Hugh Smith’s let­ter from Is­lay

The Oban Times - - NEWS - Hugh Smith, 4 Flora Street, Bow­more, Is­lay PA43 7JX. Tele­phone: 01496 810 658

Can­tilena fes­ti­val

LO­CAL and visit­ing clas­si­cal mu­sic afi­ciona­dos were more than am­ply catered for be­tween the July 9 and 14 when the an­nual Is­lay Can­tilena fes­ti­val at­tracted en­cour­ag­ing num­bers to con­certs in var­i­ous venues through­out the is­land.

The open­ing event took place in the St Columba Gaelic Cen­tre where all en­joyed Schu­bert’s Trout Quin­tet, along with Mozart’s Pi­ano Trio in G

Ma­jor and Beethoven’s String Trio. Laphroaig Dis­tillery was the set­ting for the young mu­si­cians show­case con­cert with the stu­dents pro­vid­ing their own in­tro­duc­tions. The pro­gramme also fea­ture a Mozart Quar­tet, and among those mak­ing a pleas­ing sound were six stu­dents from the Royal Con­ser­va­toire of Scot­land.

On the fol­low­ing night, au­di­ence mem­bers at the neigh­bour­ing La­gavulin Dis­tillery were treated to the mu­sic of Bach and Men­delssohn as well as Rossini’s String Sonata No 1 in G. Not to be out­done was Mozart whose

String Quar­tet in C shim­mered. Next evening the or­ches­tra was back at the Gaelic Cen­tre where the ac­cent was on pi­ano and vi­o­lin.

Seated at the for­mer were pian­ists Hav­il­land Will­shire and Scott Mitch- ell, and the pro­gramme also fea­tured as guest artiste, the Swedish vi­o­lin­ist and con­duc­tor To­bias Ring­bord, whose mu­si­cian­ship mes­merised the is­land au­di­ence.

A var­ied pro­gramme in­cluded works by Grana­dos, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and ad­ding con­trast were Beethoven’s

Pi­ano Sonata Les Adieux and Ce­sar Franck’s Vi­o­lin Sonata.

An evening at Ard­beg Dis­tillery brought the Blue Danube to mind as the mu­si­cians pre­sented a Vi­en­nese se­lec­tion of Strauss waltzes and polkas per­formed on both pi­ano and strings. Ad­ding to the Vi­en­nese mer­ri­ment was the Swedish guest vi­o­lin­ist’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion of works by Austrian mae­stro Fritz Kreisler.

Bring­ing the cur­tain down on this year’s fes­ti­val was an evening in the Bruich­lad­dich vil­lage hall where a Men­delssohn Octet be­came part of a jolly clas­si­cal ceilidh.

Con­cert go­ers were given a fore­taste of the de­lights in store when the mu­si­cians pre­sented an evening of light clas­si­cal mu­sic in the Rhinns Hall at Port­na­haven on the evening prior to the fes­ti­val’s of­fi­cial open­ing.

An af­ter­noon event took place at the Is­lay House Ho­tel where lo­cal res­i­dent and whisky writer Mar­tine Nouet pre­sented a ‘por­trait of an artist’ pro­gramme where she paired whisky and mu­sic along with fes­ti­val artis­tic di­rec­tor An­gus Ram­say and the Can­tilena mu­si­cians.

Can­tilena was formed in 1970 by the late Adrian Shepherd, then prin­ci­pal cel­list with the Scot­tish Na­tional Or­ches­tra. Sadly, Adrian died four years ago but the con­tin­u­ing suc­cess of the is­land fes­ti­val is a fit­ting me­mo­rial to a cel­e­brated mu­si­cian who de­lighted in bring­ing cham­ber mu­sic to the peo­ple of Is­lay.

Beach mis­sion

MEM­BERS of the Scrip­ture Union are hold­ing a beach mis­sion at Port Ellen from Mon­day July 31 un­til Fri­day Au­gust 4 and will wel­come chil­dren from all parts of the is­land.

The beach ac­tiv­i­ties will be led by Sue and Calum Macfar­lane, who will use Arc­tic ex­pe­di­tions meth­ods to teach the young­sters the mes­sage of the Gospels.

Sup­port for the mis­sion, both in cash and kind, comes from St John’s Church at Port Ellen, the Round Church at Bow­more and the Is­lay Bap­tist Church.

All will cul­mi­nate with a fam­ily ser­vice at St John’s on Sun­day Au­gust 6 at 11.30am.

It is likely that a num­ber of po­lar ex­plor­ers will be present.

Head’s dual role

MAU­REEN MacDon­ald has been of­fi­cially ap­pointed as the joint head teacher for the pri­mary schools at both Port Ellen and Bow­more.

Pre­vi­ously head teacher at Port Ellen, she had been act­ing head at Bow­more, which in­cludes the is­land’s only Gaelic unit, since last year. She will take up her new dual re­spon­si­bil­i­ties when the schools re- open af­ter the sum­mer break in mid-Au­gust.

Mau­reen is of Lewis stock and is mar­ried to John MacDon­ald, an Ileach em­ployed by the drinks gi­ant Di­a­geo at the Port Ellen Malt­ings.

They have twin daugh­ters, Anna and Eilidh, who are well-known as win­ning duet­tists at both lo­cal and Na­tional Mòds.

All wish Mau­reen well at the more chalk­face.

Can­tilena mu­si­cians take a bow.

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