Usher hall, Edinburgh
Here, not having all the musicians playing on period instruments resulted in quite a lot of unevenness in symphonies 39 in E flat Major and 40 in G minor, repertoire in which the SCO usually excel. The string phrasing failed to match the crisp attack of the timpani, the dynamics were nowhere near nuanced enough, and there was a general lack of cohesiveness in the ensemble playing.
The voluminous Usher Hall makes the sound balance tricky for an ensemble of this size, but there was a serious lack of welly at crucial climaxes and the meaty inner viola and second violin parts were often absent from the overall texture. Although Ticciati’s brisk pace was spot on, especially in the fluid G minor symphony, the SCO’s usual magical lightness failed to materialise.
The spirit of togetherness was more evident after the interval, with the SCO delivering a more focused and convincing interpretation of the Jupiter symphony and the contributions of the individual sections to the music-making could be clearly heard.