City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Review: RSNO Favourites, Shostakovich 11 Review, 13 November 2009

By Barnaby Miln - Posted on 14 November 2009

Thomas Søndergård (conductor)
Show Details
The Usher Hall
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Beethoven, Piano Concerto No 1; Shostakovich, Symphony No 11
Thomas Søndergård (conductor), Ingrid Fliter (piano)
Running time: 

The audience was so delighted with Ingrid Fliter’s performance that she returned to the keyboard and gave us a four minute encore. She is from Argentina and has played with many major orchestras in recent years. 

Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 1, first performed in Prague in 1798, has three movements. The orchestra started the Allegro con brio to produce the feel of a Viennese outdoor concert. Only then the piano quietly and firmly joined in.

The following gentle slow movement Largo was quite a contrast but then, without a gap, we were thrown into the seven part Rondo, a traditional form for a classical concerto. The piano had the main theme, the orchestra surrounded it. It was Beethoven’s tease that twice made us think we had reached the climax before the real end came.

The physical energy that the Danish conductor, Thomas Søndergård, put into the performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No 11 was staggering. There was a full orchestra for this hour long piece and many a time every instrument was playing - but all firmly under the conductor’s control. First performed in Russia in 1957 it was an immediate success.

We heard the four movements, without a break between them, with music coming and going as if we were on a film set. Not surprisingly the Symphony is often called a ‘film-score without the film’. Gripping throughout it was clear that the Royal Scottish National Orchestra enjoyed every moment of their playing of it and in turn gave the audience huge pleasure.

This really was an exhilarating concert.

Event: Friday 13 November 2009 7.30 pm, RSNO most Friday nights throughout the winter. £5 for students, Under 16’s free.