THE FESTIVAL STARTS HERE . . . four weeks of cultural excellence, from ballet to bellylaughs, low- budget movies to high-brow dramas. Over the next few pages, The List looks forward to some of the highlights Edinburgh has to offer in August. It's a taster of the unrivalled coverage we'll be

bringing you in the weeks to come.



The EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL's inspired combinations of conductor and orchestra bring verve to the most bittersweet symphony. Words: Alan Morrison

The Berlrn Phrlharmonrc Orchestra Claudro Abbado Beethoven’s Symphony No 9 Put them together on the same stage and you have classrcal musrc '.s dream trcket, the krnd of musrcal magrc that only the Edrnburgh International Festrval can (OllJUlO up nrght after nrght Last year, when the chorus sang the clrmactrc ’Ode To loy’, harrs stood up on the backs of necks from the stalls to the Usher Hall's upper crr‘c le.

The Vrenna Phrlharmonrc Orchestra Srr Srmon Rattle Mahler's Symphony No 2 Another tantalrsrng package, and agarn the Eclrnburgh Festrval plays host Not only that, but 1999's orchestral hrgh pornt lrnks neatly to rts T998 egurvalent' only a few weeks ago, Abbado stood down as the Berlrn Phrlharmonrc's prrncrpal conductor and the rnusrcrans themselves asked Rattle to prck up what's probably the most prestrgrous baton rn the world.

Before takrng up hrs Berlrn apporntment, however, Rattle comes to Edrnburgh for two dates wrth the Vrennese grants. The frrst features Mahler's ’Resurrec tron’ symphony mentroned above and also rntroduces to a marnstream audrence the work of Gyc)rgy Kurtag (whose drstrnc'trve output rs showcased at the Festrval on the weekend of 28 and

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Electric conductor: Sir Simon Rattle

29 August) The sec ond concert places three prec es by Ravel alongsrcr'e Beethoven's beautrful Symphony No 6 ('Pastcv'al')

Rattle’s frrst engagement wrth the Vrenna Phrlharmonrc was back rn 1993 for a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No 9. '( hoose your prece carefully,’ he sarcl at the trme, ’somethrng on mutual ground.’ The orchestra rs, of course, no stranger to

Sent/mental Music and the world

premiere of the latest piece by young New York composer Michael Gordon.


Edinburgh Festival Theatre. Sun 29 Aug, Wed 1 8: Sat 4 Sep, 7.15pm,


Scottish Opera take on the Scottrsh Play, as transformed by Verdr’s music and Luc Bondy's atmospheric drrectron. Richard Zeller and Kathleen Broderer get therr

The International Festival’s - world-class highlights.

Ensemble Modern

hands bloody rn the lead roles.

The Most Dangerous Room In The House


Usher Hall, Tue 24 Aug, 7.30pm, £5—£20 As a composer, John Adams wowed Edrnburgh with Nixon In China. Here he conducts the lZO-s‘trong contemporary musrc orchestra in lves’ Symphony No 4, his own Naive And

18 THE “ST 22 Ju|~5 Aug T999

Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Mon 30 8: Tue 31 Aug, 7.30pm, £5-£20

The Festrval's bold and daring dance programme rs crammed with unmissable productions, none more so than this Edinburgh debut for Amerrcan choreographer Susan Marshall.

Death in the familyl: Stanley Townsend and Jane Brennan in The Wake

the composer Mahler hrmself conducted them earlrer thrs century

whrle Rattle recorded a well-recerved serres of hrs symphonres wrth the Crty of Symphony Orchestra


Other heavywerghts rornrng the Austrrans rn the Festrval’s programme rnclude the Prttsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Ensemble Modern Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the BBC Symphony Orchestra There's also the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, playrng the composer's Symphony No 7 The conductor that nrght7 Claudro Abbado In Edrnburgh, everythrng frts perfectly rnto place

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Usher Hall, Fri 3 & Sat 4 Sep, 8pm. £S-£37.

Quatuor Mosaiques Queen's Hall, Tue 17, Thu 19 8: Sat 21 Aug, 11 am, £5—£19

The internationally renowned foursome return to the Festival for a series of three concerts coupling Beethoven’s late string quartets with the last three string quartets written by Mozart. Resonantly mature musrc played by masters of the repertoire.

The Wake

King's Theatre, Mon 16-Sat 21 Aug, 7pm, (Sat 21 Aug, 2.30pm), £5-£22.50 Quality work can always be expected from Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, and thrs productron of Tom Murphy’s play about one woman’s emotional homecoming should be no exceptron. National rdentity, explored on an internatronal scale, rs a runnrng theme in much of the Festival’s programme this year a subject to which Murphy rs no stranger.