wed 05/08/2015

Scotland

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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Jenůfa, Scottish Opera

Even at the tragic heart of Janáček's Jenůfa there is ambiguity. As the Kostelnička or village sacristan takes her stepdaughter Jenůfa’s baby boy outside to drown it in the icy river, you cannot quite be sure whether she is motivated by...

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Ronald Stevenson (1928-2015): A virtuoso remembered

Ronald Stevenson, who died on Saturday at the age of 87, was a composer and pianist who will be much missed both in the small Borders village where he lived and by the much larger musical community in Scotland and beyond. As a composer he was...

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Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Søndergård, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Is there an ideal way to programme Metamorphosen? Richard Strauss’s elegiac masterpiece requires 23 solo strings. That’s more than most chamber orchestras can muster, but with a full size symphony orchestra the piece leaves most of the players with...

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CD: The Twilight Sad - Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave

You wonder what gets them out of bed. After more than a decade together, and with this, their fourth album, just released, The Twilight Sad must be feeling very miserable. The odd thing is, they seem to revel in their misery. “Scottish band who...

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