Classical review: Scottish Chamber Orchestra

PIANIST Piotr Anderszewski and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra have a long-established relationship that is always distinguished by a heightened sense of music-making. Directing from the piano, Anderszewski and the orchestra stripped Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor of all the grand gestures and romantic affectations it has accrued over the centuries to reveal a work full of dark beauty and vivacity.

Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the Queen's Halls, Edinburgh. Picture: TSPL
Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the Queen's Halls, Edinburgh. Picture: TSPL

Scottish Chamber Orchestra - Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh


There was a soulful intimacy to the first movement as the piano danced with the oboe and clarinet, carried along by the ebb and flow of the strings. Aspects of this mood continued in the dreamy intermezzo before the explosive finale. Energy levels soared as both orchestra and soloist took the audience on an utterly thrilling ride while also reaching deep into the poetry at the concerto’s heart in this knock-out performance.

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    In Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 12 in A, there was also a brilliance to the interactions between piano and orchestra with every phrase sharply delineated. Anderszewski came into his own in the contemplative andante, so confident of the orchestra to relax and lose himself in Mozart’s sublime musical world.

    Directing from the violin, Alexander Janiczek and the SCO explored two very different early works by Mendlessohn. His teenage offering, Sinfonia No 2 in G minor for strings, may have lacked sophistication but was nevertheless charming. However, the 20-year-old composer’s Overture, Son and Strange, an introduction to a family operetta to celebrate his parents’ silver wedding anniversary, was a polished gem, hinting at masterpieces to come.

    Seen on 15.05.14