City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Review: RSNO Benedetti Plays Bruch, 6 November 2009

By Barnaby Miln - Posted on 10 November 2009

Nicola Benedetti, violin
Show Details
The Usher Hall
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Franck, Le chasseur maudit; Bruch, Violin Concerto No 1; Schumann, Symphony No 1 Spring.
Jakub Hrůša (conductor), Nicola Benedetti (violin)
Running time: 

The concert began with one of César Frank’s macabre symphonic poems, in English, The Accursed Huntsman. It opens dramatically with the horns depicting a Count on horseback who should be in church.

We hear church bells. The horse refuses to go any further and so the Count is encased with flames. The music takes us on his journey into Hell pursued by demons. The violas play the fatal curse but the huntsman is on an unstoppable journey.

The Usher Hall was full with not even one seat empty, to hear Nicola Benedetti as the soloist in Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No 1. It is a lovely piece for it gives the violin and the orchestra equal importance as it moves from a prelude to build up to a movement with plenty of string pizzicato. The three violin themes in the slow movement contrast happily with the orchestra. In the Finale Nicola Bendetti masterly developed the gypsy theme which was answered by the orchestra.

This season the Royal Scottish National Orchestra is playing all four of Shumann’s symphonies and after the interval we heard the first. Again we heard the horns at their best as this, the Spring Symphony, began. The four movements are named as Beginning of Spring, Evening, Merry Playmate and Spring at its Height. It was happy and enjoyable.

Shortly after the close Nicola Benedetti joined William Chandler, Associate Leader of the RSNO, on the stage and for half an hour so that about a quarter of those who had heard the concert joined in a lively and interesting discussion about her ever burgeoning career. She had recently been playing with the night’s guest conductor, Jakub Hrůša , in Prague and en route had played this same concert in Ayr Town Hall the night before. But this girl from North Ayrshire told us she was really pleased to be back in the Usher Hall, a special place for her. When asked a domestic question she turned to her parents, sitting in the stalls with us, for the answer. She is an impressive musician but more than that, an ambassador for Scotland of whom we can be very proud.

Event: Friday 6 November 2009 7.30 pm, RSNO most Friday nights throughout the winter. £5 for students, Under 16’s free.