Concert review: SCO/Alexander Janicze, Glasgow

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Every now and then the SCO does a DIY job – a concert in which the soloists come from within the orchestra and the need for a conductor is dispensed with.

SCO/ Alexander Kanicze

City Halls, Glasgow

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Okay, violinist Alexander Janiczek was drafted in to simultaneously play/direct this mixed programme of Strauss, Haydn, Webern and Beethoven. But as a former leader of the band, he surely remains “one of the boys”.

It’s an approach that invariably draws a visceral magic from the SCO, a self-generated electricity that feeds performances with a sense of immediacy, even an element of danger, as players engage actively with each other. That is what gradually evolved as last night’s programme progressed towards its bristling finale, Beethoven’s “Symphony No 2”. By that point, the self-generating process was on fire, every aspect of the music – the robust thrusting energy of the opening movement, the prolonged expressiveness of the Larghetto, the brutal concision of the Scherzo, and that teasing firecracker of a Finale - unleashed with abandon.

If earlier points in the evening paled under Beethoven’s shadow, that was only because the other hefty work – Haydn’s “Sinfonia Concertante for violin, cello, oboe and bassoon” – is, in all honesty, patchy in inspiration, and occasionally cumbersome in its utilisation of the concertante instruments.

Elsewhere, the contained intimacy of Richard Strauss’s Sextet from Capriccio, and Webern’s highly concentrated “5 Movements for String Orchestra”, added intoxicating variety to a dynamic mode of presentation.

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