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RSAMD Symphony Orchestra Concert - February 25th 2011

posted 8 Mar 2011, 04:58 by Nikola Kyosev   [ updated 28 Sept 2011, 16:33 ]

The Herald Scotland

Michael Tumelty

28 Feb 2011

4 stars

ANYTHING is possible. There should be no limit to the RSAMD’s vision or ambition for its students. I might have said this last year after their performance of Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony. I will certainly say it after the students’ elemental performance on Friday night of Mahler’s colossal Sixth Symphony.

The performance was an unmitigated triumph. Conductor David Danzmayr, now out of the RSNO nest, did so much that was so right. He got the order of the second and third movements right for a start, with the convulsive Scherzo following the march of the first movement, thus leading to a proper catharsis in the great slow movement. His pacing, from bar one of the mighty symphony, was dead right: not too fast but inexorable, all the way through to the end, with the heartbeat immediately before the final cataclysmic chord gauged to perfection.

His direction of the tempestuous and tumultuous music of the symphony observed its garish elements, but without distortion. His gorgeous account of the great slow movement, full of lovely, sliding, portamento phrases, observed its quintessential Romanticism, but without sentiment or saccharine.

And these wonderful students, whose collective and individual playing frequently left me agog, gave it right back to him: fabulous first horn, glorious woodwind, searing strings, subtle brass with a breathtakingly pure first trumpet and a walloping battalion of percussion.

Their technique, their confidence and their musicianship are things of wonder. I suspect they don’t dwell on it: they just do it then get off to the pub, leaving the rest of us shattered.

All of this that we heard on Friday night was unthinkable 20 years ago; now it’s here. Anything is possible. Turangalila Symphony? Alpine Symphony?