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Scottish Chamber Orchestra, City Halls, Glasgow, four stars

12.18.17
Karina Canellakis, Benjamin Beilman
The Sunday Herald

WITH an American conductor and soloist and two American composers in the programme, the clichéd expectation would be of a sassy, swaggering evening, when in fact this programme was quite a concentrated, intense experience that deserved a better attendance than the competing attractions of the season perhaps influenced. Interestingly - especially given her up-coming schedule of big music on both sides of the Atlantic - conductor Karina Canellakis seems very interested in the possibilities of the chamber orchestra, reconfiguring the usual layout by placing the winds at the front for Schubert's lovely Fifth Symphony, a work that matches the best of Mozart in the tune department.

Barber's Violin Concerto spends much of its time looking back to that era, and only really steps into the soundworld of the 20th century in the last movement. Young violinist Benjamin Beilman explored that narrative with commanding authority, making light work its technical demands. Given the other approaches Canellakis used during the concert, it was notable that the balance between Beilman and the ensemble was pretty much perfect throughout, but of course she is a fine violinist herself.

Read the rest of the review here