St Cecilia’s Hall, Edinburgh, Sat 5 & Sun 6 Jul
As the oldest purpose-built concert hall in Scotland, St Cecilia’s Hall is in possession of unique acoustic properties. St Cecilia, of course, was the patron saint of church music, whose executioner failed to fully sever her head, even after three attempts. Inspired by both, producer Katie Nicoll and curator Sarah Lowndes have concocted a weekend of live music performed by practitioners rooted in visual art, and which takes full advantage of its setting with a similarly three-pronged approach.
Where ‘For The Voice’ allows vocal-based artists such as Richard Youngs and Correcto to explore a song-based approach, ‘Imaginary Landscape’ will be headlined by improv veteran Keith Rowe. The third strand, ‘Thinking Music’ will offer guided tours of St Cecilia’s instrument collection as well as a discussion programme.
‘This is the first time I know of that the space has been used for contemporary music,’ says Lowndes. ‘This has been a challenge for all the artists, who are more used to playing with amplification. But with such a rich, reverberant space, using a PA would be a total disaster. Most of the people performing have already collaborated in some way, and are creating something brand new. It’s all pared down, which, in an age where things can be over-produced, makes it even more special.’
A major coup for the exhibition is the appearance of Mayo Thompson, mainstay of legendary Texan-born band, The Red Krayola.
‘Mayo is such a seminal figure,’ Lowndes points out. ‘Both him and Keith Rowe are from the same generation, and that should make for a fascinating dialogue.’