sat 13/02/2016

Scotland

The Story of Scottish Art, BBC Four

“Finding the Light”, the second episode of this four-part series, took us to the period when Scottish intellectuals led the world in innovative and revolutionary thinking, Edinburgh’s neo-classical architecture in the leafy streets of the New Town...

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Hector

It would take a brave soul to mention Peter Mullan and “national treasure” in the same breath. To start with, he’d be more than clear which nation has his allegiance, and then suggest, in the gentlest possible way, that maybe he was, well, a wee bit...

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Macbeth

The question of the Macbeths’ dead child is one of those Shakespearean quandaries, like Hamlet’s age, Iago’s cuckolding and Beatrice and Benedick’s earlier dalliance. How much do they really matter? In this new film version of the Scottish play, it’...

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When We Were Women, Orange Tree Theatre

Can you peg a whole play on a decent twist? When We Were Women’s narrative tease pays off interestingly, but takes a hell of a long time getting there. It leaves little space to explore the ramifications of an intriguing revelation, a frustration...

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Prom 24: BBCSSO, Runnicles

You never quite know whether a new work by James MacMillan is going to veer towards the masterly or the overblown. His magnificent chain of concertos has arguably yielded masterpieces, but the Third Symphony at the Proms in 2003 sounded like an...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Cocteau Twins

Cocteau Twins: The Pink Opaque, Tiny Dynamine/Echoes in a Shallow BayThe current fad for all things vinyl is of course, in general, a good thing. It has also meant that a column with CD in its header has, inevitably, broadened its scope. There might...

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theartsdesk at the East Neuk Festival: Church strings, garden horns

A peninsular spirit of place and the greatest of instrumentalists drew me a second time to the eastern nook (hence the “Neuk”) of Fife. But could a second report for theartsdesk be justified – wasn’t the premise the same for the 11th East Neuk...

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theartsdesk at the Edinburgh International Film Festival - part 2

It has felt like a strong year for the Edinburgh International Film Festival, even with new artistic director Mark Adams joining part-way through the programming process. And as the event sprinted towards its ever-denser conclusion – 17 "best of the...

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theartsdesk in Orkney: St Magnus Festival

Ebb of Winter felt about right. It’s one of Peter Maxwell Davies’s most recent works, a yearning for the brightness and warmth of spring at the end of an Orcadian winter, written in 2013 for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s 40th anniversary. And it...

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theartsdesk at the Cottier Chamber Project

The Cottier Chamber Project is coming to feel increasingly like Glasgow’s answer to the Proms. If the Proms took place in a former church high on shabby-chic charm, that is. And if they ran for just three weeks. And only covered chamber music.Okay,...

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The Dream of Gerontius, RSNO, Oundjian, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

To close its 2014-15 season the Royal Scottish National Orchestra chose the choral masterpiece that Elgar preferred not to call an oratorio, The Dream of Gerontius. Performances in Scotland are rare, whether this is because of Presbyterian unease...

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The Creation, SCO, Christophers, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

For the Scottish Chamber Orchestra the transition from its home in the Queen’s Hall to the much larger spaces of Usher Hall is not always a happy one. Earlier this season an experimental performance of Mahler’s fourth symphony lacked heft in the...

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