Edinburgh International Festival music review: Scottish Chamber Orchestra, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Susan Nickalls.
The International Festival’s music programme has little to offer children, so the SCO’s new Family Concert is a great initiative. Children are the most demanding of audiences and it is hard work to keep their attention so Tom Redmond, animateur and horn player, is a real find as a presenter. He has just the right tone and kept things moving in an informative and entertaining way. His demonstration of minimalism, by giving each of the six sections of the audience a different sound or rhythmical phrase to repeat at the same time, was terrific.
It was also a neat introduction to John Adams’ Hallalujah Junction for two pianos and stunning light show. Devised by Parisian visual design studio Chevalvert, the musical sounds were converted into light waves which produced an intriguing array of shapes on a large screen.
Whilst the Chattanooga Choo Choo had plenty of interesting noises to engage the children, they became restless in the lengthier pieces when the ensemble was more focused on the written music. By contrast in Jonathan French’s Left and Right for assorted drums, percussionist Matthew Hardy, standing up and not obscured by a music stand, held the rapt attention of the children.