City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Scottish Chamber Orchestra: Beethoven Seven, Usher Hall, Review

By Barbara Bryan - Posted on 03 May 2013

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The Usher Hall
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Emmanuel Krivine
Nelson Goerner (piano), members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Running time: 

The concert at the Usher Hall was devoted to composers in the nineteenth century and it began with an Overture, The Fair Melusine by Felix Mendelssohn which he considered to be ‘the best’ and ‘most intimate’ music he had ever written.

It can readily be identified as a Mendelssohn composition as one can hear similarities to Fingal’s cave and his Midsummer Night’s Dream overture with its light, airy passages, and breadth of dynamics, which were particularly suited to the guest conductor Emmanuel Krivine’s style of conducting.

All conductors have idiosyncratic styles and it was a delight to watch Krivine quivering his baton to encourage the musicians to emphasise the vivacity in the light-hearted sections.

The next piece on the programme was Schumann’s Romantic Piano Concerto in A minor which was first performed by his wife Clara in l846. Nelson Goerner was the soloist in this performance.

The audience clapped in appreciation after the first movement, which was de rigueur until sound recordings began, and despite his quiet, unassuming presence, his interpretation of the middle movement was superb, coupled with the luscious sound of the strings. An impassioned, tour de force performance.

In complete contrast to the flamboyance of the final movement of the piano concerto, Beethoven’s popular seventh symphony begins with quiet, contained passages. And in the slow, brooding movement, the strings once again produced an exquisite, luscious sound.

But the energy in this symphony always has elements of surprise which was suited to the precise, enthusiastic conducting by Krivine. And despite the fact they are a chamber orchestra, the SCO succeed in producing a wonderful, full symphonic sound.

Times: 2 May, 2013, 7.30pm, Usher Hall, Edinburgh
3 May 2013, 7.30 pm, City Halls, Glasgow
Tickets: £13/£27 [concessions available]