Music highlights from the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival
Melvyn Tan and Bamberg Symphony Orchestra among picks
This article is from 2011.
The Queen's Hall morning concerts can usually be relied on for a few Festival surprises. Hearing perfectly formed piano music by 18th century Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti alongside Sonatas and Interludes by 20th century American John Cage is likely to be one of them. Choosing a selection from the total of 555 short Scarlatti sonatas originally written for harpsichord, the remarkable Melvyn Tan then makes a seismic shift to an instrument that has been prepared with all sorts of odd bits of ironmongery attached to its insides in pursuit of a whole new percussive sound world.
Queen's Hall, Clerk Street, Mon 15 Aug, 11am, £8–£29.
Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
Dipping the Usher Hall's toe into the possibilities offered by late-night concerts, the impressive Bamberg Symphony Orchestra open their mini-residency with a mini-ish arrangement of a big piece. The young Latvian conductor Ainars Rubikis, winner of Bamberg's Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition last year, directs a dozen of the players and Korean soprano Yeree Suh in Erwin Stein's stripped back version of Mahler's Symphony No 4, originally arranged for the strapped-for-cash Viennese Society for Private Musical Performances. For those who prefer the full orchestral sound at conventional times, the orchestra's main appearances are with Principal Conductor Jonathan Nott.
Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 1 Sep, 10.30pm, 2 & 3 Sep, 7.30pm, £12–£42.
Philadelphia with Charles Dutoit
Put one legendary conductor with one legendary orchestra and a new legend may well be made in Edinburgh as Charles Dutoit and the Philadelphia Orchestra bring two explosive programmes to the Usher Hall. As if Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances and Ravel's heady La Valse weren't more than enough for one evening, they're back with more the next night in a concert for which the word blockbuster could have been invented. It's passion all the way with Sibelius' Finlandia, Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, the virtuosic solo role taken by Dutch violinist Janine Jansen, and Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique. Not only fantastique but pretty magnifique too.
Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 30 Aug, 8pm & 31 Aug, 7.30pm, £12–£42.
Scottish Chamber Orchestra with Robin Ticciati and Magdalena Kozena
A thrilling combination: the exciting Robin Ticciati conducting his beloved SCO, the National Youth Choir of Scotland with their equally adored chorus master, Christopher Bell, voices to die for Magdalena Kozena and Simon Keenlyside, and an EIF world premiere from Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa are quite amazingly all cued up for the same evening. Inspired by the Japanese art of flower-arranging, Blossoming is an atmospherically charged reworking for orchestra of an earlier string quartet. It's the masterpiece that is Duruflé's Requiem which brings everyone together though in a performance that's sure to be one of the Festival's truly outstanding highlights.
Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 21 Aug, 7.30pm, £12–£42.
Simon Keenlyside with Malcolm Martineau
The pairing of respected British baritone Simon Keenlyside with accompanist extraordinaire Malcolm Martineau is one that is so much more than singer and pianist. It is a partnership of deep understanding that unfailingly gets under the skin of the music they perform and heads straight to its heart. Who could forget their completely absorbing Dichterliebe last year as part of the Queen's Hall morning series? Returning to Edinburgh with German lieder from Mahler, Strauss and Schubert, this time they will appear in the more capacious Usher Hall, where intimacy will be a challenge. But if anyone can draw in their audience no matter what the location, surely this duo can.
Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 19 Aug, 7.30pm, £12–£34.