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In a nice touch, the trumpeter had Paul Harrison play piano on ‘Freddie Freeloader’, just as Wynton Kelly did in the original session, where Bill Evans was pianist on everything else. Steele reverts to quintet for these gigs, in which the musicians will pay tribute to the spirit of the originals, while allowing scope for their own individuality to emerge. (Kenny Mathieson) ■ The Jazz Bar, 220 4298, 17–22 Aug, 9pm; 23–26 Aug, 9.30pm, £10. PREVIEW RETREAT! A mini-festival of fantastically named locally sourced indie
PREVIEW BACH AT GREYFRIARS Europe’s finest converge for Johann Sebastian
In Jonathan Mills’ third Edinburgh International Festival programme, the highly successful early evening slots he has established at Greyfriars Kirk are focused this time round on the music of one composer – JS Bach. Across eight hand-picked top international ensembles, the cantatas which lie at the heart of Bach’s immense musical output are heard alongside complementary pieces by his fellow German Baroque contemporaries, Handel and Buxtehude. First on is the Belgium-based Huelgas Ensemble, who present
PraeBachtorius, which takes a fresh look at Bach and the inspirational influence of his predecessor, Michael Praetorius. Moving onto the cantatas themselves, the Dunedin Consort, with soprano Susan Hamilton and bass Matthew Brook as soloists, performs the ‘Dialogue Cantatas’ which symbolise the conversation between Jesus Christ and the human soul. Conceived with the aim of introducing Western baroque music to Japanese audiences, Bach Collegium Japan, who appear with their founder Maasaki Suzuki, are renowned for the beauty of their deeply moving interpretations of Bach’s music. In their EIF debut, they present a concert of solo cantatas, and can also be heard the preceding evening at the Usher Hall in a concert performance of Handel’s opera, Rinaldo. (Carol Main) ■ Greyfriars Kirk, 473 2000, 20 Aug–3 Sep, 5.45pm, £17.
PREVIEW MADE IN SCOTLAND The soul of Scotland in music A favourite of youth orchestras at the Fringe, Peter Maxwell Davies’ An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise makes it to the main EIF stage for the first time as part of an orchestral programme celebrating music made in Scotland. The only piece in the Festival to include bagpipes and swanee whistle in its scoring, it’s a true-to-life musical picture of a wedding where the guests’ enthusiasm for celebrating involves appropriate refreshment being taken into the wee sma’ hours. As
dawn breaks over Caithness, a solo bagpiper appears at the back of the hall, marching proudly through the audience to take centre stage. Originally commissioned by the Boston Pops Orchestra, it is the Royal Scottish National Orchestra who perform it in Edinburgh. More serious matters made in Scotland are Maxwell Davies’ Symphony No 5 and James MacMillan’s The Confession of Isobel Gowdie. In mid-17th-century Scotland, she was burnt at the stake for supposedly being a witch. For MacMillan, the piece is about the mercy and humanity denied to Gowdie in the last days of her life and the requiem that she never had. (Carol Main) ■ Usher Hall, 473 2000, 16 Aug, 8pm, £10–£39. for GLASGOW MUSIC see non-Festival magazine
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Shopping local is even better when it’s free. So it goes with the second edition of Retreat!, a bijou DIY all-day smorgasbord of 14 acts, many of whom are culled from Edinburgh’s fertile lo-fi anti-folk circuit. Rather than hosting a slew of drippy boys putting bad poetry to acoustic dirges, however, Retreat! more resembles the disparate set of eccentric troubadours that injected a punk spirit into underground cabaret in the early 1980s. Founded in 2008 by the promoters
behind The Gentle Invasion and Tracer Trails events via a low-key series of sold-out shows in a west end basement café, Retreat!’s idea is to provide a haven of hand-knitted creativity in a speakeasy environment. Such attitude is typified by BBC 6 Music favourite Withered Hand, the edgy provocations of The Leg, and fellow travellers Meursault and The Pineapple Chunks. There’s also the looped vocal rounds of Wounded Knee, the songs of Rob St John and Jo Foster, as well as magnificently monickered types of the Come in Tokyo, ’Allo Darlin’ and Enfant Bastard variety to be had. Upwards and onwards. (Neil Cooper) ■ Bristo Hall, 650 2427, 16 Aug, 11am–3am, free.
Online Booking Fringe www.edfringe.com International Festival www.eif.co.uk Book Festival www.edbookfest.co.uk Art Festival www.edinburghartfestival.org
‘supergroup’ which emerged from these extended sessions – and has collaborated further with individuals whom she met during this time. Notably, Edgar and Karine Polwart have contributed significantly to each others’ albums (Edgar’s Butterflies and Broken Glass was released to welcoming reviews in 2008), while Polwart recorded their co-written ‘1,2,3,4,5’ as a duet with Paolo Nutini. In her own right, Edgar is also a strong solo performer with a gorgeous voice, reminiscent in places of both Eddi Reader and KD Lang. Visitors to the city are advised to check her out as one example of Edinburgh’s finest mainstream songwriting talent. (David Pollock) ■ Acoustic Edinburgh @ Medina, 225 6313, 11 Aug, 9pm, £7; St Mark’s artSpace, 228 1155, 14 Aug, 8pm, £10 (£8); St John’s Church, 221 2273, 15 Aug, 9.30pm, £10 (£8).
PREVIEW KIND OF BLUE – COLIN STEELE QUINTET Celebrating a jazz icon
The year 1959 was something of a landmark in the annals of modern jazz, and yielded a number of classic jazz recordings, including Dave Brubeck’s Time Out, Charles Mingus’s Ah Um! and John Coltrane’s Giant Steps. Pre- eminent among them, though, is the record that is probably the most iconic jazz album ever made, Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue.
Trumpeter Colin Steele marked the actual 50th anniversary of the recording in April with a sextet concert in which Martin Kershaw took on the Cannonball Adderley role on alto saxophone alongside Colin’s established quintet with Phil Bancroft (tenor saxophone), Dave Milligan (piano), Kenny Ellis (bass) and Stu Ritchie (drums).