Gleneagles Gala concert

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Glasgow City Halls, Candleriggs

March 17th

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The ambitions set by the merging two excellent institutions this evening were soon qualified in the first piece of  music they created for us; the large orchestra came together in a score that provided a beautiful take on classical music. There was a feel of ‘cutting edge’ attempts by Gleneagles and the Royal Conservatoire Scotland who are enthusiastically at the front of modern, contemporary and traditional music. From the moment the conductor walked onto the stage (Sir James MacMillan), I was enthralled as the many instruments, set apart & yet together, comblended in beautiful sound unison. There were many contemporary & daring details to the evening; mixing orchestra with opera with choruses, whose poetic voices echoed in the music as it reverberating through the evening. The size of performers grew in number as the story gained and lost momentum, dipping from head to foot and the other way round. As the more spiritual aspects of the evening’s music were being put into focus, I began to muse on these times in which older songs are more & more recollected and returned once to the magical fields of live performance.

This music was strong, bold and offered freedom; a haunting oboe sang at the front for an entire song, leaving and leading the music, glancing at Sir James who passionately led the stage, hopping and ranting in silence. The last performance of the evening was the greatest fete, with the back of the stage filled up by a chorus and below them a chorus of school children. The sentiment of this partnership of Gleneagles and the Royal Conservatoire has as wide a stretch as possible, including 50 international students. The aim is to seek out what they call outstanding potential, and are welcomed at a very young age. Their parents were all about us in the audience, & we all faced forward in silence together, completely relaxed, completely absorbed. All the scores we heard had a certain perfection to them, & I floated through the evening being tossed around or laid on the floor to rest or die.

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Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly


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