Free Fringe Music – Flutes en RouteFriday, 13 August, 2010
Edinburgh – National Museum of Scotland – 9–29 Aug 10 – 12:45 (0:40)
Free Fringe Music is a free showcase of young Scottish musicians which takes place daily at The National Museum of Scotland. The event was co-created by Live Music Now, a company which sets out to ‘promote standards of excellence in young musicians’. Every year a running theme is picked for the showcase. This year it focused on the Lewis Chessmen. The theme originated from ‘The Lewis Chessmen: Unmasked’ exhibition which is currently on display at The National Museum of Scotland. Performers were asked to prepare a set inspired by the tales and travels of these famous chess pieces.
The guest artists of the day were Flutes en Route. Four Scottish performers make up the notably attractive all female flute quartet. Their performance began with a selection of lyric pieces by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. The collection of five rather bright and chirpy pieces was just the thing to lift ones mood on a wet and dreary Edinburgh afternoon.
It was quickly evident however, as to be expected with a group restricted by a limited variety of instruments, that there was a significant lack of variety in tone. When the women hopped over to Ireland with Hamilton Harty’s ‘In Ireland Fantasy’ it became hard to imagine that the song would not have been best left in its original format as a duet for piano and flute. Hats off nonetheless, to performer Jo Ashcroft who proved she was not just a pretty face with her skillful arrangement of both this, as well as their next piece of work ‘Fingal’s Cave (The Hebrides Overture)’ originally by Felix Mendelssohn.
Sarah Hayes soon stepped into the spotlight to establish that this was in no way a one woman band with her arrangement of the final piece entitled ‘The Lewis Chessmen Suite’. The song displayed the groups’ wonderful array of talent and easily left you wanting more. Further mention must go to Lee Holland and Yvonne Paterson who held their own and where by no means overshadowed by the others.
One might question the appeal of a quartet made up entirely out of flautists. Flutes en Route however have effectively and skillfully added a fresh feel to a traditionally classic instrument. Their extensive understanding and expert command of the flute is evident throughout. It is no wonder the girls have gone so far in the short three years they have been together. Overall, it was an enchanting addition to the music scene at this years Edinburgh fringe.
Cast Credits: (alpha order): Musicians – Jo Ashcroft. Sarah Hayes. Lee Holland. Yvonne Paterson.
Company Credits: Company – Flutes en Route
(c) Carl Livesay
Reviewed Tuesday 10 August 2009 / National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh UK