This Thursday, Younger Hall hosts our University’s orchestra in residence, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, for its second major St Andrews concert of the year. Mozart’s Last Piano concerto is fronting the event, exciting classical music fans across town and further afield, with the reputation of the orchestra, conductor and soloist standing tall on the world’s concert stage.
Having heard the SCO many times over the years, I can personally vouch that it is deserving of the hype which it recieves. Listening to recordings of Mozart is one thing, perhaps as an attempted remedy for lack of study focus, or as a relaxation aid after a stressful day, but Mozart performed live, especially by a group of the calibre of the SCO, is an utterly different experience. Vibrancy, artistry, and musicality are words that all spring to mind, but even more striking is the visual spectacle of energy and commitment each player gives to every breath, beat and bow stroke. I’ll be looking forward to this aspect also in the Stravinsky Concerto, first on the programme, which will surely set up a fiery modernist contrast to the Mozart.
The pianist, Piemontesi, has been described as “fresh and spontaneous”, an interesting choice of words which piques interest. For me, a certain amount of risk taking and diversion from orthodoxy is more than desirable when playing established repertoire. And aside from any deep musical analysis, a “spontaneous” approach ensures that the seasoned concert goer and first timer alike will be hearing something new. Andrew Manze, known for his versatility as a musician and conductor, is also contributing to this freshness bringing a piece by somewhat lesser known Swedish composer Stenhammar. There have been hints of a “story” behind the music here, something of a mystery that we’ll have to unravel live at the concert.
All in all, for a night out, it’s going to cost less than a couple of pints, and that’s not taking into account the free drinks reception the Music Society is holding for students beforehand. Seems an easy decision. The advice is to get there early to avoid the inevitable rush for tickets, so take heed, and enjoy!