Music review: BBC SSO, City Halls, Glasgow

BBC SSO
BBC SSO
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Bray, Hopkins, Hyde and Burrell... yes, it was one of those BBC SSO Hear and Now concerts, where the music is new and non-mainstream and the spirit of adventure rides high. These concerts can be a hit or miss experience, and Saturday’s – which got off to a bit of a hiccup start when the opening work had to be repeated due to a failure in recording it – ranged in style from the somewhat arid, screaming abstractions of John Hopkins Double Concerto for trumpet and alto saxophone, to the tonal safety-net governing Thomas Hyde’s robust Symphony; from the “futuristic” soundscapes of Charlotte Bray’s Stone Dancer to the kaleidoscopic narrative of Diana Burrell’s Resurrection.

BBC SSO, City Halls, Glasgow ***

Bray’s response to the energy-packed early 20th century statuary of Gaudier-Brzeska, Duchamp-Villon and Boccioni is a score whose musical energy is both explosive and contained within a densely-textured orchestral mass. This performance seemed to limit the former – busy, bubbling undercurrents – though the unplanned repeat offered amends.

Hopkins’ Double Concerto, with soloists Marco Blauuw and Marcus Weiss, was a virtuosic feast, its solo protagonists engaged in fierce musical combat. But it lacks genuine soul, a style more akin to exploratory mid-20th century where system overrides expressive conviction.

Hyde’s Symphony – a world premiere – engaged us more characterfully, albeit laced with parodic references to Stravinsky, but driven by a gravitational relevance and personal belief.

Burrell’s seasonal analogy in Resurrection, offering new vistas to the brilliantly played cor anglais, shared that sense of emotional truth.