Edinburgh International Festival: Orchestral Series Highlights 2021 - BBC Music Magazine

This recording of orchestral highlights from the 2021 Edinburgh International Festival is one of five Linn releases, including chamber music and opera, celebrating last year’s out-of-the-ordinary event. It’s a snapshot of concerts played on sports fields in socially-distanced outdoor constructions with the usual diverse, if largely UK-based array of ensembles and artists flitting through the capital. But it’s all too fleeting, largely due to the piecemeal programme which pits complete works against sections of others. Anna Clyne’s PIVOT, a dystopian flit of Scottish folk tunes and dissonance, is the opening item in this world premiere performance under Dalia Stasevska and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, as it was for the festival; and a Chineke! commission, Ayanna Witter-Johnson’s Blush, is tightly played under William Eddins, full of locomotive energy.

Peter Maxwell Davies’s A Spell for Green Corn is superb here under Marin Alsop and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, although the segue into the wedding march from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream jarred. The scant four highlights from that work and Harriet Walter’s evocative, finely poised narration alongside Thomas Søndergård and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s vivid playing, suggest something rather magical – if only we could hear more of it.

BBC Music Magazine
01 March 2022