mm:- Pole position -
Peter Cudmore enthuses about an inspired juxtaposition of composers.
The tasty coupling of Schubert and Janacek makes this year‘s Festival one ’ of the most enticing prospects for a few years. with so many highlights as to leave one gibbering with anticipation. it’s a fascinating theme, presenting a striking contrast between Schubert’s easy gift for melody and Janacek’s virile sonon'ty.
Schubert’s contribution is for the most part familiar. Janacek’s less so. Although the Sinfonietta is well-enough known. several of the chamber works are a revelation, not least the delightful, eccentric Concertino. Taras Bulba too deserves to be heard more often: a look at the story reveals passions and attitudes which perhaps undermine some of our Western assumptions about central Europe. Composed in a frenzy of pan-Slavic zeal, its hostility to Poland is as eloquent as Janacek’s speech-sound technique could make it,
which, thankfully, means it quickly gets lost in translation. it’s wonderful music, but i can't help feeling a mite guilty about enjoying it after all that Poland has suffered since it was written. Sarka, the early opera which receives a rare concert performance alongside Schubert ’s Die F reunde von Salamanka is of similar blood. The plot follows a Czech folk-tale about a war between men and women in which (of course) human emotions complicate the simple conflict as Sarka falls in love with the enemy leader Ctirad. Since the sisters subsequently refuse to spare his life, Sarka betrays them, so it all ends conventionally with the men on top. The libretto was originally written by Julius Zeyer for Dvorak, and the author refused Janacek permission to use it. Although (plainly) he carried on regardless, the opera wasn’t performed until 1925, shortly before his death.
Schubert’s .Die F reunde von Salamanka is a short comic opera
loosely related to Twelfth Night as far as story is concerned. it’s an early work, composed around 1816 to a text by Meyrhoffer, with whom Schubert collaborated on some of his greatest songs.
Sarka/Die F reunde von Salamanka (International Festival) Usher Hall. 225 5 756. 24 Aug. 7pm. £8—£23.
It is a long way from Bannockbum to Berklee College in Boston, but Steve Hamilton gives every indication of having overcome his initial feeling that ‘Berklee wasn’t for the likes of me’. The pianist is now two years into his course there, and the benefits have been clearly evident in his playing this summer, notany opposite Ahmad Jamal at the Glasgow Jazz Festival.
As with Tommy Smith before him, cash had to be raised to pay for his study. Phil Collins is among those sponsoring ilamllton’s stay at Berklee, on the basis of a tape which his mum, the ‘fund-raising genius behind the 'whole operation’, sent to him. Seemingly, Collins liked what he heard, and contributed cash to the fund, although he has yet to meet Steve
iiamilton is already a lucid, inventive player, but is clearly still developing, although the progress he has made is palpable. lie acknowledges the overt
influence of Keith Jarrett at this point, but argues that he is still assimilatlng the raw material with which to build a more distinctive voice. Working with his teacher, I.qu Oardonyi, and his fellow students at Berklee can only help.
‘The best thing about Berklee is that i can play seven or eight hours a day with other students, and I find the
most valuable lessons are the ones that come from friends who know more than I do. My awareness of (an has been stretched backward and forward in time, but there are still a million things i want to check out.’ (Kenny Mathieson)
Steve iiarnllton Ouartet (Fringe) Ceilidh liouse (Venue 9) 22-26 Aug, 9pm, £4.50 (£4).
I Oslo Philharmonic Thrilling stuff from this intemationally-acclaimed orchestra and conductor Mariss Jansons. Just to hear Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite (1919 version) would be enough, but no. there’s also top of the top violists. Yuri Bashmet, in the Bartok Viola Concerto and Dvorak Symphony No 8.
Oslo Philharmonic (International Festival) Usher Hall, 225 5 756. 22 Aug. 8pm, £8—£23.
I Music For Trumpet And Organ Virtuoso recital by Scottish-bom trumpeter John Wallace, with top organist Simon Wright putting the year- old Rieger organ in St Giles’ through its paces. The glorious sounds of early English music and Spanish music of the Renaissance dominate their programme.
Music For Trumpet And Organ (International Festival) St Giles’ Cathedral. 225 5756. 24 Aug, 10.30pm. £10.
I Steven Osborne Startling young Scottish talent who made his Festival debut last year to great acclaim, returns with Schubert’s Impromptus, Beethoven and Chopin’s Four Preludes.
Steven Osborne (International Festival) Queen 's Hall. 225 5756. 24 Aug. 11am, £4—£ I 2.
I Cauld Blast Orchestra The powerful combination of diverse elements (which the band dub ‘ﬁssion’ rather than ‘fusion’) will lie at the heart ofthis concert, which features a new Scottish Arts Council commission.
Cauld Blast Orchestra (TDK Round Midnight) Queen '3 Hall (Venue 72) 668 2019, 2] Aug. 7.30pm, £8.50. 7 (£5).
I Maceo Parker Slamming funk with distant jazz overtones from the J .B.’s hommen, with Maceo on alto. Pee Wee Ellis on tenor, and Fred Wesley on trombone. Moves the feet more than
the head, but undeniably exciting. Maceo Parker and Roots Revisited I (TDK Round Midnight) Queen ’3 Hall 9 (Venue 72) 668 2019. 21—22 Aug, l 10.30pm, £9 (£6).
The List 20—26 August I993 59