Beethoven for Breakfast

For most of his fifty-seven years, to call Ludwig van Beethoven a tad troubled would be an understatement. Spurned by the women he loved and suffering from illness for many years - and that's without including his infamous deafness - Beethoven's travails are reflected in much of his music, which can be characterised as violently angst-ridden. Fortunately, the organisers of Beethoven For Breakfast made the wise decision not to assault their audience with the composer's gloomier works, instead choosing a selection of lighter pieces. The result was a refreshing and pleasant way to start the day.

The recital began an interpretation of one of Beethoven's earlier cello sonatas. Typical of his early works, the piece has a relaxed air to it and is filled with jovial interplay between piano and cello. Yelian He (cello) and Yasmin Rowe (piano) did an excellent job of conveying the definite power of the music while still keeping the overall mood delicate and relaxed.

Changing the pace somewhat, next came Kausikan Rajeshkumar who performed Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 18, colloquially known as 'The Hunt.' Much like Haydn's string quartet of the same name, Beethoven gave the piece a light, breezy feel. Rajeshkumar dexterously leapt across the keyboard, bestowing the concluding presto with an infectious energy.

Finally, He and Rowe returned to the stage to finish the concert with a series of variations that Beethoven composed on a theme from The Magic Flute, retaining the genial style of the recital. Overall, this was a lovely show with which to start another day at the Fringe. What's more, included in the ticket price was the eponymous breakfast, taken in a room overlooking Edinburgh Castle. Be sure to book tickets for another concert quickly though, as the next show - a recital of Bach's chamber music - had already sold out.

Reviews by Andrea Valentino

Performances

The Blurb

Beethoven and contemporaries. Includes The Busch Ensemble, Cavaleri and Rothko String Quartets plus Ben Baker, violin, Yelian He, cello, and pianists Ashley Fripp, Yasmin Rowe and Ben Schoeman. Different artists and programmes each concert. Tea/coffee, pastries included.