• James Waters Classical

Day 222 - Concerts at the Edinburgh International Festival.

I worked for the Edinburgh International Festival for 15 years. We were conscious of the amazing tradition running back to 1947 with all the programme books on shelves above my desk. The 1947 festival included perhaps the most famous concert of them all with Bruno Walter conducting the Vienna Philharmonic for the first time since WW2 with Kathleen Ferrier as soloist in Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde. Astonishingly in the late 50s the festival managed to attract the great French composer Francis Poulenc to give a recital of his own music with his great collaborator the baritone Pierre Bernac. Sadly no recording exists. I was lucky enough as a teenager to hear the Amadeus Quartet and William Pleeth play the great Schubert Quintet, and I was even more lucky to programme Marta Argerich playing the Ravel G major concerto with Claudio Abbado. The playlist attached has recordings of all these works by the original artists. There is one big fish that got away. In the mid sixties there was a performance of Britten's War Requiem with the major orchestra and chorus conduced by Carlo Maria Giulini and Britten himself conducting the chamber orchestra. No recording exists, but one can only imagine what that was like!

Playlist of great performers from the Edinburgh International Festival - click here

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