City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Calum Robertson’s Get Organised Review

By Barnaby Miln - Posted on 19 April 2012

Calum Robertson clarinet.
Show Details
The Usher Hall
The Get Organised Series
Anon. 18th century German, Suite in C major for clarinet and continuo; Finzi, Carol; Françaix, Four movements from the Suite Carmelite for organ; MacMillan, From Galloway for solo clarinet; Mozart, Adagio from the Clarinet Concerto; von Weber, Clarinet Concerto Op. 74 ii Andante con moto iii Alla Polacca.
Calum Robertson (clarinets), John Kitchen (organ)
Running time: 

The programme carefully stated clarinets and not the singular clarinet after Calum Robertson’s name, and so it was that he started the recital with a smaller E-flat instrument for the unknown composer’s Suite in C major. It is a German work and 18th century, typical of where the E-flat would have been played. Calum’s dexterity and ability to pull a wide range of voices was remarkable.

High up alongside John Kitchen who was accompanying on the Usher Hall’s organ,  we heard Calum play Gerald Finzi’s Carol. As it drew to a close there were several strikes of the bell - a speciality of the Usher Hall’s organ.

Now down at the front of the stage, Calum warned those in the large audience who might not like Stravinsky that the Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet would last just five minutes. Composed in 1919 they started with two old gentlemen conversing, go to lively gymnasium music and finish with a quick march.

John Kitchen, the City Organist, played four of the movements about Carmelite Nuns written by Jean Françaix. In a way only John can, he told us to look out for the full organ blast in the final movement, and imagine an imperious Mother Superior at her most daunting.

Perhaps the most moving music was James MacMillan’s From Galloway for solo clarinet which was first performed in Glasgow in 2000 by Calum’s teacher at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, the RSNO’s John Cushing. Not surprisingly, Calum graduated with a first-class honours degree last year and is now working for a Masters in Performance.

As if we were not already convinced that we were hearing a clarinettist of the highest calibre, he and John Kitchen played the well known Adagio from Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and finished with part of Carl Maria von Weber’s Clarinet Concerto.

In another life John and Calum run the music at Old St Paul’s Scottish Episcopal Church, for Calum is also a keen organist. His musical talent is matched by his presentational skills - in this, no doubt, John has been a great encourager, and to his credit. It made such a difference to the audience’s enjoyment - there were nearly three hundred of us in the stalls enjoying every moment of a great concert.

Event: Tuesday 17 April 2012 at 1.10pm