ANOTHER night in the City Hall and, like the SSO the night before it, another complete sell out, this time for the SCO on Friday. No wonder of course, with Nicola Benedetti as soloist of the night. More of that in a moment.
I must say how much I enjoyed the onstage dynamism and energy of young French conductor Jeremie Rhorer. I know not everyone agreed. But to me he didn't get in the way of the music, and the SCO played at strength: Beethoven's Egmont Overture was gripping and meaty. And Rhorer positively pelted through Beethoven's Fourth Symphony at the end of the programme, with an astoundingly virtuosic finale, and a speed that must have scared the living daylights out of the unnamed guest principal bassoonist as he saw that nightmare bassoon phrase from hell looming: badly written, I have always thought (sorry, Ludwig). And a nice bit of high speed tuning from the timpanist as he realised one drum was out of tune at the heartbeat end of the slow movement.
Now. I got a couple of complaints from folk about Nicola Benedetti's choice of programme: she played Mozart's Fifth Violin Concerto. What did they want her to play, I wondered? Personally, I was delighted to hear her away from her typical chamber orchestra repertoire (the Baroque lot) and the big symphony orchestra repertoire of Romantic classics, into the refined and poised world of the classical masterpiece that is Mozart's Fifth, which she dispatched with grace, balance, wit, sophistication, and a measure of fun in the Turkish March clatter of the finale. A good show.