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Gig review: Sherlock Meets his Violin, The Scotsman


HAITI has been somewhat overlooked as volcanic ash, oil spills and coalitions dominate the news headlines, so this charity concert in aid of SOS Children’s Haiti Orphan Appeal was a timely reminder that there is still much work to be done following the earthquake.

Edinburgh violin-maker Steve Burnett, who made the Sherlock Violin out of a tree that once stood in the grounds of Liberton Bank House where author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once lived, is keen for the instrument to be used to raise money for children’s and environmental charities.

This varied programme was designed to show off the colours and textures of the instrument as well as the versatility and talent of violinist Ani Batikian. Together with the St Patrick’s Baroque Ensemble, she took Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons at a brisk pace revealing the violin’s quicksilver qualities. Then with pianist Helena Buckmayer, Batikian played works by Elgar and Gershwin demonstrating the warm, honeyed tones of the instrument, while Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances revealed its more fiery nature.

Written especially for the Sherlock Violin, James Clapperton’s Elsie and Frances was inspired by the two cousins who took photos of fairies, later admitted to be fakes. This delicate work, receiving its world premiere, captured the imaginary spirit world that so fascinated Conan Doyle.

However, it was the beautiful sweeping melodies of Jay Ungar’s Ashokan Farewell for violin and ensemble that really highlighted the gorgeous tones of this magnificent instrument.

Original article at Review of Sherlock violin of May 2010 Usher Hall

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