Edinburgh International Festival music review: Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra 2, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Carol Main.
For the second of their Usher Hall concerts, the Oslo Philharmonic launched into their programme in swashbuckling style with seven pieces from A Hundred Hardanger Tunes by the long-time out-of-favour Norwegian composer Geirr Tveitt. In turn fun and entertaining, or peaceful and reflective, they are characterful numbers, colourfully orchestrated, which work well as a national calling card.
The rich scoring of Glazunov’s Violin Concerto heard the orchestra in weightier mode, sometimes too overpowering to appreciate fully Nicola Benedetti’s elegant virtuosity. The measure of Vasily Petrenko’s conducting inspires confidence, but it took time for balance between soloist and orchestra to settle. Setting the scene with its extended clarinet solo, Sibelius’s monumental Symphony No 1 was passionate and thrilling under Petrenko’s direction, showing off the orchestra’s strong string section and some phenomenal brass playing, not to mention the timpanist, whose prominent role elicits much of the music’s dramatic power. In a perfectly paced performance, the orchestra’s virile sound proved consistently well matched to the ongoing rise and fall patterns of Sibelius’s potent expression of a cornucopia of emotions.
Published in The Scotsman on 18 August 2015
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