Classical review: SCO: Romantic Landscapes, Edinburgh

SCO: A lack of attention to dynamic subtleties. Picture: Jon Savage
SCO: A lack of attention to dynamic subtleties. Picture: Jon Savage
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This Romantic Landscapes programme looked largely conceived to showcase the husband and wife duo of director/violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson.

SCO: Romantic Landscapes - Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

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As a result, the short pieces by Dvorak and Saint-Saens felt comparatively slight given they were originally conceived as trios or quartets. In Dvorak’s Romance for Violin and Orchestra, Laredo’s mellow tone sat well against the lightly scored strings, but his weighty style and tendency to smudge some of the notes made this a somewhat laboured account.

Saint-Saen’s mini double concerto for violin and cello, The Muse and the Poet, is a gem, but it also failed to ignite. There was almost no interplay or musical chemistry between Laredo and Robinson, and a lack of attention to dynamic subtleties buried some lovely woodwind detail. By contrast, Dvorak’s meditative Silent Woods was beautifully articulated by Robinson and the orchestra.

Despite being erratic and uneven, the SCO’s romp through Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony No.3 bristled with energy as the orchestra relished tackling something substantial. Although Mendelssohn sketched the opening theme on a visit to Holyrood Chapel, it wasn’t until the second movement that the Scottish influences came to the fore. An exuberant folk tune is gleefully passed around the orchestra before being steadied by a stately adagio. The momentum was picked up again in the combative finale, which saw dazzling playing from bassoons, clarinets and horns, which concludes with a happy coda.