In this year when the Usher Hall fell silent, the Edinburgh International Festival have dusted off some archive performances recorded there, and these will be aired on BBC Radio 3 in September.
Every year, the Usher Hall Series brings together magnificent symphonic concerts and operatic concert performances from world-leading orchestras and soloists. A selection of five of these special concerts are drawn from the Festival archives, featuring highlights from over 16 years of unforgettable performance.
The series feature as part of BBC Arts Culture in Quarantine, which continues to bring the arts to audiences across the country during a time when they need it the most.
Broadcast at 11am from 15–19 September 2020 on BBC Radio 3
Tuesday 15 September: Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia gave a celebrated performance at the 2016 International Festival. Sir Antonio Pappano conducts Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet before Boris Berezovsky is soloist in Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.
Wednesday 16 September: Over 120 players of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra are conducted by Ilan Volkov in Messiaen’s final work, Éclairs sur l’Au-Delà. They close this 2008 concert with Thomas Adès’ Tevot, at that time just a year old.
Thursday 17 September: The Cleveland Orchestra’s 2010 concert showcases the magnificence of the Usher Hall’s organ as Joela Jones performs two of Ives’s best-loved works for the instrument. To follow, Franz Welser-Möst conducts Bruckner’s grand Eighth Symphony.
Friday 18 September: The 2013 International Festival’s Usher Hall Series was brought to an epic conclusion with Verdi’s powerful Requiem, performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, conducted by Donald Runnicles.
Saturday 19 September: The Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s remarkable 2004 concert performance of Weber’s Der Freischutz stars Jonas Kaufmann, Hillevi Martinpelto and Alish Tynan, conducted by the late Sir Charles Mackerras.