Classical review: Winter Gardens, Glasgow Green

The Elias Quartet provided a sparkling, spirited performance

The Elias Quartet provided a sparkling, spirited performance

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PART glossy launch, part authentic concert, Scozzesi’s debut performance – in the grand setting of Glasgow’s Winter Gardens – was a curiously subdued affair. The ten-strong all-male group is the latest addition to Scotland’s musical armoury, eight singers plus two pianists who take on classics, show tunes, traditional songs and more.

Winter Gardens, Glasgow Green

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There’s some serious talent there – young conservatoire graduates with numerous opera roles under their belts, plus recitalists and teachers – but there was also a distinct feeling that their delivery needed more confidence and panache, and that the group needed more time to gel properly.

Their strength is in their numbers – they made a powerful sound when singing together, although they sang like a group of soloists rather than an ensemble whose sound and phrasing have been properly honed.

But they had little to work with as a large group – a snatch of Verdi sung mainly in unison, or a pleasant but unremarkable a cappella version of When I’m 64. An inventive arrangement of The Piper of Dundee showed off their textural skills, however.

The singers seemed more naturally at ease when performing solo or in duos or trios – bass Ross McInroy gave a characterful account of Leporello’s “catalogue aria” from Don Giovanni, for instance, and an a cappella trio of Bésame mucho was polished and entertaining.

The setting provided a sense of occasion but did nothing for the sound, which got lost in the cavernous acoustic. Give them time to balance and blend their voices, though, and they’ll be something special.

Seen on 25.09.14

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