Concert masterclass by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra - Dundee Courier & Advertiser (Live Review)

One of the greatest musical collaborations is that of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and conductor Sir Charles Mackerras, writes Garry Fraser. The familiarity between the two is obvious, a telepathic rapport that leads to a performance that is impeccable in precision and interpretation. That was certainly the case of Wednesday night in Perth Concert Hall, in the penultimate concert of the Scottish Orchestras Series. Haydn's Symphony N. 96, Miracle, opened the proceeding and it was a perfect demonstration of delivery. The composer gave much exposure to the woodwind in this work and those players of the SCO rejoiced. The second movement solos were wonderful but it was the oboe solo in the menuetto and trio that struck me most of all. This was allied to the high standard of string playing synonymous with this orchestra and the end result was a gorgeous account of an excellent work. If the SCO and Mackerras wasn't a potent enough force, then the addition of pianist Artur Pizarro and Beethoven's Fourth piano concert made an irresistible combination. This work is one of my favourites but Pizarro's delivery knocked me sideways. His touch was incredible...delicate if required, forceful if demanded and his first movement cadenza was simply sensational. The orchestra and conductor were caught up in all this and some of Mackerras' touches were sheer class. Throughout all this, Mackerras' direction was masterful with sometimes only a flick of the wrist or a wave of a finger dictating proceedings. After the interval, the quality continued with Mozart's Posthorn Serenade. It was bursting with colour and melody and time and time again hallmarked the magnificence of the wind section. There were other memorable moments, particularly the two menuettos and trios, the last of which featured the posthorn itself and a final presto that would have not been out of place in a fully-fledged symphony. This series ends another mouth-watering note with the Royal Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Beethoven's Emperor Concerto.

Dundee Courier & Advertiser (Live Review)
17 March 2006