Beethoven Five, Queen's Hall, Review
Robin Ticciati, the Principal Conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, chose an eclectic programme for last night's concert at the Queen's Hall.
The performance began with Schumann's Overture, Scenes from Goethe's Faust. Faust is the dissatisfied protagonist of a classic German legend who sells his soul to the devil in order to gain unlimited knowledge and pursue a hedonistic lifestyle.
Like many composers in the eighteenth century, Schumann was fascinated by the tale. Even as a teenager he wrote to a friend saying: "We have all been given nicknames; mine is Faust, although I don't want it to be."
The overture was composed many years later, in 1853, at a time when Schumann's mind was becoming unhinged as a result of undiagnosed syphilis. He attempted suicide soon after and volunteered to go into an asylum where he died three years later.
The overture begins ominously and, with its swirling dramatic passages and rousing brass sections, charts Faust's turbulent journey, which appears to mirror Schumann's own inner anguish. Having worked with the orchestra for some time now Ticciati has developed a great rapport with the players and together they created a thrilling rendition of this exciting piece.
Next on the programme was a contemporary composition by the Austrian composer H K Gruber. First performed in 1988, Nebelsteinmusik is for violin and strings and Alexander Janiczek was the soloist.
An extremely accomplished, unassuming musician he plays with extraordinary confidence, particularly when playing in the top register. The piece, with its complex, at times rapid, rhythms, requires the utmost concentration and displays the technical expertise and versatility of the musicians.
Berlioz is renowned for his vast orchestral and choral works but Reverie et Caprice, by comparison, is a delightful, melodic piece for violin and strings. Janiczek was again the soloist and once more excelled in his interpretation.
The full orchestra was back on the platform for the finale - Beethoven's Symphony No 5 in C minor. It was a superb rendition of this popular work. Taking the first movement at terrific rate, Ticciati predictably brings out the best in the players and created a memorable performance.
Thurs 22 March.
Performance Friday 23 March, 7.30pm, to Glasgow City Halls