EIF 2014: I, CULTURE Orchestra, Usher Hall, Review

Rating (out of 5)
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I, CULTURE Orchestra
Panufnik, Sinfonia elegiaca; Shostakovich, Symphony No 7 'Leningrad'
Kirill Karabits (conductor)
Running time

A orchestra of young people that was founded as recently as 2011 has done well to be invited to the Edinburgh International Festival. And they did not disappoint. They came on to the stage together - musicians from Poland, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The ICO was founded on the principles of solidarity, integration and friendship.

The two powerful symphonies were a warning against all that is wrong with war. Panufnik's Sinfonia elegiac, his second symphony, starts with a scarcely audible timpani vibration followed by cellos and double basses before the cor anglais takes on a theme of lament. This is Panufnik's anti-war protest in three joined together movements.

There's a catching motif that flows through the Leningrad Symphony. After some of the massively powerful music we hear again that motif - as a reminder that Shostakovich wrote the music during the 900-day Nazi siege of Leningrad.

The conductor was Kirill Karabits who was born in Kiev in 1976 and who, for the past five years, has been the principal conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. I hope he was delighted at the rapturous applause the Festival audience gave him and his players. They gave us a short encore.

Concert: Sunday 18th August 2014 at 7.30pm