Music review: Virgin Money Fireworks Concert, Ross Theatre, Princes Street Gardens

The Virgin Money Fireworks Concert brings Edinburgh's festrival season to a close.
The Virgin Money Fireworks Concert brings Edinburgh's festrival season to a close.
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In a format initiated last year, Monday night’s Fireworks Concert began with music but no fireworks. Paying tribute to Leonard Bernstein’s 100th anniversary, a performance of his Concert Suite No 1 - a set of love songs from West Side Story - allowed the audience to listen to the music without distraction. With their voices blending well, and displaying remarkable control and appropriate tenderness, tenor Nicky Spence and soprano Lucy Crowe both ably rose to the challenge of amplified outdoor performance on a less than warm summer evening.

Virgin Money Fireworks Concert, Ross Theatre, Princes Street Gardens ****

If anything, the conditions favoured the Spence and Crowe more than the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, which inevitably loses clarity in this setting. They came more into their own in Holst’s Planets Suite, however, which seemed to be accompanied by more fireworks than ever before at this annual event, and the orchestra, under conductor Clark Rundell, capably captured the essence of each of the five movements selected from the total seven.

Mars was tense and rhythmically pulsating while during Saturn the planet’s blue and green rings appeared in the sky above. Synchronisation, however, then went awry, as the famous waterfall made half of its appearance to no music.

As the concert concluded with a very jolly Jupiter it was as if the technicians of Pyrovision were setting off every firework in the box at once, as the skies exploded with noise and a riot of colour, bringing this year’s Edinburgh summer festival season to a dazzling close. - CAROL MAIN