Long before Freddie Mercury ever came along, Bohemian rhapsodies were flowing from the pens of composers in the part of world from where the name originates. Strictly speaking, not necessarily rhapsodic in form, it is the symphonies, concertos, orchestral pieces and chamber music from what is now the Czech Republic that the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and BBC Radio 3 present as a celebration of musical things Bohemian over November and early December.

‘It is the 50th anniversary of the death of the Bohemian Czech composer Martinu,’ says BBC Senior Producer Simon Lord, ‘and as the BBC Symphony Orchestra are playing his symphonies at London’s Barbican, we thought that it would be a good idea to complement that series with performances of all five of Martinu’s piano concertos. As far as we know, it is the first time that the full cycle of the concertos has been done in the UK.’ 2009 also marks the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, so Czech music by Dvorák and Janácek makes for neat completion to the programming.

The Martinu concertos are rarely heard, but, says Lord, ‘His music is fantastic. It’s just not in the repertory, but should be. It is fascinating music. The early pieces have some jazz influences, and the concertos make for quite a journey.’ In the third one, for instance, the feelings of alienation and homesickness experienced through exile to the US are present in its dark overtones. In the first concert of the series, it is heard alongside the rather more famous Czech piece composed in America, Dvorák’s symphony From the New World.

Artists appearing include Czech pianist Ivo Kahanek, both with the

orchestra and in solo recital, conductor Stevan Solyom, who has a special affinity with Dvorák, and Prague Symphony Orchestra conductor Petr Altrichter. (Carol Main)

2000. 7.30pm. £18 (£16). The acclaimed Ukrainian choir mix of Eastern Orthodox chants and Ukrainian folksong. Yuriy and Volodymyr Kuratch conduct. RSNO Favourites: Shostakovich 11 Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 228 1155. 7.30pm. £10–£32 (concessions available). See Thu 12.

Saturday 14 Glasgow ACE Concert SECC: Clyde Auditorium, Finnieston Quay, 0870 040 4000. 7.30pm. £10–£16. Easy listening and showtunes from a 150-strong choir and 40-piece orchestra, in support of Parkinson’s Disease Society Scotland. Glasgow Chamber Choir: Masses of the Masters St Bride’s Episcopal Church, 69 Hyndland Road, 7.30pm. £10 (£6). Composers have been

setting the Mass, or parts of it, to music for over a millennium. The choir performs Byrd’s Elizabethan Mass for five voices alongside examples by 20th century contemporaries Messiaen and Frank Bridge. RSNO Favourites: Shostakovich 11 Royal Concert Hall, 2 Sauchiehall Street, 353 8000. 7.30pm. £10–£32 (concessions available). See Thu 12. Big Guitar Weekend RSAMD, 100 Renfrew Street, 332 5057. £165 weekend pass; concerts individually priced. See Fri 13. Edinburgh Calton Consort: cathédrales englouties Canongate Kirk, 153 Canongate, 7.30pm. £8 (£6). Director Jason Orringe conducts a performance of choral music, including Ligeti’s Night and Morning, Elgar’s Four Part Songs

Op 53 and Eric Whitacre’s Sleep. The Scottish Chamber Choir: Ancient and Modern Music from Scotland St Giles’ Cathedral, Royal Mile, 226 0673. 8pm. £10 (under £18s free). Michael Harris directs the choir in an exploration of Scotland’s music, from Renaissance composer Robert Carver’s Missa l’homme armé to James MacMillan’s work Divo Aloysio Sacrum.

Sunday 15

Glasgow The Bohemians: Ivo Kahanek in Recital City Halls, Candleriggs, 353 8000. 3pm. £12. As part of Glasgow Concert Halls’ International Season the Czech pianist performs sonatas by Janácek, Klein, Mozart, Martinu and Schumann’s virtuosic Symphonic Études. ✽✽ Bryn Terfel: Bad Boys Royal Concert Hall, 2 Sauchiehall Street, 353 8000. 7.30pm. £29.50–£55. One of opera’s biggest names, the popular Grammy award winner gives a charismatic and sinister performance of arias by some of opera’s best villains, from Tosca’s Scarpia to Faust’s diabolical Mephistopheles. From Russia with Song Café Cossachok, Trongate 103, 553 0733. 9pm. £6. Traditional Russian music, arias and romances by students of the RSAMD Opera School. Big Guitar Weekend RSAMD, 100 Renfrew Street, 332 5057. £165 weekend pass; concerts individually priced. See Fri 13. Edinburgh St Giles’ at Six St Giles’ Cathedral, Royal Mile, 226 0673. 6pm. Retiring collection. Napier University’s Chamber Choir and Orchestra are joined by cellist Justyna Jablonska for Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major, followed by choral music by Handel, Mendelssohn and Finzi.

Monday 16

Glasgow Villa-Lobos 50th Anniversary Concert RSAMD, 100 Renfrew Street, 332 5057. 1pm. £5 (£3). Handy that the RSAMD has two baritones from Brazil as opera students to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of fellow Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos. Their programme includes the hauntingly beautiful Bachianas brasileiras.

Tuesday 17

Glasgow St Aloysius College: Gala Sesquicentennial Concert Royal Concert Hall, 2 Sauchiehall Street, 353 8000. 7pm. £10–£12. The Catholic school celebrates its 150th anniversary with the College Choir and Orchestra, the Junior School Choir, Gonzaga Orchestra and soloists performing a rousing selection of masterpieces including Handel’s Zadok the Priest and Orff’s Carmina Burana featuring soprano Ann Archibald and baritone Philip Gault. Edinburgh FREE Primrose Piano Quartet Reid Concert Hall, Edinburgh University, Bristo Square, 650 2427. 1.10pm. A lunchtime performance of an early Schubert work, the incomplete Trio in B flat major, and Fauré’s lush Piano Quartet in C minor. Letters of a Love Betrayed Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street, 228 1404. 7.30pm. £13 (£5–£8). Based on a short story by Isabel Allende, this is an emotional chamber opera set in South America from Jamaican-born composer Eleanor Alberga and librettist Donald Sturrock. FREE Music for Piano and Organ St Mary’s Cathedral, 23 Palmerston Place, 225 6293. 8pm. Retiring collection. Elspeth Wyllie and Simon Nieminski perform works for a rarely

Classical Music Hitlist THE BEST CLASSICAL & OPERA*

✽✽ RSNO: Benedetti Plays Bruch Whatever did classical music do without the wonderful young Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti? There could just be a few seats left for her performances with the RSNO and returns are always a possibility too. If no joy, consolation may be found in her latest album, Fantasie. Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 6 Nov; Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sat 7 Nov. ✽✽ Murray Perahia with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields One of the best ever Bach interpreters, pianist Murray Perahia is soloist and conductor for the second concert of the 2009/10 International Classical Season in Glasgow. A very welcome return visit. Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Thu 12 Nov. ✽✽ Bryn Terfel: Bad Boys There are plenty of them on the operatic stage but not many brave enough to gather all the baddies together for an evening of their most devilish arias. Bryn Terfel, with his rich bass baritone, is just the man for the job. Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Sun 15 Nov.

heard instrumental combination, piano and organ, by Marcel Dupré, Flor Peeters and others.

Thursday 19

Glasgow FREE Primrose Piano Quartet Glasgow University Concert Hall, University Avenue, 330 4092. 1.10pm. A chamber concert featuring Fauré’s Piano Quartet in C minor and Maxwell Davies’ Piano Quartet. BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra: Bohemian Rhapsodies 2 City Halls, Candleriggs, 353 8000. 7pm. £10–£23 (£8–£21). Visiting Czech conductor Petr Altrichter brings with him Dvorák’s Symphony No 8 and Janácek’s ‘ballad’ for orchestra, The Fiddler’s Child, while pianist Piers Lane continues the cycle of Martinu piano concertos with Piano Concerto No 1. Edinburgh Autumn Concert Tour Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street, 228 1404. 8pm. £13 (£5–£8). Music by Gyorgy Ligeti and works by Scottish composers Conor McPherson and John Harris performed by Red Note Ensemble.

5–19 Nov 2009 THE LIST 81