Music highlights from the 2014 Edinburgh International Festival

Including Sweet Mambo, Czech Philharmonic, Ganesh Versus the Third Reich, Inala, Les Troyens and Kronos Quartet

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This article is from 2014.

Music highlights from the 2014 Edinburgh International Festival

Sweet Mambo

Five years on from her death, Pina Bausch’s reputation as one of the most important choreographers of our age is only strengthening with time. Tanztheater Wuppertal, the dance ensemble she led from 1973, are carrying on her work and taking that jaw-dropping oeuvre to new audiences. Featuring music from the diverse likes of Brian Eno, Tom Waits, Portishead and Lucky Pierre, Sweet Mambo is sure to be a blazingly innovative highlight of this year’s International Festival.
Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, 0131 473 2000, 23–25 Aug, 7.30pm, £10–£32.

Czech Philharmonic

Two concerts from the orchestra conducted by Jiri Belohlavek. The first features Nicola Benedetti as they tackle Janácek, Korngold and Martinu together, while the second has mezzo soprano Bernarda Fink singing the powerful ‘Biblical Songs’ from Dvorák.
Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 22 & 23 Aug, 8pm, £12–£44.

Ganesh Versus the Third Reich

A story about reclamation plus a play within a play, it begins with the elephant-headed god Ganesh travelling through Nazi Germany to win back an ancient Hindu symbol for his people. Back to Back Theatre is a group of actors who, ‘in a culture obsessed with perfection and surgically enhanced “beauty”, are the real outsiders’.
Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street, 9, 11 & 12 Aug, 7.30pm; 10 Aug, 2.30pm, £10–£32.

Inala

Featuring dancers from Rambert and the Royal Ballet with music by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Inala (Zulu for ‘abundance of goodwill’) is sure to be a truly striking spectacle enhanced with costumes designed by expert in taxidermy, Georg Meyer-Wiel.
Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, 10–12 Aug, 8pm, £10–£32.

Britten’s War Requiem

Written as an anti-war statement rather than anything remotely resembling patriotic fervour, Benjamin Britten’s work was also dedicated to four of his friends, three of whom were killed in the war, the other later committed suicide. Andrew Davis conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra.
Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 14 Aug, 8pm, £12–£44.

Helen Lawrence

Influenced by post-war film noir, this multimedia thriller from Canadian Stage features a cast of misfits: we meet a bookie, a boxer and the titular blonde, who is on a mission to throw their plans into disarray.
King’s Theatre, Leven Street, 24–26 Aug, 8pm; 25 Aug, 3pm, £12–£32.

Les Troyens

From Virgil’s epic poem, Hector Berlioz’ opera has been compared to The Ring Cycle for scale and ambition, taking as its starting point the moment after Troy’s destruction. The Trojan warrior Énée sets out on a journey to found a new dynasty, but will his love for the Queen of Carthage prove stronger than his sense of duty?
Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, 28–30 Aug, 5pm, £20–£95.

Kronos Quartet

This ever-popular foursome offer up a night featuring the product of collaborations with Philip Glass and Clint Mansell. With the former, they return to his ‘String Quartet No 6’ which they premiered last year while with Mansell, they worked on the soundtrack to two Darren Aronofsky movies, The Fountain and Requiem for a Dream.
Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 19 Aug, 8pm, £10–£34.

Delusion of the Fury

Harry Partch operated on a non-mainstream level and many of the sounds he composed could only be played on instruments he built himself. See what the Ensemble musikFabrik make of the work by this ‘philosophic music-man seduced into carpentry’.
King’s Theatre, Leven Street, 29 & 30 Aug, 8pm, £15–£35.

Exhibit B

A unique and exciting event even by EIF standards, as Europe’s colonial history in Africa is explored through a mixture of performance and exhibition. Created by South African artist Brett Bailey, Exhibit B analyses the disturbing ‘human zoos’ of the late 19th century.
Playfair Library Hall, South Bridge, various dates and times, £14.

Virgin Money Fireworks Concert

This spectacular finale to the entire festival season is never anything less than a musical and pyrotechnical extravaganza, and this year Richard Wagner, Claude Debussy, Felix Mendelssohn, Ludwig van Beethoven and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky will be helping the month end with a bang (or two). It certainly doesn’t get more fireworky than the stirring ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ and ‘1812 Overture’, let’s be honest about it.
Princes Street Gardens, 31 Aug, 9pm, £12.50–£28.50. For tickets call 0131 473 2000.

This article is from 2014.

Virgin Money Fireworks Concert

The maw (and paw) of all fireworks displays brings the Festival season to a close with a programme of music inspired by the theme of war. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra performs Wagner's 'Ride of the Valkyries' from Die Walküre, Beethoven's Edmont Overture, Mendelssohn's 'War March of the Priests' from Athalie, Debussy's…

Czech Philharmonic 02: Smetana, Dvořák and Janáček

Mezzo soprano Bernarda Fink joins the Czech Philharmonic to perform Smetana's From My Life, Janáček's Sinfonietta and Dvořák's Biblical Songs.

Sweet Mambo

  • 4 stars

Pina Bausch's piece of dance theatre about the relationship between the sexes.

Exhibit B

  • 5 stars

A modern look at racism.

Les Troyens

  • 3 stars

Mariinsky Opera presents a view of the Trojan's ancient world with conductor Valery Gergiev and director Yannis Kokkos. This production is sung in French with English supertitles.

Helen Lawrence

  • 2 stars

The story of one woman's journey, tracking her target across the city.

Philharmonia Orchestra: Britten’s War Requiem

Sir Andrew Davis conducts Britten's piece of his pacifist beliefs which combines and contrasts texts from Latin Requiem Mass with First World War poetry by Wilfred Owen.

Ganesh Versus the Third Reich

A young man creates a play about the Hindu god, Ganesh, overcoming obstacles and travelling through Nazi Germany in order to reclaim the swastika. The cast and director, however, must overcome their own obstacles to defend the play. Performed in English, German and Sanskrit with English supertitles.

Kronos Quartet

A special recital to complement its film project Beyond Zero: 1914–1918, the quartet plays Philip Glass' String Quartet No 6 and Mansell's music from The Fountain and Requiem for a Dream.

Delusion of the Fury: A Ritual of Dream and Delusion

A large-scale music-theatre work featuring Harry Partch's instruments and inspired by Ethiopian myth and Japenese Noh theatre pieces.

Inala

  • 4 stars

A mix of Western ballet and traditional Zulu song and dance with live music from Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Beyond Zero: 1914–1918

A combination production from the Kronos Quartet, Serbian composer Aleksandra Vrebalov and filmmaker Bill Morrison, who uses rare and partial destroyed archive images to create his pieces.

Czech Philharmonic 01: Janáček, Korngold and Martinů

Violinist Nicola Benedetti joins the Czech Philharmonic to perform Janáček's 'Overture' from From The House of the Dead, Korngold's Violin Concerto and Martinů's Symphony No 4.

Bitter Music: Harry Partch’s Diary with David Moss

David Moss presents part of the musical text to accompany the staging of his last great opera Delusion of the Fury.

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