Classical review: SCO/Capucon, Edinburgh

UNDER chief conductor Robin Ticciati, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra has been steadily reclaiming pieces that have traditionally been the preserve of the symphony orchestra.

At the Usher Hall. Picture: Phil Wilkinson


Usher Hall, Edinburgh

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The latest works stripped back more or less to the forces they were originally scored for are Beethoven’sViolin Concerto in D and Schubert’s Symphony No 9 in C “Great C Major”. Blending natural timpani, horns and trumpets with modern instruments, also added richness to the textures and sharpened the musical outline still further.

From the opening tapping on the timpani, the orchestra created a fresh, zesty backdrop that beautifully framed the silvery tones of soloist Renaud Capucon. He especially impressed with his flawless execution of the dazzling double-stopping finger gymnastics in the first movement cadenza. The violinist also enjoyed some gorgeous interludes with the clarinet and bassoon in the slow movement. Ticciati’s lightness of touch belies an underlying rigour that saw him keep Capucon, who has a tendency to rush in the faster passages, in check. Overall the strings could have done with a bit more heft as placing the seconds to the right of the stage meant some of the inner harmonies were lost.

Schubert’s glorious hour-long symphony, however, was a revelation. The string sound was more robust, with the violins bouncing their way with alacrity through the first movement. There were lots of opportunities for the horns, with their declamatory statements, and the mellifluous oboes to shine. Together with some wonderful trombone contributions, this characterful performance gave the symphony a whole new lease of life.

Seen on 05.03.15