BBC SSO and Pekka Kuusisto, Metropolis Halls, Glasgow ****
First impression? Glasgow’s Metropolis Halls was not a welcoming sight for a live performance marking the opening of the BBC SSO’s 2021/22 Season and long-awaited return to taking part in indoors earlier than a stay dwelling viewers. Scaffolding inside and outside, auditorium lights flickering on and off, all contributed to an image of sorrowful decay in a constructing not lengthy refurbished.
Second impression? The BBC SSO is preventing match. Nonetheless slimmed down in accordance with social distancing measures, it delivered a massively intriguing programme underneath the lithe baton of Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro, with idiosyncratic Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto as soloist.
The programme’s power was its sense of continuity. On the face of it there have been 5 single works, from the transient Bach Chorale “Es ist genug” performed on brass as an inbuilt prologue, to the extraordinary symphonic concision of Sibelius’ Symphony No 7, by means of Magnus Lindberg’s Chorale (primarily based on the identical Bach chorale) and Violin Concerto, and Beethoven’s Leonore Overture no 3. However inbuilt connections confirmed their respective positioning as a part of one significant, built-in journey.
Carneiro introduced the primary half as an uninterrupted sweep. The efficiency of Lindberg’s thick-set textural growth of the Bach was as pivotal in its teasing reference to the unique chorale as in setting the context for the Violin Concerto. Kuusisto’s poised efficiency captured the concerto’s bizarre attractiveness, at occasions leaning in the direction of ethereal blues, however equally having fun with expansive Sibelian surges.
Whether or not accidentally or design, a standard impetus from basic scalic motifs appeared to attract a subliminal hyperlink between the Beethoven and Sibelius. Carneiro’s dramatic imaginative and prescient of each made for an exhilarating, if generally awkwardly balanced, second half.
Sunday’s Edinburgh viewers will hear Sibelius’ Violin Concerto as a substitute of the Lindberg, which can little question alter the programme dynamic, although not essentially for the more serious.
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