Live Music in Edinburgh

We welcomed to the podium Sir Andrew Davis who, for the past nine years, has been the Music Director and Principal Conductor of Lyric Opera of Chicago, but much of his career has been with symphony orchestras around the world. Indeed, it began as an assistant conductor in Glasgow.

This was an evening of French music and the full house included our bejewelled Lord Provost and his entourage.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra concert at the Queen's Hall was led by renowned Australian conductor Sir Charles Mackerras.  The orchestra and he work particularly well together - last May they were awarded the Critics' Award at the 2009 Classical Brit Awards for their recording of Mozart's Symphonies 38 - 42 and last night's concert began with another Mozart Symphony, No 35 in D major, the Haffner Symphony.

This year in Vienna their Philharmonic Orchestra celebrated the New Year under the baton of a distinguished elderly French conductor. Whilst we in Edinburgh had the good fortune to have a young Austrian conducting the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. David Danzmayr is in his third year as the RSNO’s assistant conductor.

Madness. Madness, they call it, madness.They’re right. Princes Street at New Year is beyond madness, it is insanity.

In this pre-Christmas week the RSNO tours Scotland’s concert halls, but only the Usher Hall shows its festive mood with two large Christmas trees at either side of the stage. So said Christopher Bell, our exuberant conductor whose sequined shoes glistened in front of the red tops of the ladies of the orchestra and white jackets of the men.

A Deerhoof song generally tends not to follow a straightforward, linear curve.  They crash to halts almost as soon as beginning, before picking themselves up and careering off in other, suddenly more exciting directions.  Then they bolt off somewhere new and elsewhere entirely.  Twin guitars springboard around each other in full atonal axe mode, while the drummer seems to be on the verge of constantly exploding at his kit. 

Over the last few years the rare and rising talent of local musician William Douglas has gradually but firmly imprinted itself on the consciousness of the Edinburgh music scene. Accompanied by his motley crew The Wheel, he’s built up a loyal and growing fanbase warming to his unique take on 60’s inspired folk, pop and rock. With a second album visible on the near horizon, this prolific singer songwriter is clearly on the ascendant.

The prospect of a rousing overture, the return of a brilliant young French violinist and a favourite symphony had most of the seats in the Usher Hall filled. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra was back under the command of its Music Director, Stéphane Denève, who had been conducting in North America for a few weeks. His exuberant talent of welcome and brief introduction to the music ahead was again clearly appreciated.