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SCO Usher Hall Somewhere in amongst the brawny trills and... [Derived headline]

August 11, 2014


Usher Hall

Somewhere in amongst the brawny trills and arpeggios that open Beethoven's Emperor Concerto, pianist Lars Vogt turned to the audience and flashed us a grin.

Was he simply having that good of a time already? Vogt's playing was immaculate, of course - the German is a technical powerhouse who could most likely reel off the Emperor in his sleep.

The tantalising thrill of his playing comes not from the flashes of breezy grandeur, though these are undeniably fun.

It comes instead from the attention he devotes to the little notes, quiet moments, sudden colour shifts and hushed rapture.

This performance ran the full Beethovenian gamut from the obsessive to the tender to the downright ballsy.

The Adagio was sweet, languorous and simple, and the finale rollicked along with unforced wit and some terrific tempo-bending. Robin Ticciati and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra made the ideal accomplices, always up for the game.

Webern's breathless Langsamer Satz preceded the concerto, its romance made touchingly vulnerable by the SCO strings.

The concert opened with Brahms's Tragic Overture: crisp, big- boned, emphatic.

The overture's heavy D-minor gave way to that sunniest of symphonic openings, Schumann's Rhenish - the notch up to E-flat major was jarring, especially with horns blazing a little too loud.

But Ticciati's treatment was winningly warm.

He and the orchestra recently recorded Schumann's symphonies (the set is out next month) and the familiarity came across in their broad, easy sweep. The third movement had the bright, supple poise that the SCO do so well, but it was the sombre fourth whose impact was most striking.

Its unflinching long lines and crestfallen final chords were delivered chillingly straight.

The finale then took on a new light, its joviality now more fragile and more precious.

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Source: Herald, The (Scotland)

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