In this ‘musical portrait' of the Austrian composer Franz Schubert, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra played two Symphonies, five Songs and a selection of his German dances. In his short life (he died when only 31), Schubert produced a prodigious amount of work - over a thousand pieces, half of which were written before he was 21.
On the surface, Schubert presented himself as a ‘happy soul' but those in his intimate circle were aware of his troubled melancholic nature - "each night when I go to sleep I hope I will not wake again, and each morning reminds me only of yesterday's unhappiness." Of course, one could say that turbulent, troubled emotions are a prerequisite for producing memorable works, which many of Schubert's compositions are.
The two Symphonies performed - Symphony No 3 in D major and Symphony No 5 in B flat major exuded energy - a hallmark of his symphonies. Although Schubert wrote these when he was only in his late teens, they have a depth of emotion associated more with a mature person.
And his depths of emotion are particularly prevalent in his song cycles. Stephan Loges, with his magnificent rich, bass baritone voice, sang five songs, including Schubert's most famous love-song Du bist die Ruh - You are my Best. Beautifully interpreted by Loges, the songs exude outpourings of passion, speaking as they do of longing and loss. Written originally with just a piano accompaniment they were orchestrated by the 20th century composer Webern whose orchestration adds a profundity to the works.
The Scottish Chamber Orchestra predictably play to a high standard and they responded particularly well to the expressive conducting of the Guest Finnish Conductor, Olari Elts. Working without a baton, his energetic interpretation perfectly suited Schubert's Symphonic works and dances.
Concert performance: Saturday 29th March, 2007