Cottier Chamber Project set for West End Festival 2012
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