Live Music in Edinburgh

Late Night Ceremony, theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, Review

The fundamentals of human existence – three quasi rituals, one fascinating show.

Fitch’s powerful opener was both energised and energising, in many ways a paradox: a manifesto of hope yet set in the midst of the apocalyptic. Their work, ‘Revelations’ took us to the uttermost extremities of the post-modern world and challenged the very values humankind had presupposed: “all gold is fool’s gold", “the drink that ends in thirst”. Throughout, the ‘poisoned, parched shrivelled earth’ is used as a metaphor for the human soul and spirit.

Purposeless Movements, The Studio, Review

Birds of Paradise produced Purposeless Movements back in 2016 to address a specific medical description of CP:  "Which of our movements are purposeless?" The production dives into what it means to be a man living with Cerebral Palsy. Four professional actors with varying intensity of the condition present their perspective in an open, funny and poignant manner.

Back to Black: The Music of Amy Winehouse, theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, Review

A heartfelt, gutsy and justifiably packed performance.

Much was made in this show not only of the iconic nature of the music of Amy Winehouse, but also of the public’s parallel fascination with her personal life. To do a show combining the two was therefore not without risk, but the balance was beautifully and sensitively struck – the singing was simply superb, and coverage of Amy’s own inner struggles was handled with genuine respect and empathy.

Hauntology, theSpace @ Niddry Street, Review

There was something special about this performance – an all-embracing energy that affects and stays with you.

From the beginning of the show and throughout, there is an enigmatic yet ethereal dimension to both the songs and the singing – haunting yet hypnotic. You keep pondering the performance long after you’ve left, and the music leaves you indelibly changed.

Contemporary Choral Classics, Canongate Kirk, Review

The Choir has achieved a reputation for its “rich and beautiful sound”, an accolade which it lived up to, in this jaw-dropping recital of astounding quality.

Consisting of eleven pieces within the modern choral tradition, the programme gave us a succession of beautiful works which had all the characteristics that the genre is known for: an unashamedly uplifting feel, numerous key changes, and lush harmonies – ‘The Ground’ and ‘Alleluia’ being two of the very best examples.

Membra Jesu Nostri, St Vincent’s Chapel, Review

Part of the programme for St Vincent’s week long Sacred Arts Festival, this was a fascinating recital of a rarely performed piece.

Seven succinct cantatas compose a meditative reflection on the crucified Christ, with the text taken from the mediaeval hymn ‘Salve Mundi Salutare’.  Each cantata is inspired by a biblical text reworked into a sung devotion, with each section addressed to one of the Limbs of Christ, the title of this work.

Handel Revenged, St Cecilia’s Hall, Review

There are many musical recitals taking place at the Fringe, but this one immediately struck you as being a bit different. 

Not only were we able to hear the beautiful 1755 Kirkman double-manual harpsichord in Scotland’s oldest purpose-built concert hall; but the programme itself had an eye-catching, maybe naughty title. Handel is well-known for borrowing material from other composers for inclusion in his own works; here we heard one of them, George Muffat, doing the same to Handel, with his 1736 ‘improved’ version of Handel’s Suite No. 4 in E minor.

Minstrels and Monarchs, artSpace@StMark’s, Review

An interesting, stimulating and varied programme, with a wide selection of music from the Renaissance period.

The director spoke knowledgably and passionately about the various instruments, and the commentary interspersed between the musical items was amusing and engaging. Though the text (and translation, where appropriate) of the songs was helpfully provided, it was clear that it was the instruments themselves that were the main source of fascination for the audience, and that it was these they came to see.