V CLASSICAL HAMLE‘I’
Shakespeare plays and music are hardly an unusual partnership. Operas galore have taken Shakespeare as their inspirational starting point. What is unusual about the Royal Scottish Orchestra‘s concert on Friday 28 at the Usher Hall is that it features three different composers. but only one play— Hamlet. Shostakovich, Prokofiev and who else but. of course, Tchaikovksy. have all written incidental music for Shakespeare‘s great tragedy. For Tchaikovsky. the Festival's main composer. Hamlet came towards the end of his life when the composer was experiencing great success with the public and critics but suffering from severe depression inwardly. Reﬂecting the character of its subject, it is a greatly varied work and utilises some earlier material including a reworking of the fantasy overture Hamlet, shortened and rescored. Tchaikovsky himselfconducted the first performance. In Edinburgh, the Royal Scottish Orchestra is conducted by Gennadi Rozhdestvensky. To be there or not to be there? There really is no question. Given the proven deftness oftouch in programme planning as the Festival has unfolded so far, it‘s got to be the former. (Carol Main)
I iioyal Scottish Orchestra (International Festival) Usher Hall, 225 5756. 28 Aug, 8pm. £8—£20.
V FOLK CAPERCAILLIE
Keyboard player Donald Shaw and singer Karen Mathieson of
contemporary Celtic/Gaelic band Capercaillie dipped into the Festival last week when they came over from
THE EDINBURGH CASTLE CONCERTS
While not quite matching the gap I between the making of ‘The Last ' Picture Show' and its sequel ‘Texasville', orthe length of time it took to persuade Anthony Perkins to adopt the character of Norman Bates a second time, ‘Tubular Bells II’ has had one heck of a long gestation period. Some would say that even two decades was not long enough to recover from Mike Oldfield's ambitious instrumental debut; others will thrill at the prospect of hearing again the motif that sent shivers down their spine in ‘The Exorcist'. Either way, the battlements of Edinburgh Castle will no doubt provide a suitably impressive backdrop lorthe unveiling. Laterthis year, the composition will be released on an album -the producer selected by Oldfield for the task was none other than Trevor Horn - but the live BBC2 broadcast (stand by yer videos!) will satisfy those who can’t make it to the 1 Castle and can’t wait that long. . And even the dissenters who wish i that every copy of ‘Tubular Bells’ I should be melted down, prelerany : with as many copies of ‘Dark Side 0f 1 The Moon’ as can be recalled, will note . that Oldfield is donating the proceeds l of the concert to The Prince’s Scottish I Youth Business Trust and The Prince’s i Trust In Scotland. No less of an event to their tens of thousands oi Scottish fans is Wet Wet I Wet’s prestigious appearance on the I
Castle Bock- lirme sold out weeks ago -and Nigel Kennedy’s perlormance, torwhich he promises a programme of not only Bartok and Kleisler but some geezer called Hendrix.
Hopefully, Kennedy won’t be attempting a cover version of the maestro’s ‘The Smashing Of The Amps‘, or anything that might upset those living nearby; the first rock shows here last year by Runrig and Van Morrison are remembered as concerts suffused with a sense of occasion, and it would be a shame if this most majestic of venues was lost. (Alastair Mabbott)
The Edinburgh Castle Concerts (Fringe) Edinburgh Castle (Venue 5) 557 2590, 2, 4, 5 Sept, 8pm.
Glasgow for a spot on TV‘s Edinburgh Nights roundup. and Donald is looking forward to their Playhouse concert.
‘lt‘s the biggest gig we‘ve done so far. In smaller venues. like the Queen‘s Hall, which is fine and has a great. intimate feel to it, we were having to do two shows on the one night. or take the hall for a few nights to get all the audience in. It‘s hard to get a buzz going when you‘ve just done a concert in the same venue. and we wanted to do a bigger production. so we had to move up to the bigger stage. Regular Music, the promoters. are right behind the band, and
the tickets are going well. so everything looks good.
‘Then we‘re straight off on a mind-blowing European trip. 25 nights back-to-back playing theatres. and we‘re taking along some of the very best Irish players as support. Paddy Glackin. Martin O‘Connor and others. so it‘s obviously going to be wild.‘
The band‘s first Antipodean trip is scheduled for November. Earlier this year. the band toured Portugal and Spain, and played the major English festivals at Cambridge, Glastonbury and WOMAD, but Donald enthuses most about the group‘sjourney to the former Yugoslav province ofMacedonia. ‘There was no trouble at all. We ﬂew to Sofia and drove through the border to the festival. There were groups from Bulgaria and wonderful musicians from all over the Balkans. but we had some amazing sessions with the pipers. playing what looked like sheep stuffed under their arms. Although it‘s obviously a lot poorer,
there are lots ofparallels with Scotland, and the people are great, so friendly. They made us feel so welcome, so at
home.‘ (Norman Chalmers)
I Capercaillie (Fringe) Playhouse Theatre (Venue 59) 557 2590, 29 Aug. 7.30pm. £8. £7.
An interesting and unusual group plays for the duration of the Festival, but were too late to be included in the Fringe Programme. Dominated by the sonorities of a string quartet, albeit used in idioms not usually inhabited by string players, the music of Ba] is that standard, unclassiﬁable amalgam of classical, rock, folk and jazz that appears on the fringe of every major festival.
What is different about this group is that they have evolved a style. Based in London, the group has performed at the ICA, Royal Festival Hall, Mean Fiddler and various left-ﬁeld venues. Distinctly idionsyncratic
but with an obvious organic organisation and a curious sweet/sour lyricism, the repertoire is made up of darkly dramatic, elliptical compositions by singer Stewart Lane, who writes the lyrics, the melodies and arranges all the parts. Could this become self-indulgent?
‘I use sound, and verbal images to create a whole. What about a novelist who creates and edits a whole book by himself? Anyway, as a teenager I listened to mainstream rock and pop music, but I was always drawn to unusual sounds and listened as widely as I could. I‘ve realised over the years that the string quartet has the greatest potential ofall groups of instruments. And I‘m lucky that the musicians enjoy playing my material.‘ ~ (Norman Chalmers)
I Bet (Fringe) Acoustic Music Centre (Venue 25) 220 2462. until 5 Sept. 12.30pm.
. V FOLK
ACOUSTIC MUSIC CENTRE
The Acoustic Music Centre in Chambers Street is the hub ofthe Festival‘s folk and world music activity. On three levels, it plays host to
. scores of groups and soloists and also functions as a club with informal
sessions and loosely organised music in the large downstairs bar areas. After 8pm. there is an admission charge of£1 on weekdays and Sunday,
: and £2 on Friday. The Box
Office is open from noon till midnight and snacks, meals and drinks from the bar are available from 11am. Music and drink
ﬂow till around 1.30am.
, nightinthc downstairsbar g
A festival band put together by some well-known local musicicans plays each
and the sound oftheir
fiddle. ﬂute, smallpipes andguitarisaugmented j byvisitingsingersand
The large top hall and bar is the venue for the major performers. Hamish Moore and Dick Lee return with their mischievous conjunction of saxophone and bagpipe, whistle and
. recorder; and while
Hamish specialises in the
various Scottish small 1 pipes and bellows-blown
pipes, Kathryn Tickell leads her ﬂeet foursome on the keyed
smallpipes. Indian flute
and tabla drums, and traditional and contemporary song from Scottish songwriter Dougie MacLean are other ingredients in a very rich cake. (Norman Chalmers)
I All at Acoustic Music Centre (Venue 25) 220 2462. Dick Lee and Hamish Moore Quartet, 3 Sept, 10.30pm,£5,£4; Kathryn Tickell Band. 3 Sept. 7.30pm, £6.50. £4; Classical Flute And Tabla Of Ancient India, 30 aug, 1.30pm, £4 (£3); Dougie Maclean. 30 Aug, 1 Sept. 7.30pm, £5.50.
Subtler and syncopated, Seannachie are evolving. The Edinburgh-based group have been a fixture of Fringe folk music for many years and their latest album, The Devil ’3 Delight, establishes them among the best of the current semi-professional Scottish folk bands.
Prominent among the fiddle, bouzouki. guitar and vocalist line-up is wizard concertinist Simon Thoumire, a previous winner of BBC Radio 2’s Young Traditional Musician ofthe Year award.
If the concertina is now associated solely with traditional music, it was not always so. The instrument evolved in the 19th century playing popular and classical music and was later taken up by many ragtime bands in the southern United States at the birth ofthe blues.
Simon‘s playing more represents that style in irreverent quicksilver runs, jazzy swing and insistent musical asides, although he restrains himself admirably within the Seannachie settings of traditional Scottish music. Now in his early 205, and just ﬁnishing a Maths course at university, Simon wants to make a
career in music. ‘I‘ve been
in the band forever, it seems. I joined when [was sixteen. I lied, said I was older. Now, I deﬁnitely want to make a go ofit playing full time. A professional concertina player. There is hardly such a thing. I don‘t want to go all into jazz, but I‘m doing things with jazz musicians, a sort of fusion. but with the Scottish element, and that‘s the direction of my solo album, due in the new year.‘ (Norman Chalmers) I Seannachie (Fringe) Doc‘s Place, (Venue 36) 650 2395. 28 Aug, 1 Sept. 9.30pm. £3.50.
48 The List 28 August - 10 September 1992