ED2013 Columns ED2013 Music

Edinburgh International Festival: A Playlist

By | Published on Thursday 8 August 2013

Frank Zappa

All this week our sister media, music business website CMU, has been exploring the musical sides of the Edinburgh Festival, including the music types performing within the Fringe and local bands capitalising on the chaos via ventures like the new Pale Imitation festival.

Though one of the biggest music programmes sits within the Edinburgh International Festival, the large-scale programmed festival (as opposed to the deliberately unprogrammed Fringe), which sits in the middle of it all. Although the music side of the EIF is predominantly a classical programme, there are quite a few surprises in there too.

The International Festival kicks off a little later than the Fringe, and gets going this weekend. Ahead of its opening, CMU asked the team at the festival to compile a playlist (as part of CMU’s regular guest playlist strand) that introduces the world to this year’s programme, featuring some of the music that will be performed there this month, and other tracks that will get you in the mood for the wider EIF 2013. And it turned out pretty eclectic.

Listen to this playlist on Spotify, and then read on to find out more about the Edinburgh International Festival team’s choices.

01 Björk – All Neon Like
Like us, you may have always found the haunting sound in this song quite intriguing. Well, that’s the sound of the glass harmonica, and we’re thrilled to have one of the finest players of that instrument, Thomas Bloch, performing at our festival this year.

02 Miserable Faith – This Is A Problem
In our theatre strand, the epic production of ‘The Tragedy Of Coriolanus’ sounds just too intriguing to miss, not least because Beijing People’s Art Theatre will bring two leading Chinese heavy metal bands on stage to help them reinterpret Shakespeare’s tragedy. And this is a track from one of them.

03 Prokofiev – Romeo And Juliet
Our festival closes each year with the stunning Virgin Money Fireworks Concert, with a dazzling display set to a live orchestra. We have vivid memories of this piece being performed during last year’s event. There was something truly breathtaking about that moment, and we believe there will be a few more of those at this year’s Fireworks Concert with Musorgsky’s compositions.

04 Nikolai Lugansky – Rachmaninov Concerto No 2
This is one of the most beautiful piano concertos ever written and perhaps one of the most famous. It’s that type of piece that everyone knows when they hear it, even if they’re not sure why. Though, like us, you may have first come across it in the film ‘Brief Encounter’.

05 Philip Glass – I’m Going To Make A Cake
Minimalistic music compositions by Philip Glass combined with excellent filmmaking are a thrilling combination every time. We cannot wait to hear Glass’s re-imagined score for Jean Cocteau’s ‘La Belle Et La Bête’ at the festival.

06 Patti Smith – Because The Night
The legendary Patti Smith collaborates with Philip Glass as part of our programme this year in their homage to Allen Ginsberg. We’re sure this will be an evening to remember.

07 Brahms – Violin Concerto
A virtuosic conversation between violin and orchestra, with its beautiful, bright melodies and impressive technical passages this piece is our musical pick-me-up.

08 Beethoven – Fifth Symphony
Etched in the psyche of the world, this ubiquitous piece has shown its perennial spirit by appearing in almost every form of media. Leaving a feeling of “nameless foreboding”, in the words of ETA Hoffman, it is surely Beethoven’s crowning achievement, and to exclude it from any collection of great music would be a mistake. Plus it should get you in the mood for the Beethoven that will appear in our programme this year.

09 Nico Muhly – I Drink The Air Before Me: Fire Down Below
The almost hypnotic quality of ‘I Drink The Air Before Me’ makes this an excellent choice of music to inspire and accompany contemporary dance. Look out for LA Dance Project, co-founded by Muhly, at our festival this year. Though this distinctive and atmospheric music should also be appreciated in its own right.

10 Frank Zappa – Montana
Ranked his number one, all-time greatest hit by UltimateClassicRock.com, ‘Montana’ was composed in 1973 for the ‘Over-Nite Sensation’ LP. The song is the perfect mix of rock and funk with hints of the psychedelic. It is without a doubt Zappa (pictured above) at his best, with the added value of the fabulous Tina Turner and the Ikettes performing the background vocals. And look out for our tribute to Zappa on 28 Aug.