City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

SCO and Paul Lewis Play Beethoven

By Barbara Bryan - Posted on 06 November 2009

Paul Lewis plays Beethoven
Show Details
Queen's Hall
SCO and Paul Lewis Play Beethoven Review
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Andrew Manze (Conductor), Paul Lewis (Piano), Members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Running time: 

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra's concert at the Queen's Hall, part of their regular autumn series, began with a Webern piece. A student of Schonberg, his music challenges people to listen in new ways.

Minimalistic in tone, and minimalistic in time his Five Movements for Strings Op 5, which was originally written for a string quartet, lasts for just over ten minutes. 

It is a challenging piece for the musicians and the audience.  However, after the interval the charming guest conductor - Andrew Manze, who is obviously an aficionado of Webern - explained there was time for us to hear the piece again and persuaded us of the composer's uniqueness, as Stravinsky endorsed with his comment:

Doomed to a total failure in a deaf world of ignorance and indifference he inexorably kept on cutting out his diamonds, his dazzling diamonds, the mines of which he had such a perfect knowledge.

There is something special about hearing a live performance of a familiar piece of music and Paul Lewis gave a flawless performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 3 in C Minor op 37.

The notes in the first movement were beautifully crisp and clear and in the second movement he conveyed great tenderness in the moving passages. It was a memorable performance that blended well with the orchestra, and was greatly appreciated by the audience whose appreciative clapping swelled like a wave.

The final piece on the programme was Schubert's Symphony No 6 in C major, his first in that key and known as the 'little' Symphony.  It was written at a time when Rossini's operas were hugely popular and you can hear not only his Viennese influence in the composition but also that of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. 

Flutes feature prominently throughout the symphony, sounding delightfully frivolous at times, and were skilfully played by Daniel Pailthorpe and Elisabeth Dooner.

6 November: City Halls, Glasgow, 7.30pm
7 November: Music Hall, Aberdeen, 7.30pm