City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Music from The Mandolin Lesson, St Andrew's & St George's West, Review

By Barnaby Miln - Posted on 07 August 2014

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St Andrew's & St George's West at Festival Time 2014
Running time: 
Antonio Riggieri, Theme from La Furstemburg; Domenico Scarlatti, Sonata n.46; Emanuele Barbella, Sonata; Nicola Conforto, Concerto; Roberto Valentini, Sonata II, Opera XII; Riggieri, Variation I from La Furstemburg.
Frances Taylor (mandolin), Nathaniel Keiller (harpsichord)

Francis Taylor is a mandolinist of the highest calibre in the United Kingdom. Having said that, it was an unusual instrument to take up especially as she chose to train to play it in Italy. With a young family and a job in the London suburbs in the early 1990's she managed to get to her lessons in Padua just once a month.

Frances Taylor's book, The Mandolin Lesson, describes her adventures during the time she was learning the mandolin in Italy. The book was the centrepiece for her hour long lunch time concert. With her son, Nathaniel, waiting to accompany her on the harpsichord, Frances read passages from her book before playing the relevant piece of music.

All the music we heard was composed in the eighteenth century by fairly obscure composers, Riggieri, Barbella, Conforto, Valentini with Scarlatti the best known. I was particularly taken with one of her examination pieces the preparation for which she read the relevant passage, Nicola Conforto's four movement Concerto.

The music stand was the concert's disaster. I was sitting by the central aisle and yet could not see the mandolin as she was playing. Without the tall sheets of music I managed to see half the instrument by the end - but for much of the time the tall sheets totally obscured the mandolin. Such a shame for it was a fascinating hour.

Concert: 7th August 2014 at 12.30pm