SCO: Israel in Egypt ****
City Halls, Glasgow
Is it too fanciful to suggest that the seething, scurrying textural complexities of the lice and locusts, topped with sizzling, surreal containment by the SCO strings, foreshadow the intricate instrumental imagery of, say, Haydn’s Creation? Or that the sombre magisterial tones underpinning the “thick Darkness” conjure up a Brucknerian solemnity a century ahead of its time? At the same time, you get Handel, in the terse choral declamations that act as quasi-narration, recasting Monteverdi in his own image.
Dijkstra made a remarkably cohesive case through inspired team work from a tip-top SCO, six wonderful soloists (among them lustrous soprano Ilse Eerens, wholesomely expressive counter tenor Iestyn Davies, the fiery animation of James Gilchrist and meaty bass of Ashley Riches) and a double chorus well up to this athletic Handelian challenge, showing just a hint of tiredness at the end.