City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Scottish Chamber Orchestra: Schumann Cello Concerto

By Barbara Bryan - Posted on 27 November 2015

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Queen's Hall
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Robin Ticciati (conductor) Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Steven Isserlis (cello) Jane Atkins (viola) Mwembers of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Running time: 

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra had a packed programme at the Queen’s Hall and was conducted by the talented Robin Ticciati - Principal Conductor of the SCO since 2009 – whose enthusiastic style is a delight to view. The concert began with Dvorak’s Legends opus 59, numbers 1, 2, 7 and 8. In four movements, Legends, originally written as a piano duet, was subsequently orchestrated by the Czech composer in which he incorporated dance rhythms derived from the folk music of Moravia and Bohemia. The string section features prominently in the composition and Ticciati succeeds in bringing out the very best in the musicians culminating in an accomplished sound.

Steven Isserlis was the soloist in Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A minor. Schumann completed this work in only two weeks in the autumn of 1850 but he died before it received its premiere. A theatrical performer, Isserlis has quite rightly attained the reputation as one of the world’s top cellists as he undoubtedly is a superb player. Seldom looking at the cello he elicits the most exquisite emotion from his instrument and as an encore he played the heart-rending ‘Song of the Birds’, a traditional Catalan song arranged for cello by Pablo Casals which he frequently played as an encore to protest against the Franco regime in Spain.

Emotions also featured prominently in the next composition on the programme, the Movement for Viola and Orchestra by the Hungarian composer Gyorgy Kurtag. A devotee of the minimalist playwright Samuel Beckett, Kurtag sought to reinterpret various emotional states in his works. Jane Atkins, the Principal Viola in the SCO, was the soloist in this performance. An accomplished musician she skilfully, and sensitively interpreted the range of emotions prevalent in this piece.

The programme concluded with Mendelssohn’s Symphony no 3 in A minor. Named the Scottish Symphony, Mendelssohn was inspired to write this composition after visiting the ruins of Holyrood Chapel, in the grounds of Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. That year, he also embarked on a walking tour of the north of Scotland and the symphony frequently evokes the atmosphere of wild landscapes so prevalent in our country. The orchestra were in fine form and the brass section regained their confidence after the Dvorak and sounded splendid.
Friday 27 November, 7.30pm, Glasgow City Halls. Tickets: £15/£29