Top Festival SoundBites from Sinfini Music

This article is from 2015

Top Festival SoundBites from Sinfini Music

San Francisco Symphony's Michael Tilson Thomas / Photo: Bill Swerbenski

We pick out five of the best podcasts accompanying EIF classical shows, from Mozart to Mahler

The Edinburgh International Festival is renowned for programming a range of quality music throughout August. Now, top-class classical music is more accessible than ever, as the festival has teamed up with Sinfini Music to bring a series of Festival SoundBites to its audience, which explore featured music through podcasts, cartoons, guides and more.

Sinfini is a dedicated website which helps users to ‘cut through the classical’ and discover more about the genre, with everything explained in straightforward, jargon-free terms. The Festival SoundBites podcasts, which are available on Soundcloud, tackle EIF shows in a similar way – they break down the work being performed at various events, and provide facts and colour to help the audience fully appreciate them. Here, we take a look at five of our favourites, from well-known traditional pieces to more modern compositions.

Mahler’s Symphony No 1
‘This is the dullest symphonic work produced in modern times’, the SoundBite starts, before the impressive music kicks in. Don’t worry, it’s a quote from a critic who heard the symphony in Dresden, 1898, and since Mahler 01 is widely considered to have heralded a ‘new frontier’ in symphonic writing, it’s not a statement many classical music lovers would agree with. Hear more about the not-so-dull symphony in the audio file, or hear it for yourself when it’s played by the San Francisco Symphony.
San Francisco Symphony 01, Thu 27 Aug, Usher Hall, 7.30pm, £14

Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata
Ludwig Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’ was completed in 1801, and over 200 years later it remains an astonishingly popular piece of work. This soundbite looks at the piece, which Rudolf Buchbinder will be performing at the Playfair Library as part of the Beethoven Sonatas series, and explores its history, the story behind its title, and the powerful emotions that the music evokes for the listener.
Rudolf Buchbinder: Beethoven Sonatas – Concert 2, Sun 9 Aug, Playfair Library, 5pm, £25

Arvo Pärt’s Magnificat
This isn’t about a magnificent cat. It’s a piece by the enigmatic 79-year-old Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, which is being performed by the Tallis Scholars at The Queen’s Hall. The accompanying SoundBite gives further details about Pärt, (who is described as having a ‘long beard and sad eyes’) and recognises his musical style as new, yet rooted in history and spirituality. Here, listeners can learn more about the composer’s past, his canon of work, and the nature of his renowned music.
Tallis Scholars, Mon 10 Aug, The Queen’s Hall, 11am, £8.50

Mozart’s Requiem
One of Wolfgang Mozart’s great masterpieces is the visionary ‘Requiem’, which is being performed by the Budapest Festival Orchestra (conducted by Ivan Fischer) at the Usher Hall. This SoundBite allows you to unearth the suspicious tale behind the piece: ‘Deep down, he knows he’s been poisoned, and this will be the last piece of music he ever writes. It’s not just a commission, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is writing his own requiem’.
Mozart’s Requiem, Tue 18 Aug, Usher Hall, 8pm, £12

Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress
Hear all about the story behind The Rake’s Progress, Igor Stravinsky and W.H. Auden’s operatic morality tale. This piece itself has it all, from bearded ladies to spells in Bedlam, and is being performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Conservatoire Voices, with Sir Andrew Davis conducting.
The Rake’s Progress, Wed 12 Aug, Usher Hall, 7.30pm, £12

Listen to the full set of Festival Soundbites podcasts.