Review by Jennifer Rowan Duncan, 15, Glasgow
Booming with excitement, the West End Festival hosts many extraordinary events every year. Throughout the course of the festival this summer, many marvellous performances will be on display as part of the Cottier Chamber Project, ranging from baroque music and 20th century compositions to Scottish folk.
Helping to kick off the festival at 8:30pm on Saturday June 7, at St Silas Church Glasgow, alongside some Shostakovich and polish tango the previous day, a small group of musicians told the story of Jan Baalsrud and his incredible journey across Scandinavia.
Jan was chased through Norway by German soldiers, during World War II, after his ship was discovered trying to aid the Norwegians. The Shetland bus was the name of this underground movement between Shetland and Norway and so the group have also entitled their ensemble of songs The Shetland Bus.
Bethany Reid (piano and fiddle) and Jenna Reid (fiddle), along with James Thomson (flute and pipes), Iain Sandilands (percussion) and Joe Rattray (double bass), told Jan's story through expressive Scottish music with the suspenseful narration from Phil Goodlad.
Their stunning performance truly captured the essence of the touching tale with use of a wide range of dynamics and instrumental techniques. An album entitled Escape contains their repertoire of songs from the evening, some of which include Firefight, Avalanche, Marius, Desolation, Kilpisjari and Jan's return.
It was well worth a visit and the many more performances that will light up this summer's stages are surely something to look forward to.