RSNO at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

04.30.18
George Li
The Scotland Herald

GLASGOW’s concert hall opened a month after the death of Leonard Bernstein and Saturday night’s US-focused concert was the sort of occasion for which it was built. Here was Scotland’s national symphony orchestra playing an all-American programme at the start of its celebration of the centenary of Bernstein’s birth to a capacity house that surely included many of those who are attracted to the orchestra’s concerts of film music alongside season regulars.

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Following that with Samuel Barber’s one-movement First Symphony was asking a lot of a less-well-known work, but its cinematic sweep met the challenge, and illustrated the European models 20th century American composers were looking to.

Star turn of the evening, however, was young American pianist George Li, whose account of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue was as soulful as you’d wish as well as technically masterful. His articulation of the Latin figure that precedes the work’s finale was quite astonishing, and his encore of Horovitz’s Carmen Variations the ultimate party-piece.
 
Read the rest of the review here