City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Transplanted Concert, Royal Botanic Garden Lecture Theatre, Review


By Barnaby Miln - Posted on 19 October 2014

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High Heels.jpg
Show Details
Company: 
High Heels and Horse Hair
Production: 
Oswald, Scabious; Oswald, Rocket; Oswald, Primrose; McGuire, Clover; Tuulikki, Heartsease; Oswald, Heather Bells; Ward, Lukkaminnies'OO; Weir, Sundew; Fennessy, The Changeless and The Changed (St Kilda Dandelion); Oswald, Sneezewort; Kershaw, Waxcap; MacRae, Cladonia Bellidiflora; Oswald, Hawthorn; Stout, The Juniper Run.
Performers: 
Alice Rickards (violin), Sonia Cromarty (cello).
Running time: 
80mins

Known for their love of shoes together with the hairs of a stringed instrument's bow, Alice Rickards and Sonia Cromarty are High Heels and Horse Hair. They are an inventive pair - I have enjoyed earlier concerts.

This time they brought together their love of native Scottish plants and the music of the little known Scottish Baroque composer James Oswald (1710-1769). Add to that the work of the plant conservation charity Plantlife and they had the makings of a fine concert. But in addition to the music of James Oswald they commissioned eight living Scottish composers to write on one side of paper music for a named Scottish plant, fungi or lichen.

What we heard was the violin and cello playing fourteen short pieces each based on a named plant, fungi or lichen. Meanwhile on the large screen behind them some really good photographs reminded us what they looked like.

After an introduction with two pieces by James Oswald Scabious and Rocket we heard three based on Spring - Primrose, Clover and Heartsease. Summer was Heather Bells with its highland reel, the atmospheric Lukkaminnies' OO (Cotton Grass) and Judith Weir's Sundew. Autumn was about a dandelion newly discovered on St Kilda, Sneezewort and Waxcap. Winter was the lichen Cladonia bellidiflora, Hawthorn which ended with a Scottish jig and finally The Juniper Run - juniper is one of only three native Scottish conifers.

A lovely concert in a special and relevant venue - but, as a professional (agricultural) botanist as a young man, I would have loved to have had living examples of each of the plants to inspect during the interval. Maybe next time.

Concert: Saturday 18th October 2014 at 2.30pm