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

14/08/2017

Fringe Logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

United KingdomUnited Kingdom 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! English Music Festival’s 2020 online series of concerts and talks __________________________________
  • NEW! Glyndebourne 2020 cancelled and looking to the future __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera Philadelphia announces Digital Festival O __________________________________
  • NEW! The Singapore Symphony in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! Musikfest Berlin 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Berlin’s Staatsoper Unter den Linden 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! 2020-2021 at Dresden’s Semperoper __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! London’s Southbank Centre in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Met: Live in HD in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! 2020-2021 at London’s Barbican __________________________________
  • NEW! Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! Carnegie Hall’s 2020-2021 season __________________________________
  • NEW! London’s Wigmore Hall in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! Tamara Rojo’s new Raymonda and ENB in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Free Review Summary Newsletter

    Search S&H

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! Educating Rita, says who? __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2020 Salzburg Festival – 1 to 30 August __________________________________
  • NEW! Did we really need Vera Lynn during the war – and when will we all meet again? __________________________________
  • NEW! 2020 Three Choirs Festival – postponed __________________________________
  • UPDATED ONLINE NEWS! IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PANDEMIC __________________________________
  • NEW! ACCOMPANIST OR PARTNER? PIANIST SUSIE ALLAN IN CONVERSATION WITH JOHN QUINN __________________________________
  • NEW! Perfect Pianists at the BBC: education and entertainment __________________________________
  • NEW! Need to escape reality? Enter into the magical world of composer David Hertzberg __________________________________
  • NEW! BTHVN2020 – Beethoven anniversary goes into overtime __________________________________
  • SOME GOOD NEWS! Extraordinary generosity of the Longborough Festival Opera audience __________________________________
  • Remembering Margaret Rutherford: murder on and off screen __________________________________
  • Remembering George London’s life and legacy on the 100th anniversary of his birth __________________________________
  • PIANIST LOUIS LORTIE IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • PIANIST JONATHAN BISS IN CONVERSATION WITH CHRISTOPHER SALLON __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month