Friday, August 17, 2007

Schumann / Kit & The Widow / Paul Sinha

Edinburgh -old and new towns. x marks where ancestors lived in 1841

Yes, a 3 show day. It may kill me.

Event #17: Geoffrey Dancer: Mozart & Schumann

If the previous night's dose of Germanic klavierstücke wasn't enough, I had a lunchtime concert of Mozart and Schumann today. I was back at the church where I'd seen Disney Fringe Fantasia about 16 shows ago, with today's performer a London-based piano-restorer cum pianist Geoffrey Dancer offering a short two-work program. The first was Mozart's Sonata in F K533 which I've played occasionally, although I prefer the K332 in F. After the intermission, it was Schumann's Kriesleriana, which was the piece I really wanted to hear. It's a demanding piece, and while the performer was able to handle the technical challenges (better prepared in the more agitated sections than in the slower), I didn't get anything beyond that. Recording-wise, my yardstick is Horowitz's performance, which negotiates that tightrope between poetry and neuroticism, all under a firm guiding hand. In this rendition, I frequently lost interest and turned to my bus travel entertainment, a book of Killer Sudoku.

Not sure which one's Hinge and which is Brackett

Event #18: Kit and The Widow : A few new songs and lots of free parking

Fringe veterans they may be (they claim to have founded it in 1859 with Greyfriars Bobby), but there was nothing tired about this satirical piano/vocal duo, performing "Old songs half-remembered, New Songs half-learned". Their song of the British Government defending the populace using all the dangerous nail scissors, tweezers anbottles of Evian water confiscated at airports was an early favourite, quickly equalled by Mme Chopinska singing "There's no plumbers left in Poland" to her son's Fantaisie-Impromptu (the "I'm forever chasing rainbows" piece) and a merciless "homage" to Benjamin Britten, noting his fixations on the groynes of the Suffolk coast. I was also moved by Kit's song "Hole in the heart", dedicated to his daughter.

What's really been happening in Edinburgh this month.

Event #19: Paul Sinha: King of the World

A likeable "gay asian, practising GP" stand-up comic. Paul has a well-rehearsed story to tell, of highlights and lowlights in his life. It would benefit from a more relaxed pace, and perhaps more of a "live" feel. At present it sits in somewhere between an amusing written piece and an Alan Bennett series of vignettes about a gay asian practising GP rather than stand-up comedy. Some audience interaction is tacked on at the end, but it's not integral to the show.

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