, and rather more that they have composed themselves, both in traditional vein and in more modern styles. I was particularly taken with a new composition by Jennifer- "Orca" a tribute to the Killer Whales which live in the waters around Orkney.

It was a joy to watch two talented musicians obviously enjoying what they were doing, and letting us enjoy it too!
© Neil Ingram, 24 August 2002 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Scottish tour continues until 13 September, for dates see
Wrigley Sisters Website

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