City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

RSNO: Stravinsky’s Firebird Naked Classics, Usher Hall, Review

By Barnaby Miln - Posted on 23 February 2013

Show Details
The Usher Hall
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Stravinsky, The Firebird
Christian Kluxen (conductor), Paul Rissmann (presenter)
Running time: 

The first half of a Naked Classics concert is an exposition of the piece of music the Royal Scottish National Orchestra will play all the way through in the second half. The tickets are £10 each, the printed programme is slim but the seats in the Usher Hall are nearly all full.

It was a full Orchestra on stage, all in black shirt sleeves or dresses, when the conductor, Christian Kluxen, arrived on stage closely followed by Paul Rissmann who is the Naked Classics presenter.

The Orchestra played for a few minutes and stopped. Paul Rissmann, with a large screen hanging above the players at the rear, told us a little of Stravinsky’s background and showed photographs of the people like Rimsky-Korsakov who were influential in his development.

Then he got down to the music for the evening, the ballet score for Firebird written for Diaghilev. He demonstrated how Stravinksy used major and minor thirds not just by having parts of the Orchestra play them but on the screen where the music was printed. But it was cleverly animated and at times showed the relevant keys on a piano keyboard.

Bill Chandler, the Leader, demonstrated the unusual sound called harmonic glissando by pressing lightly on different parts of a string whilst going up and down it at the same time. Christian Kluxen told us what it was like to prepare to conduct such a large orchestra in such a complicated work. And after telling us to look out for the four Wagner Tubas placed around the top floor, Ed and Martin with their horns were at the front demonstrating one of Stravinsky’s techniques.

After the interval were all the more prepared to hear in its entirety Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird - written when the composer was 26 in 1910. A very polished evening.

Event: Friday 22 February 2013 at 7.30pm