tue 02/09/2014

Scotland

Andrew Marr’s Great Scots - The Writers Who Shaped a Nation, BBC Two

You didn’t have to wait for the words in the closing credits, “written and presented by”, to know that The Writers Who Shaped a Nation was a project that Andrew Marr was involved with fully. Its sheer broadcasting quality showed it from the...

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The James Plays, Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Rona Munro's history cycle may take some liberties with the facts, as the writer admits in the programme notes, but its broad narrative sweep has been talked about as a state-of-the-Scottish-nation trilogy. It's the first joint production of the...

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Edinburgh International Festival Opening Concert, RSNO, Knussen, Usher Hall

On paper this was an interesting programme. The Edinburgh Festival traditionally opens with a major choral work, but while the international audience would probably be happy with endlessly recycled requiems and masses, festival directors have often...

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The Secret History of Our Streets, BBC Two

Joseph Bullman's first series – about six London streets – won several awards, and deservedly so. Now he has turned his attention to Scotland in a three-parter starting in Edinburgh's Moray Place, and last night's opener was another beautifully...

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Britain's Whale Hunters: The Untold Story, BBC Four

Before the Vikings came to Britain there was no whaling, though coastal-dwellers would avail themselves of any beached strays by chopping them up for their meat and oil. It was the bellicose Norsemen who imported the notion of actively pursuing the...

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Shetland, Series 2, BBC One

Crime drama at its best not only offers a satisfying mystery and characters with whom we want to spend time, but a strong sense of place, a location that captures our imagination and makes us want to know more. Little wonder then that the BBC...

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theartsdesk in the Shetlands: Seasick Vikings

“Would we be able to prosecute the Vikings today, should we? I mean are there parallels between what the Nazis did by plundering art and gold, or what the German soldiers did who raped Norwegian women when they occupied Norway?” Silke Roeploeg might...

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Pires, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Ticciati, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

This is more an excuse for celebration than a review. Six years after the Scottish Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1974 – the birth year we were marking last night – I rolled up in a foggy Edinburgh one February day and chose it as my alma mater on...

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Power, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall

Baleful prophecies were rife before the concert. Was Vladimir Jurowski right to let Mahler’s only total tragedy among his symphonies, the Sixth, share the programme with anything else, least of all a new viola concerto in which the solo instrument’s...

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CD: Duncan Chisholm - Live at Celtic Connections

Chisholm was born and raised in Inverness in the Scottish Highlands, and was tutored by great fiddler player, composer and instrument maker Donald Riddell. He's a regular player with Julie Fowlis and with his own band Wolfstone, and this is a live...

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Andrew Maxwell, Soho Theatre

When Andrew Maxwell premiered Banana Kingdom at the Edinburgh Fringe earlier this year, its title made a lot more sense. The show was a coruscating examination of what Scotland might be if the independence vote next September goes Alex Salmond's way...

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CD: RM Hubbert - Breaks & Bone

The debates that come with music awards tend to be more interesting than the institutions themselves, which is why it was so novel to see this year’s SAY Award - the Creative Scotland-backed equivalent of the Mercury Prize - go to a work that was...

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