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SCO Winds - Mozart: Divertimenti - The Sunday Herald Scotland (Live Review)


22 February 2015
The Sunday Herald Scotland
Michael Tumelty
5 Stars

THERE is no need to extol the virtues and brilliance of the woodwind players of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra: they are renowned. But what was extremely pleasurable, and indeed informative, was to hear them out of their orchestral roles on Friday lunchtime, in their sextet format (no oboes in this repertoire: maybe another time) and delivering a concert that, without being remotely heavy, none the less had a point to make.

And the point, made with loads of stylistic authority, oodles of effortless technique, and endless subtle characterisation by the six musicians, Maximiliano Martin and William Stafford (clarinets) Peter Whelan and Alison Green (bassoons) and Alec Frank-Gemmill and Harry Johnstone (French horns) was an obvious one: that there is more to the species of music, variously called hausmusik, table music, Occasional music, and other things, than immediately meets the ear.

Yes it's lightweight stuff, with no heaven-storming. But, as the group demonstrated in three of Mozart's charming wee Divertimenti, that man was a genius in sophisticated balancing: he at once elevated the compositional stature of every nuance in these pieces, without a trace of pretension or overloading of their significance. The playing represented faithfully their character and worth.

Superb playing, great characterisation and marvellous music-making from the splendid SCO wind gang.


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