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Review: Music

Edinburgh Youth Orchestra

Edinburgh Youth Orchestra

City Hall, Glasgow

Michael Tumelty

I'M tempted just to have a good old rave about the Edinburgh Youth Orchestra, which gave an extraordinary performance of Stravinsky's Rite Of Spring in the City Hall on Sunday night.

I know that performance standards with young musicians and ensembles have gone through the roof. I know that probably every European country has orchestral ensembles playing at the highest level, wholly admired by seasoned professionals.

But, you know, when you are actually there and hear it at close quarters, when it comes off that stage and smacks you between the ears, there's no experience on God's earth that gives you such a wallop as the staggering, inspirational mind and body blow powered out by these young magicians.

These kids on Sunday were aged between 14 and 21 - 14 and 21! Controlled from the front with the unshakeable certainty of Garry Walker's batteringly incisive interpretation (he didn't impose anything on it; he just released it), they delivered a Rite that was pulverising in its implacability, convulsive in its propulsion, and throttling in its intensity.

Neither Walker nor the young musicians, a very superior ensemble, put a foot wrong. Did you feel the confidence pouring through that performance? It was awe-inspiring.

And I was also deeply impressed by their accompaniment to Jack Liebeck's characteristic account of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, especially the finale, very tricky for young orchestral fingers, though Liebeck helped. I've been reviewing him since he was a lad, and have always been impressed by his clearness: he's never indulgent, over the top or vacuously flashy. And the Borodin opener was lovely.

More about that man another time. A great night for EYO. Long may they flourish.

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