Did you know..? September & October
After no less than six appearances at the Edinburgh International Festival and over twenty dates as part of our 40th year of Scottish summer touring, the Orchestra and Chorus prepare for the first concerts of the new Season, which gets underway late September.
1. As a child, Vilde Frang assumed she would play the Double Bass, until her father pointed out that there was no more room in the family car
The Season opens with a melting pot of musical, artistic and creative wealth. Norwegian virtuoso Vilde Frang is the soloist in Beethoven’s towering Violin Concerto - a masterpiece of noble lyricism, which set the bar for all such works to come. As Kate Molleson writes in an interview first published in The Herald (2014):
“Frang is the greatest classical talent to come out of Norway since Leif Ove Andsnes. She grew up in Oslo in a family of double bassists and as a child assumed that she too would take up the instrument until her father pointed out that there was no more room in the family car. So violin it was: Suzuki method at four, public debut at ten, soloist with Mariss Jansons and the Oslo Philharmonic at 13, duet tours with the German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter in her teens."
Vilde’s musical résumé includes an acclaimed debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle, and working with a who’s who of international musicians — the likes of Martha Argerich, Renaud Capuçon and Leif Ove Andsnes. Her recent performance of Beethoven’s concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic was lauded by the LA Times: "She floated through Beethoven’s concerto, eschewing drama and heroism.”
Listen to Vilde perform Brahms Double Concerto with SCO Guest Artist, Nicolas Altstaedt.
A Scandinavian thread weaves throughout the other music in our Opening Concert, as the Orchestra creates a vivid musical evocation of sunshine shimmering and glittering on the sea in Nielsen’s Helios Overture, and a desperate intensity is evoked in Sibelius’ Third Symphony.
2. Distinguished Haydn scholars insist that Haydn Oboe Concerto was not composed by the man himself!
French Oboist and Conductor François Leleux is one of three Featured Artists in the 2018/19 Season. His first concert is full of earthy folk tunes and foot-tapping dances, and features a work of appealing gusto and unforced charm, Haydn’s Oboe Concerto.
However, scholarship suggests that the C Major Oboe Concerto is not in fact by Haydn. A 1987 publication by Benjamin Folkman, explored this intriguing story:
“The spurious Oboe Concerto in C Major falls into a problematic category, because its actual composer has never been discovered... The stylistic evidence against Haydn's authorship is overwhelming… The distinguished Haydn scholar H.C. Robbins Landon states that the Oboe Concerto "is certainly not by Haydn, but an attractive and bright work by a good minor master"… Haydn's own catalogues, moreover, contain no indication that he ever composed any oboe concerto; in fact, it would probably be impossible today to find a single expert who believes that he wrote this one.
The arbitrary attribution to Haydn was made by an anonymous nineteenth-century German librarian of demonstrable incompetence, who, for no good reason, scrawled the name "Haydn" over older markings on an unsigned manuscript score.”
The singing melodies and fizzing exuberance of the so-called Haydn Oboe Concerto have nevertheless made the work popular with audiences, and it presents an ideal match for François Leleux’s animated playing in our concert. You can listen to a recording of the concerto by Leleux on Spotify.
In this concert, the Orchestra also brings to life ‘The Bear’ - Haydn’s Symphony No 82 which gets its nickname from its vivid musical portrayal of bears jigging to rustic bagpipes with a country carnival atmosphere. Likewise, Anton Webern had a lot of fun with his witty orchestral reimagining of six spirited German Dances by Schubert.
3. Maxim Emelyanychev conducts his first performances as newly-appointed Principal Conductor Designate in October
In March 2018, SCO audiences had a chance to see Maxim Emelyanchev in action after he stepped in to conduct the Orchestra playing Schubert’s ‘Great’ C Major Symphony and Dvořák’s Violin Concerto. The response from the players, audiences and critics was unanimous in its praise, with The Herald praising Maxim for producing "some of the most robust playing we have heard from the SCO musicians this season".
Only two months later, we were thrilled to reveal Maxim as our new Principal Conductor Designate. His first performances in this role will be in October as he directs the Orchestra and Chorus in Haydn’s oratorio The Seasons.
Haydn's own story of quiet revolution – steadily pushing the boundaries of classical music throughout his lifetime - is overshadowed by the now fabled accounts of his contemporaries Mozart and Beethoven – their tortured artistic struggles, their lives touched by drama and tragedy. Haydn was a natural, hard-working person, who strived to meet the many deadlines for commissions ordered by his patrons.
The Seasons depicts many aspects of rural life through the four seasons of the year. It touches on friendship and love, success and hardship, and reaping the rewards of harvest after manual labour. There are also celebrations of wine and a hunting chorus. The more solemn ‘Ode to Toil’ caused Haydn to remark that, though he had been industrious all his life, he had never before been called upon to write music in praise of industry.
Join us to celebrate Maxim’s first performance as Principal Conductor Designate and to give him our warmest welcome to Scotland.