Classics at Greyfriars set for 2011 Edinburgh Fringe
Beethoven concert series with church backdrop
Taking advantage of the unique way that music can be presented in the context of a festival, Greyfriars Kirk (at the top of Candlemaker Row) is presenting all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas and string quartets over the course of a new two-week long series of concerts. The quartets are spread out over ten late-night performances by the phenomenal Heath Quartet, a young ensemble whose impressive reputation is fast growing. For the piano sonatas, some of the most sublime music ever composed, the ideal exponent is internationally acclaimed Welsh pianist Llyr Williams. He gives twelve tea-time concerts, combining the well-known and less familiar in each performance, beginning his journey with the Pathétique and concluding with the monumentally demanding Hammerklavier.
For Williams, the attraction of the sonatas lies in their variety. ‘There is so much life there,’ he says, ‘from humour to profundity. They can be angry one minute and gentle the next.’ The string quartets he feels also have variety, but ‘they don’t reflect Beethoven’s life in the same way.’ Much as he would love to, he may not hear his late-night Heath colleagues. As he says, ‘I think I’ll have to always be in bed when they are playing.’
Greyfriars Kirk, 226 0000, 12–26 Aug, 5.45pm and 10.30pm, £17.50 (£14).