Janiczek directs CL@SIX: Drum Roll
The Voice of a City, a family concert
The second in Robin Ticciati’s series Stravinsky: The Chamber Ballets
Piemontesi debuts with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 25 in C
Chamber Concert featuring Piemontesi and SCO Wind Principals

© Colin Jackson

The month starts with the last of this Season’s popular early evening CL@SIX series on Tuesday 1 February at 6pm at St Cuthbert’s Parish Church in Edinburgh, with Drum Roll.  The concert opens with Mozart’s Overture to The Impresario followed by the composer’s Violin Concerto No 2 in D K211. It closes in a lively fanfare with Haydn’s war-time Symphony No 103 ‘Drum Roll’. Alexander Janiczek directs from the violin.

On Saturday 5 February at 3pm, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra is joined on the Usher Hall stage by singers of all ages from across Edinburgh. The concert opens with Howard Blake’s The Land of Counterpane – set to poems from Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses – sung by over 100 pupils from the Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools.

The Voice of a City follows, an affectionate portrait of Edinburgh by Edward Harper, including lyrics by Ron Butlin, Edinburgh’s Makar.  The piece features references to Edinburgh celebrities, such as the One o’Clock Gun, John Knox, Sean Connery, and Miss Jean Brodie.  It is performed by a choir of 160 Edinburgh primary school children (Voice Academy) and an adult community chorus recruited from Edinburgh residents across the city. They are joined by City Organist John Kitchen and conductor Garry Walker.

Preceding the concert, the Usher Hall hosts City of Literature’s Family Day (10:30am – 3pm); a day of fun for all the family, exploring the musical and literary aspects of The Voice of a City concert. Free and open to all ages, this collection of events includes storytelling, songwriting, setting poems to music, face-painting, composing and more.

Principal Conductor Robin Ticciati returns for the second in his series Stravinsky: The Chamber Ballets featuring the world premiere of a new arrangement of Fauré’s Melodies. Originally written for voice and piano, Fauré’s melancholy and heartbreaking songs, with words by 19th century French poets including Paul Verlaine and Paul-Armand Silvestre, have been given a new breath of life by composer Colin Matthews, who has reworked the seven songs for voice and full orchestra.

British Soprano Sally Matthews joins the Orchestra for Melodies as well as opening the concert with Haydn’s dramatic opera scena, Scena di Berenice. The Orchestra will also perform Stravinsky’s lively neo-classical ballet Apollon musagète and Haydn’s Symphony No 96 ‘Miracle’ in St Andrews (9 February), Edinburgh (10 February) and Glasgow (11 February).  Robin Ticciati discusses Stravinsky’s chamber ballets in pre-concert talks at 6.30pm before each concert.

In late February, young Swiss pianist Francesco Piemontesi debuts with the Orchestra performing the grandest of Mozart’s piano concertos, No 25 in C.  The concerto is one of Piemontesi’s favourites: “I love K503 very much .The piano and the orchestra have a constant dialogue with each other, even in comparison with Mozart’s other concerti. As often is the case with his last piano compositions, we find many ‘naive’ melodies, immediately followed by rather chromatic moments. These contrasts still give me the shivers every time I practice the piece.”

Prokofiev’s Symphony No 1 ‘Classical’ lends further emotion to the performance. Completing the programme is conductor Andrew Manze’s arrangement of Lotti’s beautiful Crucifixus and Shostakovich’s dark Chamber Symphony in C minor Op 110a (Barshai’s arrangement of Quartet No 8).  The concerts take place in Edinburgh (24 February), Glasgow (25 February) and Aberdeen (26 February).

Piemontesi joins the SCO Wind Principals at the end of the month for a Chamber Concert at the Queen’s Hall on Sunday 27 February at 2.30pm.  Schumann’s challenging Kriesleriana Op 16 provides an opportunity for the pianist to display his talent, while the SCO Wind Principals perform Rasmussen’s earthy Wind Quartet in F.  Beethoven’s dynamic Quintet in E-flat Op 16 for winds and piano closes the Romantic concert.

More details from The Scottish Chamber Orchestra website