City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Maiden in the Tower, Queen's Hall, Review

By Barbara Bryan - Posted on 30 October 2015

Show Details
Queen's Hall
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Tuomas Hannikainen (conductor), Lotta Wennakoski (composer)
Pekka Kuusisto (violin) Members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Running time: 

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra programme at the Queen’s Hall featured Finland – the conductor Tuomas Hannikainen; the violinist Pekka Kuusisto and the composer Lotta Wennakoski, whose composition ‘Verdigris’ (commissioned by the SCO) received its World Premiere last night.

Sibelius’ music triggered the inspiration for the composition and in particular his tone poem ‘En Saga’ which has been described as being capricious and it is this mood Wemmakoski has captured so effectively in ‘Verdigris’, with its particular focus on the string section which interprets marvellous varied mood swings from pianissimo to crescendos. The piece is atmospheric and full of musical surpirses – a challenge for the musicians who had to constantly focus on the conductor in this musical journey. It was enchanting. As Wennakoski bounded onto the stage at the end she looked thrilled and heartily shook hands with Hannikainen and beamed at the musicians for their splendid performance.

The Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto is a delight to watch. An astonishing virtuoso violinist he played Carl Nielsen’s Violin concerto to perfection. He was so immersed n the music that he frequently turned to watch the musicians on the occasions he wasn’t playing. In the composition one could hear the influence of Mendelssohn and Bach. Like ‘Verdigris’ there were many capricious moments which Kuusisto played almost humorously. And as an encore he entertained us with a Finnish and Swedish folk tune.

The final piece on the programme was the Orchestral Suite of Sibelius’ short opera ‘The Maiden in the Tower’. In this orchestral arrangement, the UK premiere, arranged by the talented conductor Hannikainen, he replaced voices with solo instruments. Conducting without a score, there were many dramatic moments which were thrilling and Hannikainen’s conducting was positively flamboyant. A thoroughly enjoyable concert.

Friday 30 October, Glasgow City Halls, 7.30
Ticket prices: £15 - £29