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EIF Review: Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Four stars

Here surely was a prime illustration of why Canadian conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin is such an admired talent among the younger names on the international concert platform. The Philadelphia's new man took the opening bars of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony - the most rhythmic feast of melody in the great composer's symphonic canon - at such a leisurely pace, it might have sound-tracked the final exhausted moments of a dance marathon.

But that restrained intro to the flute's entry and the first big tune of the Seventh's feast was, with hindsight, the only way to begin building to the searing climax of the finale that had many in the Usher Hall on their feet and a parade of bows and acknowledgements of the work of individual players and sections of the orchestra that continued for many minutes.

With local man William Conway at the head of the cellos, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe may be a collection of virtuosi, but it is not a big band. Yet the largest symphony orchestra could not have produced as more dynamic account of the Seventh that the COE did for Nezet-Seguin.

The first half of the concert was a cooler affair, but showcased that virtuosity, with two

double concertos (in all but name) with soloists drawn from the ranks. Strauss's late Duett-Concertino featured clarinettist Romain Guyot and bassoonist Matthew Wilkie and came alive in its firier passages, while Mozart's Sinfonia concertante in E flat major teamed orchestra leader Lorenza Borrani with gloriously sonorous tone of principal viola Pascal Siffert.

Although hardly his best-known tune, the Andante second movement is Mozart at his melodic best, here given beautful expression by the duo.

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