Although none of the international musicians who we have come to expect, are actually arriving in Edinburgh this August, their music goes on.

There are chamber music soundscapes in Princes Street Gardens each lunchtime from Monday to Friday until 28 August, and some of these concerts will feature on Classic FM individually, and in a highlight concert with John Suchet on 31 August 2020.

The Edinburgh International Festival opened the doors of its home, The Hub on Castlehill, to record a series of unique specially filmed performances with nobody there except essential technical staff and the performers.   

While it is still impossible to have an audience present for these recitals, they are available on the EIF YouTube channel, with new performances every Monday to Friday for three weeks this August. At a time when Edinburgh would ordinarily come alive with music, these exquisite sounds will be relayed to speakers scattered across Princes Street Gardens, livening up lunchtime for listeners.  

Highlights from the concert series will be broadcast on Classic FM in a special edition of The Classic FM Concert with John Suchet and streamed on the station’s Facebook page. Classic FM is both the UK’s most popular classical music station and has the highest Facebook following in UK radio.

Anyone in Princes Street Gardens is reminded to adhere to the Scottish Government’s social distancing guidelines.

While you may experience this in the gardens themselves, you don’t have to as these are also available on the EIF YouTube channel here.

Each 40-minute specially recorded chamber music performance will be audible throughout the gardens, allowing socially distanced audiences to enjoy the music whilst having a picnic or taking a walk.

The festival’s director, Fergus Linehan, said: “For the first time since lockdown, orchestras, ballet companies, traditional musicians, theatre ensembles and designers have come together to perform in and light up the venues they love. 

“This has been achieved with great care to ensure the safety of all involved. It represents a cautious but essential step towards the re-emergence of the performing arts in our country.”

He added: “The programme of events that we have announced is not so much a curated season as a reunion – it is time for our artists to make theatre together, to play music together, to sing together, to dance together and to light up the skies together.”

PERFORMANCES IN THE GARDENS

10 August: Nicky Spence (tenor) & Malcolm Martineau (piano): Shakespearean Songs 

11 August: Philip Higham (cello) & Susan Tomes (piano):  
Beethoven: Cello Sonata in C Op.102 No.5  
Nadia Boulanger: Three Pieces for Cello & Piano  
Debussy: Cello Sonata  
Martinu: Nocturne for cello & piano  
Suk: Serenade Op.3  

Susan Tomes is an Edinburgh based concert pianist.

12 August: Members of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra:  
Sally Beamish: Ariel for solo viola 
Mendelssohn: Octet

13 August: Steven Osborne (piano):  
Schubert: Impromptu No.1 in F major D.935   
Rachmaninov: Nunc Dimittis (from All-Night Vigil Op.37 transcribed for piano)  
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.32 in C minor Op.111 

14 August: Members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra:  
Glazunov: Reverie Orientale  
Rebecca Clarke: Prelude, Allegro & Pastorale   
Weber: Clarinet Quintet 

17 August: Andrea Baker (mezzo soprano) & Richard Lewis (piano): Sing Sistah Sing!
A joyful, soulful celebration of the African American female voice. Richard Lewis is a former councillor in Edinburgh who was also Culture Convener.

18 August: Elias String Quartet:  
Sally Beamish: Reed Stanzas  
Haydn: String Quartet in E-flat Op.64 No.6
Trad (arr Grant): Scottish Folk Tunes  

19 August: Hebrides Ensemble:  
Judith Weir: Sketches from a Bagpiper’s Album  
Tchaikovsky: Souvenir de Florence 

20 August: Angela Hewitt (piano) & Members of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra: 
Bach: Prelude and Fugue in A minor BWV 894
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.1 (chamber version arr Lachner) 

21 August: Dunedin Consort:  
Isabella Leonarda: Sonata duodecima  
Telemann: Paris Quartet TWV43:G1  
Jacquet de la Guerre: Violin Sonata No.1  
Leclair: Flute Sonata in E Minor, Op.9 No.2  
JS Bach: Trio Sonata in G Major BWV 1038  

24 August: Catriona Morison (mezzo soprano) & Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Songs and lieder by Purcell, Viardot, Schumann, Britten and Lewis Murphy.

25 August: Maxwell Quartet:  
Haydn: String Quartet Op.74 No.2 in F 
Anna Meredith: A Short Tribute to Teenage Fanclub  
Roukens: Visons at Sea  

26 August: Mark Padmore (tenor) & Paul Lewis (piano):  
Clara Schumann: Lieder  
Schumann: Dichterliebe 

27 August: Ursula Leveaux (bassoon) & Malcolm Martineau (piano): 
Saint-Saens: Bassoon Sonata  
Clara Schumann: Three Romances (transcribed for bassoon & piano)  
Mendelssohn: Sonata No.1 (transcribed for bassoon & piano) 

28 August: Paul Lewis (piano) & Members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra:  
Beethoven: Fantasy Op.77  
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.4 (chamber version arr Lachner) 

Classic FM

Highlights from the concert series will be broadcast on Classic FM in a special edition of The Classic FM Concert with John Suchet and streamed on the station’s Facebook page. Classic FM is both the UK’s most popular classical music station and has the highest Facebook following in UK radio.

Full list of Edinburgh International Festival 2020 concerts being streamed on Classic FM’s Facebook Page

• Thursday 13 August, 13:00 BST: Steven Osborne, piano
Schubert: Impromptu No.1 in F major
Rachmaninov: ‘Nunc Dimittis’ (from All-Night Vigil, transcribed for piano)  
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.32 in C minor

 Friday 14 August, 13:00 BST: Members of Scottish Chamber Orchestra
GlazunovReverie Orientale  
Rebecca ClarkePrelude, Allegro & Pastorale   
Weber: Clarinet Quintet 

• Thursday 20 August, 13:00: Angela Hewitt & members of Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Bach: Prelude and Fugue in A minor BWV 894
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.1 (chamber version, arr. Lachner) 

• Friday 21 August, 13:00: Dunedin Consort
Isabella Leonarda: Sonata duodecima  
Telemann: Paris Quartet
Jacquet de la Guerre: Violin Sonata No.1  
Leclair: Flute Sonata in E Minor
Bach: Trio Sonata in G Major

• Friday 28 August, 13:00: Paul Lewis & members of Scottish Chamber Orchestra
BeethovenFantasy
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.4 (chamber version, arr. Lachner) 

Visit facebook.com/classicfm to watch the above Edinburgh International Festival chamber concerts. Highlights will also be broadcast on air on Classic FM – tune in at 8pm on Monday 31 August to hear the festival on The Classic FM Concert with John Suchet.