Edinburgh News: music
The Glasgow Chamber Choir under Michael Bawtree were in the Netherlands in March 2011 for two concerts singing with St Joris Kamerkoor, one in Amersfoort, the other in St Catherine’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Utrecht. St Joris Kamerkoor under Bas Ramselaar were now in Scotland with a concert in Edinburgh and another in Glasgow.
Stéphane Denève’s introductory remarks, after the customary exchange of Good Evening, helped set the scene for the last of this season’s ten works written in the first decade of this new century.
The concert at the Queen's Hall began with Brahms orchestral Variations on a theme of Haydn, Opus 56a, St Anthony Chorale. Composed in the summer of 1873, it begins with the St Anthony Chorale theme, in B-flat major, followed by eight distinctive harmonic variations and a majestic passacaglia finale.
I was introduced to the wonderful voice of Madeleine Peyroux a few years ago and fell in love with her plaintively pure voice singing the blues of Bessie Smith, the songs by Dylan, Cohen and Piaf as well as the odd self-penned number. She has the kind of voice you just have to settle down to hear sometimes as she brings these heartbreaking lyrics so beautifully to life.
In the 26 years since the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain was formed, while remaining esoteric, it has conquered the musical world with its unique take on music from pop to punk to classics and classical.
The Fringe Society, the body that publishes the Fringe programme, has opened nominations for the newly established Participants’ Council. The deadline for submitting nominations is 6 May 2011.
The 2011 Perthshire Amber Festival (28 October to 6 November), headed up by Scots singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean, has announced its line-up for Autumn this year. It includes rising star Emily Smith, Jimmie McGregor, Phil Cunningham, Archie Fisher and a host of familiar names from Scotland’s folk and trad scene, as well as Beoga from Ireland, Eliza Lynn from USA and Canadian Buddy MacDonald, all performing alongside Scotland’s Dougie MacLean.
The African Soul Rebels tour is now an annual fixture at the Usher Hall, but this year the format is slightly different. Instead of the usual mix of three or four groups and artists from the continent, tonight is almost entirely given over to one performer.
Rachel and Becky Unthank are the Northumbrian sister singers of the eponymous band, The Unthanks. While they sound as though they have been singing since they were born, the band has only been in existence since 2004 and is now a 10 piece ensemble with several successful CDs behind them and a new one just out.
Yet again there was nearly a full house at the Usher Hall.
Late afternoon on Passion Sunday in St Cuthbert’s with its frieze behind the altar depicting the Last Supper was well chosen. There are some wonderfully familiar lines in The Crucifixion.
Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) collected thousands of his native Hungarian folk songs and music. His Dances from Galanta come from the town where he spent many happy childhood years.
Intermezzo tells the tale of a husband mistakenly unfaithful who is accused by a bossy wife who has double standards. The tale is that of Richard Strauss and his wife and is set in 1924 when it was first performed.
Alexander Zemlinsky (1871-1942) was a conductor in Vienna, Prague and then Berlin and whilst not a prolific composer was a member of the Second Viennese School. With the rise of Nazism he eventually settled in the USA. But during the difficult times he composed his Sinfonietta.
Tickets go on sale this morning (Saturday 2nd April) for the Edinburgh International Festival. EIF director Jonathan Mills has waxed that this year's Far Eastern themed (or "Far Western" as Mills has suggested) festival will be "highly embroidered, exquisite, gorgeous".
"It will intoxicate people with its ravishing beauty," says Mills.
With that in mind, we're asking what are the "must see" shows at this year's festival?
The unifying theme in this Scottish Chamber Orchestra's concert was dignified, haunting ethereal string passages - present in all three of the compositions featured in the programme.
Public sales of Edinburgh International Festival tickets start from 10am this Saturday 2 April. Ticket prices start at just £10. Students and under-18s can claim 50 per cent off.
Queuing to borrow a book should become a thing of the past when self service kiosks are installed in Edinburgh Central Library this Summer.
Raekwon has a new CD out. It’s called “Shaolin Vs Wu-Tang”. We know that because he’s exhorting us constantly to go out and buy it.