This week, we've been around the International Festival office gathering some staff top picks from the 2019 programme. Listen now to our extended playlist packed with the music the International Festival team can't wait to hear this August...
Now we want to hear from YOU! Let us know what you can't wait for this August, including your favourite tunes, across on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using #edintfest to be included in next week's playlist.
Two songs I’m particularly looking forward to are Trick of the Light by Villagers and Sharon Van Etten’s Seventeen. I listened to both albums on repeat before I knew they were playing this August, so I can’t wait to see them brought to life at Leith Theatre. Sharon Van Etten’s album reminds me of music I loved when I was seventeen; seductive, melancholic melodies swimming in grungy, electronic rock. Trick of the Light is an anthem of last summer so I look forward to being taken back in its uplifting opening bars!
Amy, Learning & Engagement Officer
I’ve loved Sharon Van Etten’s past albums but she went into a whole new level of emotion and soul with Remind Me Tomorrow, particularly stand out single Seventeen. I’m also really looking forward to seeing Jeremy Denk perform Schumann’s Fantasie in C. The Los Angeles Philharmonic are playing an incredible repertoire of pieces during their residency - Barber’s Adagio for Strings is a classic of the canon that never fails to move, but it’s Mahler’s Symphony No 2 Resurrection that’s been the best discovery for me while researching the programme – it’s the most astonishingly ambitious, rich piece of music.
George, Publications Editor
I am looking forward to hearing Somewhere from West Side Story. As a fan of musical theatre, West Side Story is a favourite and there is limited opportunity to hear the music performed in full live. It was a struggle to select which of the many compelling and inspiring songs that feature in this classic piece, but to hear Somewhere in the Usher Hall this August will be breathtaking.
Neil, Learning & Engagement Project Manager
I recently saw Kate Tempest at Body and Soul festival in Ireland. She was amazing. It was a field of people with the rain pouring down at 6pm in the evening in midlands Ireland, everyone in the audience was entranced by her. All I could picture was how amazing she’s going to be in Leith Theatre. Firesmoke is a particularly great piece.
I’m also incredibly excited for Hard to be Soft: A Belfast Prayer. Oona Doherty is an incredibly passionate creator, I’m stupendously bias being from Belfast, I know that this piece is going to be beautiful. The music was done by David Holmes, whose band Unloved, did Killing Eve’s music also. There’s a piece Hard to be Soft that is an exploration of performative masculinity – how amazing does that sound!?
So excited for Sharon Van Etten, Every Time the Sun Comes Up in Leith Theatre will be spectacular. Her new album's title song Seventeen has been on repeat today actually. I love it.
I heard Joyce DiDonato’s Desert Island Discs recently and she seems like a great character. I think her singing Berlioz’ Les nuits d’été will be awesome in the Usher Hall with NYO USA.
Aideen, Development Officer
We’re a bit spoilt for choice this year! NYCOS performing at Greyfriars Kirk – and then The Sixteen and Scottish Chamber Orchestra - performing James MacMillan’s music will be really exciting; Götterdämmerung is a test of stamina but totally worth it for Siegfried’s Funeral March alone; Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice is sublime and this performance has the best singers around - Che farò senza Euridice? has to be one of the greatest arias in opera; and Eugene Onegin is sumptuous from start to finish, the waltz is a particular favourite. But if I have to pick one from this year’s Festival, it’s Beethoven's 9 which is tucked away in the dance programme, in Cas Public’s 9. Everyone knows the music and the trailer shows this to be an absolutely beautiful piece of dance.
Drew, Artists Co-ordinator
I am a big fan of Kate Tempest and am so excited that she is a part of our programme this year. She breaths life into stories and people and paints pictures so vivid in her words that the live experience of being in a room with her is so much more than a gig or a show... it’s an experience. Europe Is Lost and Hold Your Own are my two favourite pieces by her, as both root us as an audience in our own experience and lives but also as global citizens, exposing the wrongs and pressure of the world around us. I have always loved Hold Your Own and remember hearing her perform it live and it staying with me above all of the other songs in her set.
The LA Phil will be playing a phenomenal list of pieces in our Opening Event at Tynecastle Park, but John Williams' Hedwig's Theme has a special place in my heart, to me this piece is Harry Potter, the song of a storyteller starting a tale, and is so recognisable and comforting when you hear it. Warming, magical, and filled with possibility and wonder, John Williams perfectly encapsulates the curiosity, whimsy, but dark and earnest world of the story. Without the visuals of the film i know the LA Phil will paint the pictures of the music in a new and dynamic way and I cannot wait to be in the audience to hear it.
Caroline, Head of Learning & Engagement
I've loved getting to know some new pieces as well as rediscovering some old favourites this festival. This Is The Kit and Anna Calvi are fairly new discoveries for me and I cannot wait to hear both of their very different styles of pop down at Leith Theatre next month. Now onto some old favourites... Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gyntis just a classic, feel good piece, I can't wait to feel the excitement in the Usher Hall during the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra's performance. And lastly, I've always loved West Side Story. It's so difficult to pick a favourite, but today I think it's Something's Coming. It'll be such a thrill to hear the whole piece performed live with such a talented cast of singers.
Emily, Digital Content & Community Officer