City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

RSNO Naked Classics: Mendelssohn No 3 Review


By Barnaby Miln - Posted on 30 April 2012

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Paul Rissmann in hoodie
Show Details
Venue: 
The Usher Hall
Company: 
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Production: 
Naked Classics - Mendelssohn, Symphony No 3 (Scottish
Performers: 
Paul Rissmann (presenter), Adrian Prabava (conductor)
Running time: 
115mins

Paul Rissmann failed to convince me that Mendelssohn did any more than decide to write a third symphony whilst he was visiting Scotland. With his increasingly sophisticated graphics on a large screen behind the Orchestra, he took us through all four movements, doing his best to tease out some connection with Scotland. At points not quite excruciating, but probably more appropriately directed to an audience of Scots living abroad with all the fervour ex-pats can muster. 

Themes repeat throughout the work and to demonstrate this Paul Rissmann had the players jump up and down as to whether they were playing the theme. At one moment the violas were standing, then the flutes, then the horns and so on.To their considerable credit the players took it seriously - with a smile.

Paul is good at bringing the players into his discussions. I would question his decision to ask the Leader, Bill Chandler of American origin what he thought, for that was not productive. Then the Principal Second Violin, Xander van Viet from the Netherlands. He thought it sounded a bit like the Dutch National Anthem. Failing those two the conductor, Adrian Prabava from Indonesia. But he had only just stepped off a plane in Scotland for the first time and was quick to tell us he had not yet tried haggis, never mind a nip of a malt. Hardly likely to have an opinion on Scottish musicality.

But it was a delight to watch Adrian Prabava conduct the Royal Scottish National Orchestra play the entire Third Symphony through after the interval. I hope we see him in Edinburgh again.

Event: Friday 27 April 2012 7.30pm