Thursday, 12 December 2013

Came for the Adams, left with the Shostakovich!

A huge crowd at Glasgow's City Halls last night, experienced sublime artistry. A performance of a piece of music took flight, in a way that only happens very rarely. The stage for this event was a BBC SSO concert simultaneously broadcast on BBC Radio 3. The artist was Canadian violinist James Ehnes. His playing of Shostakovich's First Violin Concerto took the roof off the City Halls.

Inspired by the Hall, which he admitted was a favourite, and by the piece which had been written while Shostakovich was under severe political pressure, Ehnes gave us all a performance that one sees few times in a lifetime. His playing of the final Burlesque movement, was particularly inspired and had even the orchestra applauding enthusiastically.

Indeed, it eclipsed the rest of the programme - a pity in some ways, as the first piece, Beethoven's 4th Symphony, is already too little known, and the John Adams headliner, City Noir both deserved good reviews - in which some of the magic rubbed off on the orchestra. Ehnes has worked with this orchestra, and with Donald Runnicles a number of times previously. Glasgow will be looking forward to the next occasion.

While it would be difficult to recapture the full experience of the live performance, it is available on BBC iplayer for the next seven days.

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