The BBC SSO, under Matthew Halls, premiered the last of three Prometheus-inspired Lammermuir commissions by Stuart MacRae

Music reviews: Lammermuir Festival, various venues, East Lothian

PRESTONPANS has had its battles to fight – one in particular, of course – but the challenge facing its centuries-old Prestongrange Church this week was to clean up the mess, left by vandals who had smashed 13 windows the previous night, in time for a capacity audience to enjoy Thursday afternoon’s Baroque concert by the Dunedin Consort (*****).

Burns, Mozart, their women and friends, their words and music, are all introduced

Opera review: Amadeus & The Bard, Auchinleck Academy

WHERE better to catch up with Scottish Opera’s youth touring project, Amadeus & The Bard, than in the heart of Ayrshire? The Bard, of course, is Robert Burns; and the imagined setting for this performance, Poosie Nansie’s pub in Mauchline, immortalised in his poems. Auchinleck is but a stone’s throw along the A76.

Brian Molley

Brian Molley Quartet expands its sound with world travels

As a far-travelling band, the Brian Molley Quartet has garnered its fair share of air miles as well as some interestingly diverse musical influences. Glasgow-based saxophonist Molley, with or without his quartet, has played in the United States, Brazil and Morocco, often collaborating with local musicians, and later this month the quartet renews its long-standing relationship with India, with a tour that kicks off at Edinburgh’s Jazz Bar and Aberdeen’s Blue Lamp before flying off to Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Bangalore.

Mark Everett

Music review: Eels, O2 Academy, Glasgow

Any act that elects to arrive on stage to the triumphant strains of Bill Conti’s adrenaline-pumping Rocky fanfare had better deliver the goods to back it up. This igneous set from Mark Everett’s Eels was anything but anti-climactic.

L-R: Ailbhe Nic Oireachtaigh, Stevie Jones, Alasdair Roberts, Alex Neilson PIC: Audrey Bizouerne

Alasdair Roberts on mining the Middle Ages for new album The Fiery Margin

He may not be a household name but 25 years and umpteen albums into his career Alasdair Roberts’ distinctive trebly tones have finally made it into the households of the nation by that most subversive of means – the trailer for the latest series of The Great British Bake Off. Roberts joins a host of other voices from around Britain, Band Aid-style, in singing a line of The Beatles’ All Together Now for the promo clip – although he notes with wry amusement that he was asked to re-record his contribution to make it sound more joyful. “I thought ‘are you sure you’ve got the right guy?’”


Music review: BBC SSO: Proms in the Park, Glasgow Green

Even on a night battered by ferocious winds and typical west coast smir – the kind that surreptitiously soaks you to the skin – thousands turned out with folding chairs, dancing shoes and bonhomie to enjoy the middle-brow miscellany that is the annual Proms in the Park concert on Glasgow Green.

Vox Luminis

Music review: Lammermuir Festival opening weekend, various venues, East Lothian

East Lothian’s Lammermuir Festival has reached the grand old age of ten and there’s a sense of celebrating with old friends across this year’s programme. The Dunedin Consort (*****), for example, who have given plenty of memorable (and memorably quirky) concerts down Lammermuir’s decade-long history, and who brought joy, passion and precision to Bach and Vivaldi in their concert on the festival’s opening Friday evening. With two Brandenburg Concertos, two Bach Suites and two Vivaldi concertos cunningly arranged in a palindrome across the evening, was there nonetheless the chance that it might have been a bit – well, samey? Not a bit of it. Conductor John Butt’s crack period players played up the works’ distinctive personalities, from the grandeur and expansiveness of their opening Bach First Orchestral Suite to a nervy, dramatic Summer from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, delivered with astonishing clarity and grit by violinist Cecilia Bernardini – seldom can the concerto have sounded more operatic.

Charlie Grey and Joseph Peach

Music review: Charlie Grey & Joseph Peach: Air Iomall, Kirkcaldy Acoustic Music Club

IT’S usually bands that grab the attention, but much of Scottish folk music’s strength in depth today derives from its duos. It’s an austerity-
friendly format, often a vital component in the modern musician’s multi-pocketed portfolio career. So many Scottish duos, though, take the whole more-than-the-sum-of-their-parts thing to positively exponential levels, and with their new gig/film/album project Air Iomall – “On the Edge” – young Highland fiddle/piano duo Charlie Grey and Joseph Peach just raised the bar again.

Kelly Jones of the Stereophonics. Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/Shutterstock

Music review: Kelly Jones, Caird Hall, Dundee

FOR all that they deserve credit for maintaining the kind of career which sees them sell out arenas and release successful albums more than two decades after first breaking through, there’s something invigorating yet predictable about a Stereophonics show. But with a new Stereos album due next month, their singer and fulcrum Kelly Jones has been touring this summer with a series of concert hall dates and a set which is positively rustic by comparison.

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