Music highlights from the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival

This article is from 2011

Music highlights from the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival

Bamberg Symphony Orchestra

Melvyn Tan and Bamberg Symphony Orchestra among picks

Melvyn Tan
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.

Philadelphia Orchestra - Edinburgh International Festival 2011

Robin Ticciati, Strathpeffer 2009

Philadelphia Orchestra 01

An evening of 20th century masterworks with Charles Dutoit and one of America's great orchestras. A Russo-French programme starts with Stravinsky's Le chant ru rossignol, then Ravel's orchestral version of his own piano duet Ma mère l'oye (aka the Mother Goose suite); then Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances and finally…

Philadelphia Orchestra

Charles Dutoit and his team of indefatigable Philadelphians return for a second evening with a programme of masterworks. Sibelius' Finlandia is one of its composer's best-loved pieces; Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto highlights the young Dutch virtuoso Janine Jansen; Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique is one of the most…

Simon Keenlyside & Malcolm Martineau

British baritone Keenlyside is accompanied by Martineau in this programme including Mahler, Strauss and Schubert that should provide a fitting showcase for his honeyed tones. Part of Edinburgh International Festival.

Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Under the reliable baton of Robin Ticciati, the SCO, along with the National Youth Choir of Scotland and soloists Magdalena Kožená (mezzo-soprano) and Simon Keenlyside (baritone), presents a sweeping and imaginative tripartite programme: Ravel's Le tombeau de Couperin is followed by the world premiere of Toshio Hosokawa's…

Bamberg Symphony Orchestra 1

Jonathan Nott conducts the Bamberg Symphony in an evening of modernist exotica. Messiaen's Chronocromie and Sept Haïkaï explore the French master's fascination with Japanese music and Hindu rhythms. Bartók's The Miraculous Mandarin caused such a scandal at its 1926 première that it was subsequently banned; normally…

Bamberg Symphony Orchestra Late

Perfect for that point in the evening when you just need to get some Mahler inside you; the Bamberg Symphony are among the increasing number of classical ensembles providing budget-priced late-night concerts for people who want the music to go on all night. Here, young guest conductor Ainars Rubikis conducts Erwin Stein's…

Bamberg Symphony Orchestra 2

It's an-all Ravel evening with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, as Jonathan Nott conducts a programme by the most attractively enigmatic French composer. The Valses Nobels et Sentimentales is an intriguing combination of impressionism and modernism. Pierre-Laurent Aimard is the soloist for the Piano Concerto for the Left…

Melvyn Tan

Piano recital covering two very different styles of sonata: first are Scarlatti's refined 18th-century specimens, then it's on to John Cage's technically groundbreaking and at times disconcerting pieces. Part of Edinburgh International Festival.