Missy Lorelei has a 'brilliant' time at artistic director Morton's recent music programme.
Another weekend, another eclectic mini-music festival. Artistic Director of Scottish Ensemble Jonathan Morton has put together a dazzlingly disparate programme.
Pekka Kuusisto, the young Finnish musician is a revelation…not so much one-man band as one-man symphony. His approach to the electric violin is really exciting--switching with ease from Elaborations on Bach to modern composer/producer Owen Pallet’s waltz, he loops thunderstorms and kinetic electric crackles, masterfully playing violin and trilling over them. His voice is a beautiful instrument in the same vein as Sigur Ros’ Jonssi. Structures are bent with quite jarring results--one song is a whistling soundtrack for a desolate planet, another little blips on his iPad which transform into an opus right in front of us.
He’s quite a character too, shambling and funny, he wisecracks and promises us “a full refund if this experiment doesn’t work”. As if…
Hiliard Ensemble are a strange choice for a second performance, though perhaps better suited to the City Halls than The Old Fruitmarket. Their strength lies in four-part harmony, particularly on Roger Marsh’s II Cor Tristo, but coming directly after the energy of Kuusisto, it does rather feel like being pointed at by monks for forty minutes.
Thank goodness then for the mighty Tarouf de Haidouks, the ramshackle, ten-strong Gypsy band. Enormously demented and endlessly fast-paced, their Looney Tunes spirit never relents, taking in Bartok, flamenco, polka, Ukranian and Romanian influences, cuckoo noises and roaring call-and-response. Their line-up boasts (deep breath) two accordion players, dulcimer player, two violinists, penny whistle player, clarinettist, singer and double bassist. Possibly the most fun you can have without getting arrested.
A brilliant evening then, but a double bill of Pekka Kuusisto and Tarouf de Haidouks would have been more appropriate and tighter.