Music review: Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Edinburgh International Festival Scotsman review: review: Chamber Orchestra of Europe at Usher Hall, reviewed by Susan Nickalls

For their final EIF concert, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and their energetic conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin raised the roof with their adrenaline-fuelled delivery of Beethoven’s Symphony No 7.

From the opening bars, the orchestra’s razor-sharp articulation of the punchy dotted rhythms which drive this work made their intent clear. Conducting without a score and barely pausing for breath between movements, the dancing Nezet-Seguin spurred the players on to a pumped-up finale without dropping any of the detailed threads on the way.

This was such a triumphant performance in every respect, it eclipsed the first half of the concert where several orchestral members took solo roles, some more successfully than others. Strauss’ Beauty and the Beast-inspired Duett-Concertino featured bassoonist Matthew Wilkie as the Beast to clarinettist Romain Guyot’s brilliantly realised Princess. Both navigated the complex ebb and flow of tempi, against a subtle string accompaniment, with aplomb; but it was Guyot’s effervescent sparkle which dominated.

Violinist Lorenza Borrani and violist Pascal Siffert were a better matched duo in Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante in E flat, revelling in its intense lyricism and biting dynamics set against a more fully fleshed orchestral backdrop.

Originally published in The Scotsman

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