Cottier Chamber Project set for West End Festival 2012

Cottier Chamber Project set for West End Festival 2012

Hebrides Ensemble

Hebrides Ensemble, Scottish Ensemble and Red Note also on bill

Classical music always has a strong presence at Glasgow’s West End Festival these days, but this year is extraordinary. Not only does the Cottier Chamber Project make a big-style return visit with small-scale music, but no less than nine choirs form what amounts to a new mini-choral festival. Organ recitals sit alongside music from Broadway; Ukranian soprano Oksana Mavrodii performs Slavonic music hot on the heels of an evening of Gaelic song; composers’ birthdays are celebrated and international visitors are welcomed.

Chamber groups in the Cottier line-up are proud to be the usual suspects in one big happy Scottish chamber music family. Mr McFall’s Chamber, Hebrides Ensemble, Dunedin Consort, SCO Winds, the Scottish Ensemble and Red Note, for instance, are programmed alongside younger groups such as Alba Brass and saxophone quartet Sax Ecosse. ‘It’s so good for us to have been asked back to play by the Cottier Project,’ says Karen Dufour, who plays soprano saxophone with the quartet. ‘It’s our fourth time at the West End Festival. For three of the members, Glasgow is our home town and we all studied here, so it’s great to be doing something local. Also, we’ve got free rein with our programme, so we get to choose music that we really enjoy.’

Sax Ecosse’s programme is a good example of some of the more unusual gems of the chamber music repertoire that’s not often heard, all of it written originally for saxophone quartet, so no transcriptions or arrangements. ‘The Festival really helps us build our reputation,’ says Karen Dufour, ‘and, for us, it’s been a fantastic way of getting experience, building up our repertoire and our fan base.’ Their music is a mixture of French traditional through to new American, at times theatrical, but also virtuosic, light-hearted and inspired by tango and jazz.

Various venues, Glasgow, Fri 1–Sun 24 June; Sax Ecosse, Cottier Theatre, Glasgow, Thu 21 Jun

Mr McFall's Chamber

The celebrated ensemble plays Clapperton's Grieg-derived Dem son ingen ser and Shostakovich's turbulent Piano Quintet Op 57. Part of Cottier Chamber Project.

Dunedin Consort & Players

Some expert baroquerie from the Dunedins, including works by Purcell, Corelli and Matteis. Part of Cottier Chamber Project.

Scottish Ensemble & Catrin Finch

The Ensemble joins with the UK's most brilliant harpist in Savourna Stevenson's Harp Concerto, and then Finch lays out for Ravel's Petite Symphonie (actually Rudolf Barshai's highly-regarded arrangement for string orchestra of the String Quartet). Part of Cottier Chamber Project.

Scottish Chamber Orchestra Wind Soloists & Alasdair Beatson

Why have one Quintet for Piano and Winds when you could have two? Especially when they happen to be by Beethoven and Mozart. Part of Cottier Chamber Project.

Hebrides Ensemble

The Hebrides Ensemble plays a trio-based programme of Schubert, Kurtag, Maxwell Davies and Dohnanyi. Part of Cottier Chamber Project.

Alba Brass

New Scottish music for brass: the world premiere of Christopher Gough's Bagatelle Suite, the Scottish premiere of Eddie McGuire's Auriga and the premiere of the winner of Alba Brass's composition competition, followed by MacMillan's Adam's Rib. Part of Cottier Chamber Project.

Sax Ecosse

All-sax ensemble plays Jonathan Dove's Tuning In; Pierre Dubois' Quatuor; Joe Cutler's Screaming 229a (a work memorably described by Michael Nyman as 'f–––g brilliant'); Gabriel Pierne's Introductions & Variations sur un ronde and Thierry Escaich's Tango Virtuoso. Part of Cottier Chamber Project.

Red Note Ensemble: From Reels to Ragas

Red Note plays high-intensity Indian/Scottish fusion, with tabla player Kuljit Bhamra and piper Fraser Fifield.

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