Glasgow & West Scotland

Scots mausoleum with longest echo hosts Kronos Quartet

Kronos Quartet at Hamilton Mausoleum (Pic by Ashley Coombes/Epicscotland)
Image caption The Kronos Quartet will play to an audience of just 25 at Hamilton Mausoleum

A US classical quartet are to stage a concert in a Scottish mausoleum which has one of longest lasting echoes of any man-made structure in the world.

The Kronos Quartet will perform to a handful of fans at Hamilton Mausoleum in South Lanarkshire.

The show will also be broadcast to a larger audience at Glasgow's Royal Concert and streamed online.

It is part of a wider music festival being curated by the world-renowned string group.

The Kronos Quartet, who has worked with Tom Waits and David Bowie, has been performing a unique mixture of rock and classical music for almost 40 years.

The San Francisco-based musicians were drawn to the Hamilton mausoleum venue, the last resting place for the Dukes of Hamilton, when they heard about its famous long lasting echo.

Violinist David Harrington said: "When you have 15 seconds of overlaying sounds it is much different from any other concert hall you would ever play in."

"We have never played in a mausoleum before and we have certainly never played in an acoustical environment like this."

Longer reverberation

Hamilton mausoleum has hosted concerts and musicians before. Jazz musician Tommy Smith recorded an album there.

The Kronos Quartet show is just one part of the wider music festival taking place over the weekend which will showcase a range of musicians and musical styles.

Sven Brown, director of music for Glasgow Life which runs the city's musical venues said: "The thing about the Hamilton event is that it was never meant to happen and is purely down to the fact that David got off the plane in Glasgow and immediately asked about the mausoleum.

"People had talked about it. It is mind-blowing to think there is not another room on the planet that has a longer reverberation time than this one."

He added: "You really want to hear either the plucked string of the voice float in the air and when you started translating that to floating in the air for 12 seconds you suddenly realise that there is an opportunity for them, the Kronos Quartet, to do something extraordinary."

Earlier this month the Kronos Quartet was awarded the 2011 Polar Music Prize, Sweden's highest music honour.

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