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SCO Winds, RCS, Glasgow

I'M going to have a bit of an old-fashioned rave here.

Music clubs and societies, festivals and concert halls; get your diaries out. On Friday, at the regular concert in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland lunchtime series, I sat, mesmerised and pinned to my seat by some of the creamiest, most stylish wind sextet playing I have heard in 50 years of concert-going. I was not alone.

This was the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Winds, playing a series of sextets by Beethoven, Weber and Mozart, all delivered with the characteristics we know so well from their playing in the full SCO: precision, subtlety, immaculate ensemble, infinite sophistication of style and those miraculous SCO qualities of listening, watching, concentration and super-alert responsiveness between colleagues.

After a suave performance of Beethoven's Sextet, and before a dazzling performance of Weber's Adagio and Rondo, which moved from the warm, prophetic flush of Romanticism into the witty, cartoon capers of its Allegro, second bassoonist Alison Green got up and announced: "We're a new group."

I pursued her on Friday evening at the City Hall, where she was playing in the orchestra. "How new?" I asked. "Well, this week, " she grinned. It's not an SCO initiative: it's the players. Let's go for it: that sextet of players I heard on Friday is immediately one of the best ensembles in the world. I do not exaggerate: their playing of Mozart's K375 Serenade was heartstopping. They are out there. Look 'em up; book 'em. If it's class you're after it's all there and for hire. This was an amazing, life-enhancing musical experience. Ask anyone who was there.

HHHHH

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