THE RSNO has been on sizzling form of late, delivering world-class performances on its recent US tour and with last week’s classy Belshazzar’s Feast, so it was strange to hear the orchestra jumble its way through a confection of Classical potboilers in this soporific RSNO Prom concert.
RSNO Prom, Perth Concert Hall **
There’s nothing wrong with a healthy dose of orchestral lollipops from time to time. Who wouldn’t savour the instant hit from Shostakovich’s brazen Festive Overture or the sumptuous slow-burners that are Vaughan Williams’ Fantasias on a Theme of Thomas Tallis and Greensleeves; the rollercoaster thrill that is Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries or the patriotic zeal of Sibelius’ Finlandia; the savoury delights of Tchaikovsky’s ballet music for Swan Lake or his tub-thumping 1812 Overture?
But these Perth performances were mostly routine, even accident prone. Conductor Tim Redmond inspired little more than superficial appreciation, seemingly unsure of what to do with the bits between the good tunes.
Take that descending sequence in the 1812, so prosaic, so lifeless it all but ground to a halt. Banality impacted on the intrinsically dramatic moments in the Sibelius. At least the heated strings in the Vaughan Williams had comforting purpose, and Malcolm Arnold’s Four Scottish Dances elicited smiling moments, but otherwise this was disappointingly second rate.
Classic FM presenter Anne-Marie Minhall’s anodyne links – every piece, she purred, “lives in our hearts” – added to the torpor. Nor did the dueting Ayoub Sisters, playing their own flowery arrangements, shine in what was a decidedly pallid evening.