Controversy over Edinburgh Festival’s opener

Posted on: July 10, 2009

In Thursday’s (7/9) Scotsman (Edinburgh), Tim Cornwell and Shan Ross report, “A piece of music celebrating the defeat of the Jacobites at the Battle of Culloden should not have been chosen to open the Edinburgh International Festival, a prominent Scottish philanthropist has told The Scotsman. Sir Tom Farmer said Festival regulars were ‘quite disturbed’ by the choice of Handel’s Judas Maccabeus and that the oratorio should not have been included in the programme. … As part of the Year of Homecoming, the Scottish Government is trying to attract ex-pat Scots, some possibly descendants of those driven from their homes in the wake of Culloden. … A spokeswoman for the Edinburgh International Festival said: ‘It is fascinating to see that a work created over 250 years ago still resonates and that our opening concert is the subject of a lively debate. Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus is part of the political context out of which emerged the Scottish Enlightenment.’ ” The Handel work will open August 14 with William Christie leading the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. 

Posted July 10, 2009