Review: Royal Scottish National Orchestra - Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
MUCH of Stéphane Denève’s seven years as music director of the RSNO has been marked by knock-out programmes of French repertoire, and the high calibre of soloists he chooses to work with. In all but a few matters, both came together on Saturday in a sparkling display of musical colour and virtuosity.
The latter was down to Hilary Hahn, the brilliant American violinist. She played Prokofiev’s beguiling Violin Concerto No 1, in which the soloist plays devil with the orchestra, using every expressive trick in the book – antagonistic pizzicato, nerve-tingling ponticello, even pure melodic charm and seduction – to win the day. Hahn did so with astonishing assertiveness. The Bach she played as an encore was simply the icing on a delicious cake.
The other unquestionable triumph was a coupling of the two orchestral suites that make up Albert Roussel’s ballet score Bacchus et Ariane. The RSNO has already committed this to CD, as part of its recently-completed Roussel series for Naxos, but to hear it live is another story.
Needless to say, it is hoaching with Bacchanalian revelry, and with surtitles to pinpoint the scene changes, and a score that is a menagerie of spicy harmonies, thrusting rhythms and raunchy textures, Denève made the point with glorious panache.
There were many beautiful moments in Debussy’s Nocturnes, but tentative entries from the RSNO Ladies Choir – and the odd problem with pitch – lessened the impact of Sirènes, the final movement.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 12 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: South east
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
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