City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Brahms' Violin Concerto RSNO, Usher Hall, Review

By Barnaby Miln - Posted on 14 November 2015

Show Details
The Usher Hall
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Webern, Langsamer Satz; Brahms, Violin Concerto; Mozart, Symphony No 41 K551 Jupiter
Peter Oundjian (conductor), Vilde Frang (violin), Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Running time: 

Vienna was the common theme of the three works performed. Two of them were crowd pullers whilst the opening Webern might well have been treated with caution by the unknowing. But we were to learn that Webern was composing music we know as late Romantic before he met Schoenberg and his style changed.

Nine minutes long Langsamer Satz, or Slow Movement, was not particularly slow but romantic for it came from a walking holiday when 21 with a cousin he was shortly to marry. Originally composed for a string quartet we heard an orchestrated version by American Gerard Schwarz for strings only. Interesting but not exiting.

Great musicians don't often speak of their fathers. But it happened twice within a few minutes. Associate Leader Bill Chandler gave the pre concert talk audience a full twenty five minute course on what we were about to hear, including a demonstration on his violin of the Webern. Not only is Bill interesting and erudite, he gives the wonderful impression that given time there was a lot more he could have told us. He let on that his father was a music academic.

Peter Oundjian opened the concert engagingly and enthusiastically by giving what a school master might well have just told him. Give a précis of Bill Chandler's talk but in two minutes and mention your father. He did just that. His father, he told us in jest, might have arrived a few minutes late to avoid the Webern. Peter's remarks ensured that the concert was off to a very good start. I, for one, warm to introductory remarks by the conductor.

Vilde Frang, born in Norway in 1986, had impressed a few years ago with her Britten Violin Concerto and so was welcomed on her return for the Brahms - one of the all-time favourites. For Bill Chandler it had been his exam piece all those years ago. Vile Frang gave us a superb performance, and the audience loved it.

After the interval came another all-time favourite - Mozart's Jupiter Symphony. It is said that as Mozart was putting pen to paper there was not a single correction needed on the original score. It just flowed into his mind.

Whilst massive orchestras are fun, many of the instruments were not needed or came along after this concert's works were composed. There was a happy impression of Peter Oundjian and his inner core giving of their best to a very receptive audience.

Concert: Friday 13th November 2015 at 7.30pm