City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Beethoven's Ninth, Usher Hall, Review


By Barbara Bryan - Posted on 09 May 2014

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SCO - group photo
Show Details
Venue: 
The Usher Hall
Company: 
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Production: 
Emmanuel Krivine (conductor)
Performers: 
Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Carolin Masur (Mezzo soprano), Domink Wortig (Tenor), Konstantin Wolff (Bass baritone)
Running time: 
120mins

The concert at the Usher Hall was conducted by the renowned French conductor Emmanuel Krivine who has recently been appointed as the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor. He has been working with the orchestra since the late nineties and comments on the musicians saying: “There is a wonderful family atmosphere, which results in great music-making” and certainly the orchestra were in fine form last night.

The evening began with a Schumann symphony written in 1841. Like many composers of the period he was overawed following in the symphonic footsteps of Beethoven’s ninth, but he overcame the challenge and produced four symphonies in that year.

It was his Opus 52 in B flat that was performed which he finally entitled Overture, Scherzo and Finale. Krivine is a fascinating conductor to watch because although he uses a baton it’s his fingers that are the most expressive.

As with Schumann there are some beautiful, delicate moments in the music, particularly in the middle movement, and Krivine seemed to hold the orchestra in the palm of his hand as they obviously enjoy collaborating with him in creating a delightful ensemble sound.

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is regarded as his ‘masterpiece’. His final symphony, it was an astonishing feat because it was composed in 1823 when he was completely deaf.

In four movements, it is a homage to Schiller’s poem The Ode to Joy and it is the complexity of the chord structures in the choral finale that are so remarkable. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra choir were really in superb form accompanied by the four soloists, all of whom were German.

Konstantin Wolff began the familiar bass passage with a wonderful sumptuous sound followed by the soprano Ruth Ziesak with the mezzo soprano Carolin Masur then the tenor Domink Wortig. It was a thrilling finale much appreciated by all.

Next show: Friday 9th May, City Halls, Glasgow at 7.30pm