Edinburgh Festival Fringe music review: Rameau & Charpentier: Scottish Chamber Orchestra, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Carol Main
Whether it was the relative unfamiliarity of Rameau and Charpentier, or a 9pm start time with a risk of running late, who knows, but it was a great pity that more of an audience didn’t take the chance to explore something of the sumptuous seam of French baroque opera which was offered by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra on Monday evening.
As it happened, things ran a good half hour longer than intended – resulting in the second Usher Hall collision with Tattoo fireworks this year – even with the brisk pace set by conductor John Butt, stepping in for the originally billed William Christie.
Médée, despite its re-telling of Euripides’ gruesome play of child murder and revenge, sounded the epitome of elegant French finesse. The voices of the four soloists, all either born or trained in France, worked beautifully well together, each of them bringing their own radiant colour to Charpentier’s score, while the orchestra responded intuitively to Butt’s animated direction.
Rameau’s Les Boréades, from 50 years later, is more complex in its instrumentation, with the SCO’s natural horns providing much of the new orchestral texture, but with a less settled feel to the overall sound.
Published in The Scotsman on 12 August 2015
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