The Night With… Garth Knox Review by Mairi McKellar (TNW Ambassador 2019)

The relaxing downstairs of the Belmont Theatre in Aberdeen was the perfect place for Garth Knox’s ‘Music for Viola D’amore and Electronics’ concert to be held.  The concert was split into 3 sections, with two intervals, which gave it a nice informal, yet welcoming feel, as it gave the audience a chance to talk to Garth and ask any questions they had about the peculiar instrument.

Overall, I enjoyed the performance very much.  I liked that Garth took the time to talk about each piece, where he first heard them, and when it came to his own compositions, he talked about what inspired him to write them, and what each movement of the piece represented.  He also gave an explanation of the instrument; how it worked and the different ways it can be played, how many strings it has and how it is tuned differently from an ordinary viola, and that to play certain pieces the whole tuning of the instrument needs to be changed.

The pieces themselves were all excellent, it was hard to choose a favourite!  Each piece was different, and showed a different way the Viola D’amore can be played – the ‘Fantasy on Medieval Tunes’ showed a more traditional way for the instrument to be played, whereas the more modern pieces, such as Matthew Whiteside’s ‘Solo for Viola D’amore and Electronics’ showed an interesting and fantastic way that old instruments can be combined with new styles and instruments.

This concert was a great way to experience the Viola D’amore live for the first time, and this type of concert is one I’d recommend to everyone.

by Mairi McKellar