Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Rose Street Ensemble with Murray McLachlan, Greyfriars Kirk, 17 August

I was performing in this one, doing both the Brahms Piano Concertos. Tiring for the orchestra so God only knows what it must have felt like for the pianist. Still, Murray McLachlan did a good job on them and we didn't screw up. I'll leave detailed reviewing to someone less biased:


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Murray McLachlan, Greyfriars Kirk

CONRAD WILSON

August 19 2008

Star Rating: ***

To hear the two Brahms piano concertos in one evening is such a rarity - this critic, in a lifetime of concert-going, had never before experienced them 'back to back,' as the printed programme put it - that it gave Murray McLachlan's presentation of them an aura the moment he touched the keyboard of the sonorous Bosendorfer that was his chosen instrument on Sunday.

Though the second concerto is the obverse of the first, the challenge each of them poses, along with their daunting length, has always kept them apart. But McLachlan proved he had the stamina and concentration to bind them together and, in performances of notable breadth and vigour, he held the attention of a packed house from start to finish.

But not only the soloist needs Brahmsian muscle for these works. So does the orchestra, and here McLachlan profited from the presence of the recently-formed Rose Street Ensemble, whose 50 freelance professionals, conducted by Robert Dick, brought firm articulation to the music, holding enough in reserve to make the second concerto - with a thundering scherzo and lovely cello tone in the slow movement - sound even more rewarding than the first.

The Herald

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To which I shall add only a few observations:

(1) Some of the RSE may have been "freelance professionals", but some of us were resolutely amateur (some string players were still at school!)

(2) The sonorous cello soloist was Pete Harvey of the Rose Street Quartet

(3) I was amused to see all the boards on which the piano (brought in for the occasion as the Greyfriars piano is woefully underpowered - a bit of a disgrace really in a prestigious venue) was parked. A few years ago my own orchestra brought in a Bosendorfer to do the Beethoven "Emperor" Concerto. Greyfriars had just had a new wooden floor laid over its old uneven flagstones, and clearly had failed to support it properly, as when we arrived for our rehearsal the piano had already made several holes in it while being delivered. While moving the beast from its storage area to the stage we put two more holes in, and even after we'd supported it on lots of big boards we still wondered whether our piano and pianist would be vanishing through the floor in mid-Beethoven, rendering the performance akin to that of Everybody Wants To Be A Cat in The Aristocats. Fortunately there were no further mishaps; but you never know what might happen, and Greyfriars clearly don't take chances any more.

2 Comments:

At 27 August, 2008 13:13, Blogger Chip said...

You perform in numerous concerts and somehow I seldom get a "heads up"... I might have come to this if I'd known you were playing.

Sorry to have missed it.

Keep me in mind when you're playing and who knows, I just might come and watch... ;-)

 
At 28 August, 2008 08:26, Blogger Rob said...

As I was just a rank-and-file second violin in this one I didn't feel my presence or absence was going to be a big draw/turn-off. And two back-to-back Brahms concertos are either your bag, or else they're not. Still, point taken.

 

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