Edinburgh News: music
The Bishop of Edinburgh was at St Michael and All Saints Church in Brougham Street, Tollcross, whose Rector, the Very Reverend Kevin Pearson, is also Dean of the Scottish Episcopal Diocese of Edinburgh.
The Scottish Chamber Orchestra are developing into a very fine orchestra indeed. Last night, under the expert baton of guest conductor Trevor Pinnock, they gave an excellent performance of compositions by Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Mozart.
Visitors to Edinburgh over a summer weekend this year have a choice of Sunday morning Christian worship in two dozen churches in the centre of the city. The main services start at either 10.30 am or 11 am and last between an hour and an hour and a half. Every church welcomes visitors.
The composers in this programme are interlinked by friendship. Brahms visited Robert and Clara Schumann in 1853 when he was 20, and immediately became a close friend of the couple.
Benjamin Britten composed his War Requiem for the consecration of Edinburgh-educated Sir Basil Spence’s Coventry Cathedral in 1962 following the near total destruction of its predecessor by Luftwaffe bombs dropped in November 1940.
The Arnold Singers from Rugby School were in the choir stalls under the direction of Rugby’s Director of Music, Richard Dunster-Sigtermans, and waiting behi
A robed figure wanders across the Usher Hall stage, surrounded by cosmic paraphernalia and alien effigies, towards a grand bank of keyboards which could easily double as flight cockpit for an interstellar journey. The figure, mysterious and hooded, sparks up a generating organ hum, his fingers slamming across the key controls. The sound of musical engines revving up, building up to a potential take-off, a moment signalled when a bespectacled rapper wanders onstage and intones, “It’s BEYOND the end of the world!”, over and over and over again.
Almost 120 players between the ages of 13 and 21 sat patiently on stage without a single fidget to be seen when on came the young conductor, Garry Walker, reaching his podium with a jaunty spring in his step, to conduct Shostakovich’s short Festive Overture.
The Scottish Chamber Orchestra began this classical programme with a stirring Haydn composition.
The concert began with the overture to Mozart’s well known opera Don Giovanni. Then the orchestra had a slight reshuffle with additional players in preparation for the arrival of the violinist Vadim Gluzman to play Brahms’ Violin Concerto.
The hurricane twists and howls as the Kansas farmgirl cowers with her little dog, Toto. It’s a moment of dramatic transformation, as the grey everyday world is torn asunder and we are lifted far away to the magical kingdom of Oz. It makes a good backdrop for a loud rock ‘n’ roll band to come onstage to.
As we approached the Usher Hall we saw Stephen Duffy interviewing Donald Runnicles on the huge screen on the plaza outside the Sheraton Hotel, across the road from the Usher Hall. The former George Watson’s College pupil, who went on to sell programmes in the Usher Hall in order to get to hear some of the world’s finest musicians perform there in the early seventies, was saying just how good it was to be back in the Usher Hall. In his view its acoustic is amongst the best five in the world. And his own world wide career as a conductor is putting him high on anybody’s list.
"Oceans apart - these words convey so much of the spirit and ambition behind the Edinburgh International Festival in 2010." So writes Jonathan Mills, its Director, in his introduction to the programme.
One of the less visible activities of the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) is its its year-round programme of education and outreach. Around 1,000 young people are participating in workshops and projects this year, that explore the cultural diversity of performers and the ideas raised in the Edinburgh's flagship arts festival.
The 2010 Edinburgh International Festival Fireworks Concert will this year celebrate "Music from the Movies", it was announced by Festival Director Jonathan Mills this morning at the launch of the programme for the EIF, taking place in August and early September.
There’s always that fear when there’s only one piece on the programme, and so no interval, that you are in for a long slog. But far from it with Stéphane Denève’s interpretation of Mahler’s full and complex 6th Symphony.
Northern Ballet Theatre's reputation has grown immeasurably since David Nixon took over as Artistic Director in 2001. Since then he has created and choreographed nine full-length ballets for the company and in December last year won an OBE for services to dance.
Dear God, I hate myself. So wails Jamie Stewart as he stands wracked, seemingly almost in pain, at the microphone. His eyes are permanently screwed shut as he wrestles with technology to expose whatever demons lie rank within him.
Richard Egarr, Music Director of the Academy of Ancient Music, was the guest conductor of this performance of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven compositions played by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Songs For An Airless Room styles itself as somewhere between theatre and a piece of music to be performed. If this is fairly grandiose and self-regarding it nevertheless is an ambitious collaboration between live musical performance and screened film.