Scottish Ensemble - Tchaikovsky & Shostakovich - BBC Music Magazine

With the Scottish Ensemble, Jonathan Morton keeps the Tchaikovsky rhythmically lithe and buoyant at generally more flowing tempos, emphasising the composer's neo-classical sensibility in emulation of his beloved Mozart. The feather-light waltz dances exuberantly, free of balletic thrust, and after a deft, fine-textured account of the 'Elegia' slow movement, the finale is given an effervescent send-off. From the other side of the musical universe comes Shostakovich's Second Quartet in Morton's expert arrangement. The work's generic titles are borrowed mostly from outside the quarter's natural domain, including an overture, a recitativo and a sinister waltz the polar opposite of Tchaikovsky's. Expertly played, immaculately paced and skilfully shaped, all I missed here was a sense of implied threat, of dark shadows falling occasionally across the music's troubled surfaces. 

01 May 2015