Whilst much of the Acoustic Music Centre’s programme for the Fringe involves folk and blues artists, Alba Brass provide a shot of variety into the arm of this venue. The critically acclaimed brass quintet play through a varied set of contemporary and modern compositions, as well as classic and older pieces.
Two brand-new pieces were unveiled at this concert; the world premieres of both Souch, a composition in three movements each inspired by Scotland and the Scots language, and Shorthand of Emotion, a composition from the renowned musician Ryan Quigley inspired by the ‘power of music’.
Souch is a fantastic piece, allowing each performer to innovate and take their instruments to new places. In parts it is a very left-field piece and listeners new to this avenue of classical music may be a little startled by the sounds thrown at them. Regardless, it’s a compelling and moving piece of music.
After Souch, the group played the Three Scottish Love Songs by Alan Fernie and the final movement of Samuel Scheidt’s battle suite, Canzon Bergamasque. A particular highlight during this middle section was the piece written specifically for trombone, played here by Paul Stone, part of an ongoing project from Eddie McGuire, who has been attempting to write a prelude for each instrument in the orchestra. This one, named Prelude 23 (Coronach for Peace in Syria), was an especially interesting experience. Finally, after playing through Quigley’s momentous and filmic piece Shorthand of Emotion (the name comes from a quote by Leo Tolstoy, who said ‘music is the shorthand of emotion’), Alba Brass performed three tangos, each one different. This was a compelling and eye-opening performance, if a little specialist for the casual listener.