Music review: Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Usher Hall Edinburgh

In the very simplest of terms, concert programmes are generally collections of pieces.

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It is a rare thing however when the pieces of music cohere as they did in Robin Ticciati’s Scottish Chamber Orchestra programme at the Usher Hall last night. In his choice of Weber, Schumann and Berlioz the whole somehow clicked to be greater than the sum of its parts in such a way that made all three pieces benefit from being heard in the illuminating company of the others.

More superficially, what they all had in common is not being heard very often on the concert platform.

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Why that should be is a puzzle. Weber’s overture to Der Freischtz has all the drama of the narrative that made the opera an instant hit at its first performance. Under Ticciati’s baton, it was darkly turbulent and brooding in mood up until a complete change to the positive relief of the final section.

Schumann’s Spring Symphony, his first, similarly deserves to be given more outings.

Bringing clarity to the orchestral textures, Ticciati’s abundance of intensely focused energy played its every nuance, whether in the gorgeously romantic full string sound or the poised elegance of dialogue across the orchestra in the scherzo.

Star of the show was viola player Antoine Tamestit. An impeccable soloist in Harold in Italy by Berlioz, he projected its lyricism injecting just the right sort of colour to tell a highly effective story of Berlioz’s Italian journey.