Classical Review: Scottish Chamber Orchestra
SCOTTISH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA **** USHER HALL, EDINBURGH
THEY say good things come in small packages. Sure enough, the diminutive figure of Portuguese pianist Maria Joo Pires seemed in direct contrast to the broad sweep of a performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 4 she gave in the vastness of the Usher Hall, partnered by conductor Trevor Pinnock and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
But where Pires's musicianship truly matched her slender physique was in the delicacy of her touch. Beyond the famous solo opening – unpretentious, but with a tempered sparkle – her approach was sensitive and sweet, enriching Beethoven's innate masculinity with a touching poeticism. Not that the interpretation lacked robustness, as the belligerent dialogue between teasingly calm soloist and petulant strings made clear at the conversational outset of the second movement.
It helped that Pinnock and Pires are musical conspirators, a partnership that was displayed with some humour on Thursday when they both sat down at the piano and playfully jousted their way through a four-handed Mozart encore.
Pinnock made his own mark in the purely orchestral portions of the concert, shaping Mendelssohn's pictorially fluid overture The Fair Melusine with all the gentleness required to emphasise its watery premonitions and silvery textures. And in Mozart's Symphony No 39 he latched on to its gestural phrases, giving suppleness to its structure. Pinnock, like Pires, is small-framed. But musically, too, he packs a Goliath punch.
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Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
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Temperature: 11 C to 18 C
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