north east scotland's festival of new music

press reviews

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Written by Neil Jones, The Scotsman

reproduced with permission

article | The Scotsman

Music Review - BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra ****

As part of the North East of Scotland sound Festival of New Music, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra provided an aperitif to their Aberdeen Music Hall programme with the world premiere of Marea by the South Korean composer Jun Lee.

The piece was a University of Aberdeen commission, Lee's prize for winning the university's biannual competition for contemporary composition.

With a gentle, melodic beginning, the music swells and falls through a series of easy progressions with few individually identifiable instrumental notes other than the occasional bell. Gradually, Lee introduces some interesting slight disharmonies that give the texture. The piece is strong, interesting and encouraging of thoughtful introspection.

For their second course the orchestra was joined by the Canadian pianist Stewart Goodyear to perform George Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F. There are introspective elements here too, albeit after a dazzlingly percussive start, but they are few and far between.

Gershwin may arguably have been finding his way as a composer when he wrote this piano concerto – it is a jumble of musical ideas. But what wonderful ideas they are, and the orchestra, driven to an enthusiastic performance by an occasionally airborne Andrew Litton, provided a convincing accompaniment to Goodyear's expressive keyboard technique.

For the post-interval main course we had Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, where the orchestra showed why they are one of the best bands in the UK with a powerful and elegant interpretation of one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written.

This was a delightfully varied and entertaining evening.

reproduced by kind permission of The Scotsman.

events mentioned
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24Fri 7.30 pmAberdeenBBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra