MUSIC | CLASSICAL C L A S S I C A L
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ORCHESTRAL ICELAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Sun 16 Feb
Known as the land of fire and ice, and home to some of the most impressive glaciers and active volcanoes in the world, Iceland is less well known for the orchestra which also calls this remarkable country home. As part of increasing recognition in its 70th anniversary year, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra undertakes its first tour to the UK with a whirlwind of eight concerts in nine days, culminating in their one and only Scottish performance in Edinburgh. As well as showcasing the orchestra itself, the tour features
Icelandic music by composer-in-residence Anna Thorvaldsdóttir. ‘Aeriality’, evoking the atmosphere of the natural environment, was commissioned by the orchestra in 2011 and is now notching up no fewer than 50 performances, an unusually high number for new music. ‘I imagined looking at landscapes from various perspectives and thinking about this in musical terms,’ she says. ‘The title refers to the state of gliding through the air, as if flying.’
Thorvaldsdóttir’s orchestral style takes on layered textures, using the whole canvas of the symphony orchestra in its harmonies. There are quarter tones and clusters of sound coming together to form the orchestra as a single force, alternating with more subtle lyrical passages and an airiness to the layering which is reflective of the piece’s name. She describes it as ‘both portraying the feeling of absolute freedom gained from the lack of attachment and the feeling of unease generated by the same circumstances.’
For many in her audiences, ‘Aeriality’ brings visions of Icelandic landscapes, while for others there are no such associations. ‘It is really nice and interesting to hear those reactions, especially the variety of them,’ Thorvaldsdóttir notes. ‘But listening to music is such a personal experience, and to me it’s really important that people approach music on their own terms.’ (Carol Main)
RSNO: BEETHOVEN REVOLUTION: SYMPHONY NO. 7 Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sat 22 Feb, glasgowconcerthalls.com/ glasgow-royal-concert-hall In the year when the world celebrates the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven, the RSNO kick off their series with Symphony No. 7. Also Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 21 Feb, usher hall.co.uk
SCO 2019/20: BEETHOVEN TRIPLE CONCERTO Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Thu 27 Feb, thequeenshall. net For the first of their special Beethoven concerts, the SCO turn to his triple concerto, the only one he wrote for more than one solo instrument. The SCO’s own principal violin and cello are joined by early music specialist, pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout. Also City Halls, Glasgow, Fri 28 Feb, glasgowconcerthalls.com/ city-halls
90 THE LIST 1 Feb–31 Mar 2020
BBC SCOTTISH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: DOHNÁNYI’S FIRST SYMPHONY City Halls, Thu 13 Feb, glasgowconcerthalls.com/city- halls One to watch: conductor Gergely Madaras from Hungary appears as guest conductor with the BBC SSO for Dohnányi’s First Symphony, starting off the programme with the intriguingly titled Figaro Gets a Divorce by Elena Langer, receiving its UK premiere.
RED NOTE ENSEMBLE: EIGHT SONGS FOR A MAD KING Cottier’s Theatre, Tue 25 Feb, rcs.ac.uk The ever-ingenious Red Note are side-by-side with Royal Conservatoire of Scotland students in MusicLab to present Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ remarkable piece about King George III and his tuneful birds. For male voice and ensemble, it’s music theatre like no other.
MILNGAVIE MUSIC CLUB Cairns Church, Milngavie, Fri 20 Mar, milngaviemusic.org Giving the chance to hear top-notch chamber music in Beethoven’s special 250th anniversary year is the Trio Shaham-
Erez-Wallfisch, formed of three of the finest international instrumentalists around. The Piano Trio in C minor and the great Archduke trio, dedicated to Rudolph of Austria, frame the Kakadu Variations, which are not so often heard. EDINBURGH
REID CONSORT St Vincent’s Chapel, Fri 7 Mar, ticketsource.co.uk/reidconsort Formed just four years ago, the Reid Consort is central Scotland’s newest choir on the block and is already noted for its distinctive programming and opportunities it gives professional choral singers. The rarely heard Lagrime di San Pietro by Orlando di Lassus is a haunting Renaissance masterpiece reflecting on the grief of St Peter after his denial of Christ.
SEVEN LAST WORDS Greyfriars Kirk, Fri 27 Mar, thequeenshall.net Commissioned by the BBC in 1994, James MacMillan’s astonishing setting of the dying words of Christ was first performed by the Scottish Ensemble in 1994. They now join with Dunedin Consort to rediscover
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Gergely Madaras its aching intensity in the lead up to Easter. Also Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Sat 28 Mar, glasgowlife.org.uk/ museums/venues/kelvingrove-art- gallery-and-museum