Music review: St Magnus Festival, Kirkwall
ST MAGNUS Festival went into ethnic mode yesterday with a lunchtime appearance in Kirkwall cathedral by the charismatic Arakaendar Bolivia Choir (*****), followed by an evening extravaganza at the Pickaquoy Centre featuring the Trondheim Soloists, whose classical bias was effectively usurped up by the charismatic presence of Norwegian and Orcadian folk musicians (***).
The Bolivian singers were also in company, with early music group Florilegium, in a toe-tapping selection of baroque music sourced from 17th century Bolivian church archives.
These were mostly exotically charged villancicos, and an instant hit. Think early Italian polyphony, throw in enough catchy syncopation, serve it up with soft sensual singing and the Bolivian’s natural impulse to sway, and there you have the captivating power of these performances. A hi-octane folk encore simply tipped us into carnival mode.
So did the second half of the Pickaquoy concert, which gave top billing to the twin-fiddling Larsen Brothers of Norway and the Orcadian fiddle/guitar duo, The Wrigley Sisters. They played their own catchy sets, occasionally combined forces, both with each other and with the Trondheim Strings as backing, and generally worked up a storm that had the audience all but dancing in the aisles.
But that was the second half, in which the Larsens and the strings had instantly upped the temperature with Gjermund Larsen’s Vossa Suite, a sweeping journey from moody atmospherics to high pressure pseudo-Vivaldi.
In relation to that, a disjointed first half seemed, unfortunately, more like a warm up session.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
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