Edinburgh News: music
As the musicians take the stage in front of Nobles Bar's large dominating set of stained glass windows the sun comes out and highlights the central image high above them, of Madonna and child in a boat alone in the ocean.
The National Theatre of Scotland (NATS) is launching a nationwide search to find a piper for a touring production of the critically acclaimed production of Black Watch. Open auditions are being held in Glasgow on Friday 16th July 2010 at the The National Piping Centre from 12.30pm – 7.30pm.
Even if you have never seen Cole Porter’s madcap musical, you are sure to know many of the songs: the performance opens with the foot tapping, “Another Opening, Another Show”, Act II with “Too Darn Hot”. Blending romantic ballads, dance numbers, jazzy tunes and Operetta, the original 1948 production ran for over 1,000 performances and won a Tony Award for Best Musical.
As August approaches and another jamboree of music, comedy, dance and theatre comes Edinburgh’s way, Mika, Dizzee Rascal and Plan B are just some of the headline acts confirmed for this years Edge Festival.
Red Note Ensemble is a Scottish-based professional music ensemble that made its debut in 2008. Based on an observation that "compositional software ...out of range notes [would turn] red ..." when faced with the innovation of Bill’s Sweeney’s work, it was decided that "Red Note will be the group that will play the unplayable.” And so Red Note was baptised.
Assembly Theatre has announced it will create a new city centre Fringe venue in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens, set against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. Assembly says the venue will re-invigorate the Ross Bandstand site with a special sub-structure to create an elevated platform for a Belgian dance tent along with a Festival garden bar in association with Bulmers.
The Manfred Overture which started the Schumann Jubilee Concert by the Orchestra of the Canongait was a turbulent and troubled piece of music.
On an early summer’s afternoon we were treated to not just one, but two mass settings with five lively but mystical songs in between. It was very much a concert for the Usher Hall organ and the organist. Morley Whitehead is organist at Morningside Parish Church. Indeed last week he and the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union were the featured choir on BBC Radio Two’s Sunday Half Hour.
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.