City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

RSNO: Beethoven’s Eroica, Usher Hall, Review


By Barnaby Miln - Posted on 03 March 2013

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Show Details
Venue: 
The Usher Hall
Company: 
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Production: 
Beethoven, Leonore Overture No 3; Beethoven, Piano Concerto No 3; Beethoven, Symphony No 3 Eroica.
Performers: 
Dima Slobodeniouk (conductor), Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano)
Running time: 
135mins

All three ingredients of the concert, overture, concerto and symphony were Beethoven, and all were labelled number three. This is just the sort of programme that fills every seat in the Usher Hall.

Leonore Overture No 3 was one of Beethoven’s four attempts to compose an overture for Fidelio, his only opera, and is regarded as the best. But it overwhelmed the opera music that followed it and so was not used for that purpose. With flute and bassoon at their very best and with a trumpet off-stage behind us it was a warm and comforting concert opener.

The scheduled pianist fell ill earlier in the week and we were treated on the piano by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. He had been named Artist of the Year at the 2012 International Music Awards and many other awards along the way. With great skill the Frenchman played Piano Concerto No 3 and took full advantage of those passages where the piano is left on its own - the cadenzas. The audience loved it and we were treated to a feisty Beethoven sonata as encore.

After the interval and with the suitably sized Orchestra the night’s lithe conductor, Dima Slobodeniouk, dressed in office suit, shirt and tie, conducted Beethoven’s Symphony No 3 - commonly known as Eroica. It was originally planned to be called after Napoleon Bonapart but Beethoven thought better in due course. It was a thoroughly credible performance and it was clear that the audience had enjoyed the first appearance of the Russian conductor now living in Finland. Crossing Lothian Road afterwards both the Principal Second Violin and Principal Cello told me they thoroughly approved of Dima Slobodeniouk.

Event: Friday 1 March 2013 at 7.30pm