City Hall, Glasgow

Michael Tumelty

four stars

IF there was a single lesson to take away from the SCO’s enthralling and rather magical concert on Friday night, it was that there is not necessarily a tension, conflict or stylistic dichotomy in the programming of contemporary and “classical” pieces within the one event. Indeed, if the music is in the right hands, as it assuredly was on Friday, with the SCO in peerlessly-versatile form, the level of easy companionship between the music of two utterly different eras can slot naturally into place, without collision or stylistic crisis.

And so it was at the weekend with recent pieces by Helen Grime and Thomas Ades in the company of two great Mozart piano concertos, flawlessly dispatched by Kristian Bezuidenhout on a fortepiano modelled on an 1824 Viennese instrument. I love the evocative power of Helen Grime’s music, which had a good weekend in Scotland, with the BBC SSO also playing one of her pieces (reviewed on this page).

The sense of chill and the “slippery under foot” feel of her three-part winter piece, A Cold Spring, were gleamingly conjured by the SCO with the lucid direction of young conductor Duncan Ward in charge of the barometer. Ward also presided over a dazzling account of Thomas Ades’ Chamber Concerto which, along with its contrapuntal complexity, featured a delightful lurch towards a somewhat dysfunctional bluesy idiom: succulent stuff.

But the night, ultimately, belonged to Bezuidenhout for his stupendously needle-sharp characterisations of Mozart, through the subversively-pulsing rhythm of the great K466 D minor Concerto and the near-serene perfection of the E flat Concerto K482, each with the SCO welded to the discreet direction of the soloist.