Yesterday's opening concert, with conductor Andrew Manze, new SSO leader Laura Samuel leading firmly from the front, and soloist Nicholas Daniel, one of the greatest oboists of our time, was stuffed with glories.
Manze's meaty, closing account of Schubert's immense Ninth Symphony might have been a bit rough and ready for some tastes, in matters of polish, refinement and elements of orchestral balance. It was breathtaking though, with its success based on two major factors: the conductor never let it drag – rather he drove it with unflagging energy – and the SSO got the bit between their teeth and went with it. It was like an exhilarating blast of wind in the face, while the finale, hair-raisingly, took off like a greyhound. The stamina of the players was deeply impressive.