SCO & Em­manuel Kriv­ine Usher Hall, Ed­in­burgh JJJJJ

The Scotsman - - REVIEWS - DAVID KET­TLE

FROM the sub­lime to the – well, far- fetched, even hal­lu­ci­na­tory, might be kinder ad­jec­tives for Ber­lioz’s larger- thanlife Sym­phonie fan­tas­tique, which formed one half of the SCO’S all- French high- con­trast sea­son fi­nale, along­side the aching re­straint of Fauré’s sump­tu­ous Re­quiem.

It was a bold com­bi­na­tion of reper­toire, but it paid off mag­nif­i­cently un­der the em­i­nently adapt­able con­duct­ing of Em­manuel Kriv­ine. He was all about the sto­ry­telling in a riproar­ing Sym­phonie fan­tas­tique, breath­ing fresh life and spon­tane­ity into the volatile moods of the open­ing move­ment’s rever­ies, then in­creas­ingly de­ranged in the ball’s seem­ingly non­cha­lant waltzes, and play­ing up the grotes­querie of the clos­ing witches’ sab­bath with glee. And the SCO play­ers re­sponded with a lithe, ag­ile ac­count, one that high­lighted the com­poser’s or­ches­tra­tions – mag­i­cal and macabre by turns – bril­liantly.

It was a glo­ri­ous ex­am­ple of or­ches­tral mu­sic as au­ral theatre. But de­spite all the Sym­phonie’s dra­matic high jinks, it was the grace and el­e­gance of Fauré’s Re­quiem that re­ally lodged in the mem­ory. The SCO Cho­rus was on out­stand­ing form, vel­vety in the open­ing “In­troit,” shim­mer­ing in the clos­ing “In par­adisum,” exquisitel­y bal­anced through­out, and with im­pec­ca­ble enun­ci­a­tion that con­veyed ev­ery word. And de­spite Kriv­ine’s slightly idio­syn­cratic tem­pos, he de­liv­ered a lu­mi­nous, buoy­ant ac­count that was touch­ing in its fragility, with Swiss bari­tone Ru­dolf Rosen a bronze- voiced pres­ence in two move­ments.

None­the­less, though the first half closed with Fauré trans­port­ing the souls of the de­parted to the con­so­la­tions of par­adise, by the con­cert’s end we were dumped in among Ber­lioz’s ca­vort­ing ghouls in a vi­sion of hell. A nice touch from the SCO.

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