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Meow Meow and Hebrides Ensemble join forces for Restless Love

This autumn, post-postmodern cabaret star Meow Meow will be joining Hebrides Ensemble, one of the UK’s foremost chamber music groups, for the upcoming production of Restless Love - a new adaption of Reinbert de Leeuw’s Im wunderschönen Monat Mai.

Audiences can expect big glamour, big music and an even bigger performance. We spoke to the team behind the production to fund out more.

Hebrides Ensemble is one of Creative Scotland's Regularly Funded Organisations 2015-2018.

Tell us about the production...

De Leeuw’s work, Im wunderschönen Monat Mai, is an intimate re-imagining of some of the best-loved songs of Schubert and Schumann, orchestrated for a 14-piece ensemble and presented in a cabaret setting.

The work eschews beautifully sung renditions of songs such as Gretchen am Spinnrade and Ich grolle nicht, and embraces the raw, guttural emotions of love, anger and loss. With its combination of music and theatre, Meow Meow is the ideal artist to bring out the heightened emotions of pathos and anguish inherent in this outstanding work.

How did it come about?

Our Artistic Director, William Conway, became aware of this work a few years ago and felt that it had something new to say about these very familiar pieces. It was therefore a fantastic fit for Hebrides Ensemble, which is renowned for its fresh and intelligent approach to programming. 

What are you hoping the audience will take away?

First and foremost, we hope our audience will be entertained and enjoy hearing these wonderful pieces in a new light, with the traditional piano accompaniment augmented to a large chamber group which creates a lot of colour, new resonances and intensity. We also hope that people will take away something new from these works, due to the passion and rawness of the performance.

Meow Meow, who will be leading the performance said: "Reinbert de Leeuw's exquisite piece is one of the most beautiful and (literally) breathtaking musical dissections of passion, elation and loss. One of the reasons I love it so much is that it’s really a distillation of the most intense parts of these 21 songs. It’s very raw, very visceral, and hugely emotional to perform."

What’s coming up in the future?

We'll be celebrating some important anniversaries next year. Following our recent successful recordings of works on Delphian Records by major Scottish-based composers Sir James MacMillan and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, we'll celebrate the 70th birthday of Nigel Osborne with a disc of his chamber works. We'll also be celebrating anniversaries of Bernstein, Couperin and Debussy and complimenting works by the latter two composers by introducing commissions from two young composers, Jay Capperauld and Peter Longworth

Restless Love is being performed at The Old Fruitmarket (Glasgow) on Monday 20 November at 7.45pm and The Queen’s Hall (Edinburgh) on Wednesday 22 November at 7.45pm. Tickets are priced £5 to £15 and are available through http://hebridesensemble.com or direct from the venue box offices.

This article was published on 02 Nov 2017