Lieder, Scriabin and Jazzy Banter – the Fringe remains as Eclectic as Ever

14/08/2017

Fringe Logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 (2) – ROSL Roundup: Royal Overseas League, 100 Princes Street, 14.8.2017. (SRT)

The Royal Overseas League is a venerable institution with a prestigious Princes Street address, which was founded more than a century ago to foster relations between the countries of the Commonwealth. Nowadays it’s a members’ club, but they also run an important arts programme which is mostly designed to encourage young musicians and to give them more performance opportunities. They have a hugely impressive Fringe programme, and I always call in a couple of times every festival to dip into what’s on offer.

The pick of the things I saw this time around was the enormously impressive South African pianist Ben Schoeman, whose ambitious programme of Chopin and Scriabin was well planned and impressively executed. He seems something of a natural fit for Chopin, his Military Polonaise having just the right level of heft, while the C minor Nocturne (Op. 48 No. 1) sounded dusky and subtle. His take on the second Scherzo was really marvellous, as was his run-through of a selection of Scriabin’s Op. 11 Preludes which seemed to fit together without any sense of jarring. Playing the whole set from memory was quite something, too, and he surely has a big future ahead of him. He wasn’t quite in command of Mikhail Pletnev’s arrangements from The Nutcracker, and some of the detail got lost in the clouds of notes (he even joked that he wished he’d had more fingers to be able to take in the full scope!), but you can’t fault his ambition.

Baritone Nicholas Mogg won the ROSL singer’s prize in 2017, and he sang a selection of Schubert songs – the Heine section from Schwanengesang, together with some favourites like An die Musik and Im Frühling – with Gamal Khamis, who won the 2017 accompanist’s prize. He suffered from the same problem that nearly all singers do in the ROSL’s small space: namely misjudging the size of the acoustic. However, he has a well-rounded voice with a particularly attractive middle, and his diction was impeccable. Even more impressive, however, was Khamis’ enormously sensitive accompaniment, and his account of the B flat Impromptu was the highlight of the concert for me.

They also turn the space into an impromptu jazz club for a couple of nights, and it’s a pretty convivial atmosphere with tables, fairy lights and a glass of wine. Stephen Duffy on vocals and Richard Michaels on piano have their own well-established jazz show on BBC Radio Scotland, so they know what they’re doing and have a predictable pattern of banter. Sometimes they’re a bit too amused by their own jokes, but I enjoyed their music, a mix of some established favourites and some mash-ups of their own, with the tone predominantly mellow and improvisatory.

Simon Thompson

There’s plenty more available, and you can see full details here. Their 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme runs until Friday 18th August.

 

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! The Leeds Lieder Concert Series 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 18th Oxford Lieder Festival from 11 to 26 October 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Anjali Dance Company Genius UK Tour 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Edinburgh Usher Hall 2019-2020 Orchestral Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020 Ring Cycles __________________________________
  • NEW! Ex Cathedra’s 50th Anniversary Season in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Geneva Grand Théâtre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2019-20 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden __________________________________
  • NEW! City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera House in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Opera in 2019-2020 and New Artistic Director __________________________________
  • NEW! ENB in 2019-2020 and Opening of their New London City Island Home __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music and Other Events at the Southbank Centre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Cleveland Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music at the Barbican in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Met: Live in HD in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Free Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! Abay Kazakh State Opera and Ballet Theatre at the London Coliseum on 17 November __________________________________
  • NEW! HarrisonParrott celebrates 50 years at the Royal Festival Hall __________________________________
  • NEW! Highgate International Chamber Music Festival’s Beethoven 249 in November __________________________________
  • NEW! SOPRANO ANGELA GHEORGHIU IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • NEW! The Joys of the Marlboro Music Festival: Chamber Music’s Best-Kept Secret __________________________________
  • NOW REVIEWED! MATTHEW BOURNE’S ROMEO AND JULIET IN CINEMAS FROM 22 OCTOBER __________________________________
  • NEW! CELLIST JOHANNES MOSER IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • CHORUS MASTER STEPHEN DOUGHTY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • REVIEWED! Ron Howard’s Pavarotti in Cinemas 13 July (Preview) and Nationwide (15 July) __________________________________
  • MULTI-FACETED MUSICIAN JOY LISNEY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • ‘MUSICAL MAGIC’: AN INTERVIEW WITH VIOLINIST HENNING KRAGGERUD __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR THOMAS SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month