Classical blast _
In a joint commission between STV. the Scottish Arts Council and the Edinburgh International Festival. A Requiem for Lockerbie is on this year’s official programme. Here Karen Wimhurst. clarinettist in the mould-breaking Cauld Blast Orchestra. wears another hat as composer ofserious music. ‘It‘s not a liturgical requiem in form.‘ she says I about the piece. ‘it‘s really a song cycle. Thirty minutes ofit is a cappella choral music. that is the i main body of it. and on top of that there is a vocal soloist. concert harp. saxophone and a young girl singer from Dumfries.
‘lt‘s a hard piece to work on.‘ she continues. ‘because of the subject and what we all feel about it. It’s hard to write truly and appropriately.’
Despite her experience in contemporary music. Wimhurst stresses that A Requiem for Lockerbie is not explicitly for a modern music audience. ‘Not at all.‘ she says. ‘That‘s because ofwhere I i come from. [work in all sorts of
3 musical situations. and 1 think that
the piece is a hybrid of all my musical
3 experiences and training. which of
course is based in classical music. but moves much further afield. So the music is very melodic and. I think. engaging.
i ’The collaborative side of this work
has been very stimulating. very positive. Both Douglas Lipton. who has written the lyrics. and myself stayed with Keith Macintyre for two weeks in his studio. He painted. we wrote and composed. The results can
, be heard. and seen. Keith is
exhibiting two large paintings during the performances. one at either end ofthe church.‘
Wimhurst's next commission. one she starts working on after this Festival. is for English National
Opera. and is to be staged and filmed at the pit in a Yorkshire mining village next August. Ive been asked to write the music. with a librettist. to be scored for a Glenn Miller style big band. an accordion orchestra. and what was stated initially as twenty male voice choirs. although that may get whittled down to a more manageable number. But what’s a manageable number ofmale voice choirs'." (Norman Chalmers)
I Requiem ior Lockerbie (International Festival) Greyfriars Church. 225 5756. Sunday 18 Aug. 6pm. £6: Crichton Church. Dumfries. Mon 1‘) Aug. STV broadcast in September. Glasgow at Christmas in Kelvingrove Art Gallery.
Thrills and i hills
I Forthe past iouryears, Edinburgh’s 3 Calton Hill has been the scene oi an : extraordinary revival ol the ancient ; pagan Beltane Fire Festival to welcome ‘ the arrival oi summer. Led by a virginaI-white ialry queen, a noisy, percussive procession circles the hill by torch-light and, sometime alter midnight, a huge bonlire is set alight. it’s a good-natured event, but it’s not hard to imagine how such occasions might once have ended with a human sacriilce. -, The hill is thus an appropriate setting * tor the ilrst Fringe appearance oi the i Wales Actors’ Company and its ' production oi Cymbeiine, Shakespeare’s little-seen tale oi a King and his disobedient daughter. ‘The atmosphere does help and this is a Celtic play,’ agrees director Ruth Garnauit. ‘We believe that the most Important things are the text and the actor, so we always keep our staging I very simple and try to incorporate the I i
venue In some way with the action. There aren't endless lighting cues; the sun lust sets. Usually all the music is live, provided by the actors, and we try to use torch-light. It's natural elements
The company has been touring to castles and monuments ior six years — a policy which grew out oi the realisation that ii Welsh towns and villages didn’t have a theatre, they invariably had a iortress to their name. But playing outdoors has a very special spin-oil. ‘We’ve always been very interested in classical work,‘ says Garnault, ‘but it seems to work so well with Shakespeare and Elizabethan texts, because they were written for the open air. To do Shakespeare properly you have to sing it out and go lorthe verse in a very iuli way, and playing in the open air means you have to do that, you can't play it naturalistlcaily as it it was on a television screen.’
The actors discover new aspects oi Shakespeare because oi playing outdoors, but In the case at Cymbeline,
just the process oi periorming has made sense oi what is often considered an obscure and coniusing piece. Anybody reading it,’ says Garnault, ‘would think what a strange play and what a convoluted plot. We found as soon as we started moving it that it‘s a wonderiui story and nowhere near as complicated as you think. it has one oi the most extraordinary iinal scenes, which again on the page you think is ridiculous, and as soon as it gets going the audience just goes with it.’
ii playing outdoors involves an obvious risk-the company will provide alternative tickets should any periormance be rained oli— it can also provide unexpected advantages. ‘We did King Lear about three years ago,’ Garnault remembers, ’and one night we actually did it in a storm. it was
extrordinary, listening to the verse with
the real elements coming down. Another night at Caernarvon Castle we got hit by one oi the most amazing storms l’ve ever seen; the rain came down In sheets and everybody ran ior cover into a beautilul circular turret, it was large enough ior everybody to get into, but It was very intense and we did the second hall oi the play there. it was Othello which needed quite a close, domestic leellng anyway. As the play got more intense, so did the atmosphere.‘ (Mark Fisher) Cymbeline (Fringe) Wales Actors’ Company, Acropolis, Top oi Caiton Hill (Venue 26) 343 3017,19—31 (not25)
Mark Fisher singles outlive shows in the next12il minutesthatshouidn't disappoint.
I Ave Maria An old dormouse of a woman draws us into her lonely. fetish-filled world which becomes increasingly grotesque. A theatrical journey of astonishing insight. humour and physical dexterity.
C omplicité presents Linda Kerr Scott in Ave Maria (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 220 4349, until 31Aug, 7.45pm, £6.50 (£5).
I Triple Bill Dancing since 1938. Alicia Alonso leads the National Ballet of Cuba in three classical pieces. one ofwhich. Les Sylphides, was taught to her by choreographer Fokine in 1940.
Triple Bill (Festival) National Ballet of Cuba. King’s Theatre, 225 5756, 21and23 Aug, 7.30pm, £8—£I8.50.
I Dicing With Death Unlikely though it may sound. Copstiek and Cawley‘s combination of cookery, murder and mystery succeeds in being very funny and fulfils the promise ofthe press hand-outs.
Dicing With Death (Fringe) Copstiek and
C awley, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until31 Aug (not20. 27), 6pm, £5’f5.50 (£4.50).
I The Vision oi Nostrildamus A good year for puppetry with Solitude at The Traverse, Philip Genty on his way tothe International Festival, and this American
look at life out ofbalance’. The Vision of Nostrildamus (Fringe) Big Nazo. Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425, 19—31 Aug, 7.45pm. £5
I Medea: Sex War Volcano Theatre honcs the punchy style that made such an impression with last year's V. in a raunchy and witty staging ofTony Harrison's poem. Medea: Sex War (Fringe) Vult‘ttm) Theatre. Theatre Workshop (Vt’tittt’20) .726 5425. until/7Aug. 7.30pm. 19—31Aug(not Sun 25). 11pm. [5(1'4).
Two hours in which to avoid the restaurant queuesand early-evening drinkers and ingest a spot at
The List 16-22 August 199139