Glasgow City Halls
The Scottish Chamber Orchestra enjoys one of the highest regarded positions worldwide. Its successes include working in ground level projects that are as inclusive as possible. The 38-piece set up for the evening were made up of strings, wind and believe it or not a running dialogue. The stories began commencing with the music and a silent introduction to each musician and their instrument. The excitement rose in the atmosphere of highly accomplished performers who are at the very top of their careers. Laurence Cummings led the way as conductor but also played the harpsichord during two of the performances, and in the first had dialogue to recite in two sentence statements. Some critics have suggested that parts of some of the scores were strange including instruments such as the flute replacing the more traditional methods adhered to in classical music. Sitting in the balcony level offered a view of most of the inner hall. There was a very relaxed almost lullaby quality to the evening coming from the bustling stage. The songs flew by with the music seeking after the clients or characters of the music each to express the subjects of the stories. In a fantastical way it told of age-old stories many about the greatest theme; love.
I say fantastical but the feeling was very real and highly structured. The four movements by great composers included Rameau who lived in the late seventeenth to middle eighteenth centuries wrote his ‘Les Boreades’, as a suit from an opera the Scottish Chamber Orchestra made it by offering dialogue to tell the story in between the music. The four composers where writing long ago with Paris in mind and in view. Paris had of course been a centre for lovers, artists and beauty, adding to the show a real sense of accomplishment of culture in and around the story of practice itself. In the movements were the expressions of the subject themes moving at times with great pace and power describing excitement and revelry, to the appropriate gentle tones of a flute solo.
To this esteemed end Paris was brought to Glasgow at the City Halls where there was a resounding space and décor, there was a roar but it didn’t come from the audience it came from the stage; a success that exists between the partnership of playing high level music together as a team but very much individually where timing and tuning are the most important and inspiring things. They sat dressed in black, I noticed a player without shoes on, though tights, and it made sense to me; she wanted to be grounded as much as possible as she poured herself through body to her instrument in the amazing act of sensual harmony amplified to a high degree almost non-stop.
From talking to a couple of people behind me the gist from them was all about how great the Orchestra really is. When I mention it is worldwide I mean it from the sense of the largeness of movement that has come from travelling the globe in person within 24 hours, and the obvious internet that helps create global communication in this case within the music world. In the last century these pieces of music have been picked up again to play after centuries. There is a real excitement around them, from all aspects of performance ,and now is a good time to find out more about it, please find out for yourself.
Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly