Classical review: RSNO Christmas Concert, Glasgow

At the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Picture: John Devlin
At the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Picture: John Devlin
Share this article
Have your say

It may, like most Yuletide orchestral concerts, go to formula.

RSNO Christmas Concert | Glasgow Royal Concert Hall | Rating ****

But the annual RSNO Christmas Concert remains one of the best around: a genuine family affair, with just the right mix of set pieces and audience participation, and no hanging about as one item follows smartly on from the last.

And the man who makes it happen is the irrepressible conductor and presenter Christopher Bell, whose dress sense gets more outrageous by the year - a snowflake suit to begin with, followed by a Christmas jumper that made him look like he’d been skewed by a reindeer - and whose fast line in patter had Saturday’s capacity audience eating out the palm of his hand.

The big moment each year is always the live showing of Howard Blake’s The Snowman, this year narrated by Greenock-born actor Georgie Glen, whose mellifluous delivery gave warmth and fluidity to a perennial treat. And what an achievement for the young Nicholas Short, singing the famous treble solo, Walking in the Air, at short notice, and doing it with such clear, cool conviction.

Everything else was like extra tinsel on the tree. The RSNO offered up seasonal delights from the pens of Leroy Anderson and from the hugely popular soundtracks for Polar Express and Frozen. The RSNO Chorus led the carol singing and went solo in Vaughan Williams’ Let All The World from the Mystical Songs. The RSNO Training Choir provided the cute factor, its diminutive choristers brimming with raw energy and enthusiasm.

A truly enjoyable evening.