Music

Music
The Virgin Money Fireworks Concert brings Edinburgh's festrival season to a close.

Music review: Virgin Money Fireworks Concert, Ross Theatre, Princes Street Gardens

In a format initiated last year, Monday night’s Fireworks Concert began with music but no fireworks. Paying tribute to Leonard Bernstein’s 100th anniversary, a performance of his Concert Suite No 1 - a set of love songs from West Side Story - allowed the audience to listen to the music without distraction. With their voices blending well, and displaying remarkable control and appropriate tenderness, tenor Nicky Spence and soprano Lucy Crowe both ably rose to the challenge of amplified outdoor performance on a less than warm summer evening.

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Pop tornado St Vincent - aka Annie Clark ' pumped out a pulsing electronic soundtrack

Music review: St Vincent

Judging by the ­rapturous reaction in the room, it appeared that the International Festival had saved the best of their contemporary music programme to last. There is a certain je ne sais quoi about St Vincent, aka Texan art pop tornado Annie Clark, which marks her out as one of the most interesting artists working in pop music today.

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Mogwai

Music review: Mogwai, Leith Theatre

Since Leith Theatre opened its doors once more as part of the Hidden Door ­festival in May 2017, fans of the much-loved venue have wondered what would be the ultimate test of its potential as one of the best venues in Scotland.

The answer was a Mogwai concert, with a hall so full that people were standing in doorways ­trying to catch a glimpse of the stage.

Edinburgh festivals
Music review: Pavel Haas Quartet, Queen’s Hall

Music review: Pavel Haas Quartet, Queen’s Hall

You could never accuse Prague’s Pavel Haas ­Quartet of stinting on drama. The foursome attacked their richly coloured programme with breathtaking vigour and no less abandon – there was a chance the whole thing could have come off the rails, were it not for the group’s ­impeccable control and minute attention to nuance.

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Music review: John Grant, Playhouse

Music review: John Grant, Playhouse

There is such a casual brilliance to Canadian crooner John Grant’s music that even his most relaxed, straightforward concert reveals scintillating layers to his sound, and so it was with one of the most keenly anticipated shows of the International Festival’s contemporary music programme, with Grant and his Icelandic band – plus the notable piston engine of Siouxsie and the Banshees drummer, Budgie – embellished only by a stage set of illuminated pillars that looked imported from a 1980s music video.

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The Vaselines' Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee

Edinburgh International Festival: The Pastels and The Vaselines reunited

With the National Museum of Scotland’s Rip It Up exhibition giving due credit to Scotland’s punk, post-punk and indie musicians, it’s only appropriate (if a little uncanny) that cult heroes The Pastels and The Vaselines should appear together on a bill curated by the similarly independent-spirited Neu! Reekie! collective for the highfalutin International Festival.

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Christopher Bell became chorus master of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus in 2007

Music interview: Christopher Bell looks back on over a decade in charge of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus

The week ahead will be one of mixed feelings for one of Scotland’s much-loved musical personalities. For the past 11 years, he has been intrinsic to the musical success of the Edinburgh International Festival, yet his stage appearances are mostly brief. For almost a quarter of a century he has transformed the country’s musical youth, in a way the current education system is struggling to do. He is a bundle of creative energy. He wears outrageous shoes. He is the irrepressible Christopher Bell.

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