National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai
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THIS was the final concert of the SSO's first Indian tour, and if the players were tired and emotional after what every musician seems to say has been a transformative, inspirational tour of Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai, they summoned every last ounce of energy for a volcanic version of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No 4. This new venue has searing acoustics, especially for the brass section, which punched heavily, especially with the doom-laden central motif of the piece. James MacMillan, conducting, led the symphony to a somewhat shattering climax. The evening ended in garlands of flowers and a standing ovation. Earlier Nicola Benedetti tore her way through Mozart's Fifth Concerto for Violin. She especially emphasised the slashing, attacking passages, and MacMillan and the orchestra allowed the 'Turkish' section to really ring. There was plenty of room for Scotland in the programme: a beautiful retelling of Mendelssohn's Hebrides overture opened the evening, and before the interval was a real treat: Benedetti and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland student Gongbo Jiang played a gorgeous duo version of Leaving Lerwick Harbour. An encore of My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose, with the Scottish violinist on solo, followed by and arrangement of eightsome reels, brought the audience to its feet. This epic tour was a success, with partnerships formed and friendships made. Around 10,000 children, some of who are the poorest in this world, have heard this music and had contact with orchestral music for the first time.