The SCO give predictably good performances and this Beethoven and Haydn concert, the last in their current series at the Queen's Hall, was no exception.
Exuberantly conducted by the guest German conductor Andreas Spering, the performance began with Beethoven's Symphony No 3 in E-flat, the Eroica. Written between 1803 and 1804, the music dramatically reflects that turbulent, revolutionary period when Napoleon Bonaparte had begun his ascendancy in Europe. Initially a great admirer of Napoleon - the original title page of the Eroica read ‘Bonaparte' at the top and ‘Luigi van Beethoven' at the bottom - when he proclaimed himself Emperor, Beethoven became disillusioned, thinking him capable of being no more than a tyrant.
The symphony was a hallmark in Beethoven's career, revolutionising the concept of this type of orchestral work. In each of the four movements he emphasises a sense of musical conflict - lyrical passages juxtaposed alongside raucous timpani and brass segments - skilfully interpreted by all members of the orchestra, the string section, woodwind and brass players. It was a tour de force performance.
Hadyn's moving Missa in Angustiis ‘Nelson Mass' - a powerful proclamation of Hadyn's enduring faith in the power of God - was next on the agenda. The performance was enhanced by the quality of singing in the SCO chorus, which was excellent, particularly in the pianissimo passages. The voices of the four soloists - Elizabeth Watts, soprano; Karen Cargill, mezzo soprano; James Gilchrist, tenor and Christopher Purves, bass baritone all blended harmoniously together. The piece was a rousing finale to this year's SCO's concert season.
Edinburgh Queen's Hall - Thursday 8 May - 7.30pm
Glasgow City Halls - Friday 8 May - 7.30pm
Aberdeen Music Hall - Saturday 10 May - 7.30pm