Classical review: Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Edinburgh

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IT’S strange to think that Beethoven’s Symphony No7 is two centuries old – especially as it has never sounded so fresh or modern as in this thrilling performance by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Usher Hall

****

Musicianship is never in short supply at the SCO, and with conductor Emmanuel Krivine’s expressive dynamism added to the mix, the combination was a potent one. Together, orchestra and conductor danced like dervishes through the Beethoven which barely pauses for breath – the exquisite second movement allegretto is about as slow as it gets. Then after the scherzo, with it’s swerving phrases and slightly odd ending, Krivine put the orchestra into top gear for an adrenaline-fuelled finale.

Pianist Nelson Goerner also brought a different approach to Schumann’s popular Piano Concerto in A minor. Instead of the dark broodiness that often pounds the emotion out of the music, Goerner’s lighter, more delicate touch enabled the animated exchanges between soloist and orchestra to really shine. But while this studious teasing out of the layers suited the outer movements, a little more of Schumann’s fiery passion would not have gone amiss in the andantino which was a touch too slow and introspective.

Mendelssohn’s Overture, The Fair Melusine opened the concert, with clarinets, flutes and strings beautifully conjuring up the home of the water sprite.