Classical review: Youth Chamber Orchestra of Turksoy, Greyfriars Kirk

Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Young musicians are renowned for their energy, commitment and enthusiasm and the Youth Chamber Orchestra of Turksoy is no exception.

The Youth Chamber Orchestra of Turksoy | Rating: *** | Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh

Consisting of string players from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Bashkortostan, the orchestra presented a selection of classical repertoire alongside intriguing pieces by composers from across the Turkic world.

Under the baton of conductor Anvar Akbarov, they launched their Sounds of Eurasia programme with a lively interpretation of the Praeludium from Grieg’s Holberg Suite. Their warm, full-bodied string tone shone in Tchaikovsky’s lyrical Elegy in memory of Ivan Samarin while four of the string soloists demonstrated their technical dexterity in the first movement of Vivaldi’s Concerto in B minor.

The musicians noticeably stepped up a gear in the extracts from pieces by contemporary composers from across the Turkic countries, with guest conductor Mostafa Mehmandarov at the helm. Koshok from Muratbek Begaliyev’s Kyrgyz Suite was a stomping, whirling mix of syncopated rhythms and traditional and modern styles while the exotic sounds of Turkmenistan were evoked in the final movement from Sukhan Tuiliyev’s viola concerto Pendi tunes superbly played by Aliya Mashkeyeva.

There was a Hollywood cowboy movie swagger to three pieces from Akshin Alizadeh’s Rural Suite, arranged by Mehmandarov, with the addition of the piano deepening the harmonic textures and colour. More tantalising snippets of works featured in the three encores, including a sultry Tango version of Happy Birthday.